To note issues associated with the policy and resources strategy and agree recommendations.
It was not possible to circulate the report five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to consider this item urgently as the council was committed to publishing budget proposals at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they were available to the public for comments and questions. Presenting the report to cabinet on 18 January 2022 gives the opportunity for debate prior to presentation of budget figures to cabinet on 1 February 2022. Under the council’s constitution, there is a requirement for the overview and scrutiny committee to review and challenge budget proposals and this is due to take place on 24 January 2022.
1. That the outcome of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement published on 16 December 2021 (paragraphs 19-20 of the report) be noted.
2. That it be noted, as reported to cabinet on 7 December 2021, the intention remains to prepare a balanced one year 2022-23 budget for approval by cabinet in advance of council assembly in February 2022.
3. That the revised budget gap of £1.6m, down from £6m in December be noted.
4. That it be noted that the budget proposals for 2022-23 contained within the report include:
· Un-ringfenced Settlement Funding Assessment grant of £153.6m, a modest increase of £1.1m on 2021-22
· Other grant income of £89.6m, an increase of £11.4m on 2021-22 but including £8m of one-off Services Grant funding and an increasing amount of ring-fencing
· Estimated retained business rates income of £17m, a decrease of £1.9m from 2021-22
· Estimated council tax revenues of £128.548m, including a council tax increase of 2.99% (1% adult social care precept and 1.99% general increase)
· A forecast deficit on the collection fund in 2021-22 of £2m after allowing for spreading adjustments
· Pay provision and contractual inflation of £7.3m.
5. That the draft updated Fairer Futures Medium Term Financial Strategy (including Budget Principles)at Appendix G of the report be noted.
6. That it be noted that the Greater London Authority (GLA) is expected to increase its council tax precept by 8.8% following publication of the Mayor’s draft budget in late December.
7. That it be noted that the GLA council tax precept is due to be set on the 24 February, one day after council assembly sets the budget for Southwark, therefore a council tax setting committee will need to be convened.
8. That the current budget options proposed to help achieve a balanced 2021-23 budget (Appendices B to E of the report) be noted including:
· Efficiency savings of £6.962m
· Net income increase of £4.831m
· Savings impacting on services of £3.665m
· Commitments and growth of £19.564m.
9. That it be noted that, in order to ensure that the base budget is on a secure financial footing a number of commitments are proposed for 2022-23, including £6m for temporary accommodation.
10. That the proposed fees & charges schedules as set out in Appendix F of the report be approved.
11. That the departmental narratives and the ongoing equality analyses of the budget proposals (Appendix A of the report) be noted.
12. That officers be instructed to undertake further consultation for new budget options where necessary or appropriate and
13. That it be noted that the report and accompanying schedules will be considered by overview and scrutiny committee on 24January 2022 and that any recommendations arising will be considered for inclusion in the final report to cabinet on 1 February 2022 for recommendation to council assembly on 23 February 2022.