To agree budget proposals to be recommended to council assembly.
It was not possible to circulate this report five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept this item as urgent 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 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 was a requirement for the overview and scrutiny committee to review and challenge budget proposals and this took place on 23 and 24 January 2023.
Councillor Ian Wingfield, chair of the overview and scrutiny presented a summary of the committee’s recommendations to cabinet.
1. That it be noted that the final local government finance settlement has not been published at the time of writing this report, but there are no significant changes expected from the provisional settlement published on the 20 December 2022.
2. That it be noted that the report presents the final balanced general fund budget proposals for 2023-24:
· 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 £33.8m, for the 2-year period 2022-23 and 2023-24.
3. That it be noted that the Mayor of London has revised the draft budget for 2023-24, including a proposal to increase the Greater London Authority (GLA) Council Tax precept by 9.7%, equivalent to £38.55 increase for a band D property.
4. That it be noted that the GLA council tax precept is due to be set on the 23 February 2023, one day after council assembly sets the budget for Southwark, therefore a council tax setting committee will need to be convened.
5. That the current budget options proposed to help achieve a balanced 2023-24 budget (Appendices B to E of the report) be noted.
6. 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.
7. That the departmental narratives and the ongoing equality analyses of the budget proposals (Appendix A of the report) be noted.
8. That it be noted that the January cabinet report and accompanying schedules was considered by the overview and scrutiny committee on 23 January and 24 January 2023 and that the recommendations arising and officer responses are included at Appendix I of the report.
NOTE: In accordance with overview and scrutiny procedure rule 16.2, (a) (budget and policy framework) these decisions are not subject to call-in.