Agenda item

Council Plan and Budget 2022/23 (CAB13_21/22)

Report by the Director of Finance and Support Services.


Scrutiny Committee Chairman and each of the main Minority Group Leaders will be invited to speak for up to three minutes on the Council Plan and Revenue Budget for 2022/23.


The Cabinet will then discuss the report and proposals prior to taking any decision.


Following consideration of the report, Cabinet resolved to:


Endorse the County Council Budget for 2022/23, as set out in Appendix A and Annex 1, the Capital Strategy set out in Annex 2(a) and the Treasury Management Statement set out in Annex 2(b), for approval by County Council on 18 February 2022.


The call-in deadline is 10 February 2022.



39.1            Cabinet considered a report by the Director of Finance and Support Services. Cllr Hunt, Cabinet Member for Finance and Property explained the key considerations in setting a balanced budget for 2022/23 in line with the priorities in the Council Plan with no additional savings required. Cllr Hunt acknowledged the crucial financial support from the Government in respect of the pandemic and highlighted the future challenges over the medium to long term. The budget proposes to increase the council tax rate by 1.99% and the adults’ social care precept by 1%.


39.2            Chairmen from each of the Scrutiny Committees welcomed and supported the budget and thanked Cabinet and officers for its preparation and production. Financial strengths were noted, as were the challenges and risks ahead. The need to continue to lobby the Government to help meet the needs of residents was highlighted as was the importance of longer-term planning. They asked that future savings proposals and budget plans be brought to their respective committees and for member briefings as early as possible.


39.3            Cllr Kirsty Lord, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group recognised the delivery of a balanced budget and noted that the assumptions were transparent and detailed. Cllr Lord felt there should be a greater focus on delivering for residents and the impact upon them of a council tax increase. Cllr Lord noted the significant costs expected in adult social care and that support from MPs and the Government is required. Cllr Caroline Baxter, Leader of the Labour Group was pleased to see a balanced budget for 2022/23 without the need for significant savings. She suggested that the council take a more holistic approach to delivering better outcomes for residents which recognised the increase in living costs.


39.4            The following points were made by Cabinet Members in discussion:


Ø  Cllr Steve Waight, Cabinet Member for Support Services and Economic Development felt the budget enabled the delivery of the council plan for residents. He highlighted work in the areas of insourcing services, the people framework, economic development and partnership working. He commended the budget with an exciting year ahead to bring improvements for businesses, residents and staff.

Ø  Cllr Bob Lanzer, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing recognised the support from central government which had helped the budget. He welcomed the increase in the Improved Better Care Fund which would help to integrate health and social care. Cllr Lanzer said the budget was directed at supporting the council plan and meeting the needs of residents, with an increase in revenue spending despite the big challenges. The increase of £100m in the Capital Programme was prudent and affordable. Cllr Lanzer hoped the profile of Public Health and Wellbeing would continue to rise even after the recovery from the pandemic.

Ø  Cllr Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults Services highlighted that 95% of the Adult Services budget related to the cost of funding care needs of residents. The proposed increase of 1% for the adult social care element of council tax would generate approximately £5m which would put the service in a more sustainable funding position. Savings would still need to be made through care assessment reviews and by looking carefully at resource allocation.

Ø  Cllr Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue advised that, in view of the recent and anticipated challenges, the council had done well to reach a sustainable budget. He advised work in the Communities portfolio had aligned with the priority outcomes in the council plan by keeping residents safe. Libraries provide a huge range of services and the community hub continues to help many residents, alongside the successful test and trace partnership. Additional investments in the Fire and Rescue service would help the implementation of the new Community Risk Management Plan.

Ø  Cllr Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills was pleased to hear the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee’s support for mental health services in schools. He highlighted the increase in net expenditure of £6.3m in the Learning and Skills portfolio. Cllr Jupp also set out the specific government grants for Learning and Skills. He highlighted additional spend in the capital programme for meeting the needs of children with special educational needs, including new facilities and special support centres.

Ø  Cllr Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People felt the budget was comprehensive, delivered the council plan priorities, met the needs of residents and tackled the effects of climate change. Cllr Russell highlighted the continuing investment for in-house residential services to reduce the reliance on fostering agencies and for children’s emotional health and wellbeing. There were challenges with placement costs, however the new family safeguarding model and early help restructure sought to keep families together ultimately reducing these pressures.

Ø  Cllr Joy Dennis, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport commended the council plan and budget. She highlighted the demanding issue of road maintenance and the significant capital spend which would address this.

Ø  Cllr Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change congratulated the Cabinet Member for Finance and Property and the Director of Finance and Support Services on producing a balanced budget which did not make cuts to frontline services. She outlined the spend in each portfolio area underpinned by a £10m investment in climate change. She advised of the rollout of electric vehicle charge points, plans to decarbonise council buildings, and the production of renewable energy from solar farms. Cllr Urquhart agreed that longer term funding settlements from the Government were important to plan for the future.


39.5            The Leader thanked Cabinet and the Executive Leadership Team for their effort in producing a balanced budget. He outlined that resources were targeted towards protecting residents and businesses across the spectrum, whilst responding to the pandemic and continuing improvement work in Children’s and Fire services. He recognised that the budget had more capacity to address issues in the Highways portfolio and to invest in frontline services with no new savings is highly commendable. The commitment to deliver change to protect the environment through mitigating the effects of climate change is evident.


39.6            Cllr Hunt thanked all for their support and staff for their hard work. Despite pressures, Cllr Hunt was confident the plan and budget demonstrated a relentless focus on the four priority outcomes, all underpinned by tackling climate change and supporting residents.


39.7            Resolved - that Cabinet endorses the County Council Budget for 2022/23, as set out in Appendix A and Annex 1, the Capital Strategy set out in Annex 2(a) and the Treasury Management Statement set out in Annex 2(b), for approval by County Council on 18 February 2022.



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