To note issues associated with the policy and resources strategy and agree recommendations.
The report had not been circulated five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept this item as urgent as the council were 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 17 January 2023 gave the opportunity for debate prior to presentation of budget figures to cabinet on 6 February 2023. 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 23 January 2023.
1. That the outcome of the policy statement published on the 12 December 2022 (paragraphs 18-23 of the report) be noted.
2. That the outcome of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement published on the 20 December 2022 be noted (paragraphs 24-29 of the report).
3. That it be noted, as reported to cabinet on 6 December 2022, the intention remains to prepare a balanced one year 2023-24 budget for approval by cabinet in advance of council assembly in February 2023.
4. That the revised budget gap of £1.44m, down from £6m in December, be noted.
5. That it be noted that the budget proposals for 2022-23 contained within the report include:
· Un-ringfenced settlement funding assessment grant of £162.4m, an increase of £8.7m on 2022-23
· Un-ringfenced other grant income of £6.2m, a decrease of £8.3m on 2022-23
· An increase of £12.5m in ring fenced grants to £78.7m
· Estimated retained business rates growth of £47m, an increase of £21m from 2022-23, due to business rate revaluation and updating for high levels of inflation
· Estimated council tax revenues of £137.8m, including a council tax increase of 4.99% (2% adult social care precept and 2.99% general increase)
· Pay provision and contractual inflation of £34.3m, for the 2-year period 2022-23 and 2023-24.
6. That it be noted that the Greater London Authority (GLA) is expected to increase its council tax precept by 7.1% 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 23 February 2023, 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 2023-2024 budget (Appendices B to E of the report) be noted including:
· Efficiency savings of £12.0m
· Net income increase of £2.5m
· Savings impacting on services of £2.3m
· Commitments and growth of £9.0m.
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 2023-24.
10. That the proposed fees and 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 this report and accompanying schedules will be considered by overview and scrutiny committee on 23January 2023 and that any recommendations arising will be considered for inclusion in the final report to cabinet on 6 February 2023 for recommendation to council assembly on 22 February 2023.
NOTE: In accordance with overview and scrutiny procedure rule 16.2 (a) (budget and policy framework) these decisions are not subject to call-in.