To consider the report of the Chief Officer
Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources.
The Chief Officer Resources advised that the report provided an update on the positive provisional local government settlement for 2022/23 and its impact upon the Council’s budget. It also outlined the detailed revenue budget for 2022/23 and sought approval of the level of Council Tax increase for the 2022/2023 financial year.
The Chief Officer Resources added that the revised Medium Term Financial Strategy was agreed by Council in November 2021 and advised that this report updated Members with the latest financial position regarding the budget following the announcement of the provisional local government settlement for 2022/23.
The Chief Officer Resources further spoke the report and provided an overview of the areas covered in the report as follows:-
· National Aggregate External Finance (AEF) Position
· Blaenau Gwent AEF position
· Aggregated External Finance (AEF) funding compared to MTFS
· Cost Pressures and Growth
· Treatment of Grants transferring into the Settlement
· Individual Schools Budget
· Revised funding gap
· Bridging The Gap Programme
· Revenue Budget 2021/22
· General Revenue Reserves 2021/22
In conclusion, the Chief Officer Resources referred to discussions at the Joint Scrutiny Committee held on 8th February, 2022 and advised that Members accepted recommendations 3.1.1 to 3.1.6, however it was recommended by the Committee that a decision in relation to 3.1.7 and 3.1.8 be deferred until the Full Council meeting scheduled to be held on 17th February, 2022.
The Leader noted the report which detailed a positive final budget to be set by this administration. The Leader was pleased that this Authority was able to produce a balanced and legal budget. There had been no reason, again this year to take monies from reserves this had resulted in reserves levels held by this Council being built up to an appropriate level.
Leader proposed that recommendations 3.1.1 to 3.1.6 be agreed and
recommendations 3.1.7. and 3.1.8 be determined by Full Council
17th February, 2022. This proposal was seconded.
The Executive Member for Education was delighted with the large amount of money to be passported to schools which would be extremely welcomed by head teachers and be of great benefit to the children and young people of Blaenau Gwent.
The Executive Member for Social Services also welcomed the support in the budget for Social Services.
The Leader added that both Executive Members for Social Services and Education had been great advocates in their respective areas and stated that the commitment given in 2017 to protect and support Education and Social Services had been demonstrated during this administrations term of office.
RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the following be agreed:-
3.1.1 the 2022/23 revenue budget be recommended to Council;
3.1.2 comment was provided on the outcomes within the overall provisional RSG Settlement and note the potential for further change in the Final RSG Settlement;
3.1.3 comment was provided on the outcomes within the BGCBC provisional RSG Settlement and its impact upon the Medium Term Financial Strategy;
3.1.4 the cost pressures and growth items (£4m in total) identified in Appendix 2 for inclusion in the budget be recommended to Council;
3.1.5 passporting the grants transferring into the Settlement of £265,000 to the relevant services be recommended to Council;
3.1.6 an uplift of £3.91m which equated to 8.4% increase to the ISB be recommended to Council;
3.1.7 that any achievement of Bridging the Gap proposals which exceeded the in-year budget requirement be transferred into a contingency budget to support pay increases during 2022/23 over and above that provided in the Medium Term Financial Strategy of £0.95m and £1.5m to be transferred to the Financial Resilience Reserve be deferred for consideration at Council; and
3.1.8 a Council Tax increase of 4% for 2022/23 as per the MTFS assumptions be deferred for consideration at Council.