Decision details

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024-27 (Cab.7.2.2024/6)

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommmend Forward to Council

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

This comprehensive suite of papers presents the Council’s 2024/25 budget proposals for consideration and approval by Full Council in February 2024.

 

Full Council – 29 February 2024

Decision:

RECOMMENDATION TO FULL COUNCIL ON 29 FEBRUARY 2024

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet submit to Full Council for approval the following recommendations:-

 

2024/25 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1.       2024/25 Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Council Tax

 

a)    that the report of the Director of Finance (S151 Officer), under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003 at Section 1 be noted, that the 2024/25 budget proposals be agreed and that the Chief Executive and Senior Management Team (SMT), in consultation with Cabinet Spokespersons, submit, for early consideration, detailed plans that ensure the Council’s ongoing financial sustainability in 24/25 and beyond.

 

b)    that the revised Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and Budget Forecast for 24/25 to 26/27 contained at Section 2 (supported by the suite of background papers in Sections 2a – 2d) be noted and that these are monitored as part of the arrangements for the delivery of the MTFS.

 

c)    that provision be made of £34.6M to cover anticipated demographic and other cost pressures in 24/25:

 

·       Pay (£8.9M),

·       Children’s Social Care (Children in Care / Practice Improvement) (£14.9M),

·       Adult Social Care (Provider Fees / Practice Improvement) (£6.6M),

·       Home to School Transport (£1.4M),

·       Waste Services (£0.6M),

·       Inflation on major contracts e.g. PFI (£1.4M),

·       Funding borrowing costs (£0.6M),

·       Investment in legal services (£1.0M),

·       Commercial income budget re-alignment (£0.8M),

·       Other minor investment £0.7M,

·       Savings on Capital Financing / Investment Income (-£2.3M)

 

be approved for inclusion in the budget as identified at Section 2.

 

d)    that the increase in the specific Adult Social Care Market Sustainability grant of £2.5M received in the 2023 Local Government Finance Settlement (£5.4M in total) be used to contribute to the funding of inflationary pressures in the care sector.

 

e)    that the increase in the Better Care Fund of £3.9M received in the 2023 Local Government Finance Settlement be used to fund inflationary and hospital discharge costs within Adults Social Care.

 

f)      that the increase in the general social care funding received over the last two years including the Council’s share of the additional £1.2bn funding announced in the 2023 final Local Government Finance Settlement be baselined to fund the significant financial pressures relating to Children and Adults Social Care (circ. £30M of General Social Grant now baselined) .

 

g)    note that other core funding has increased by inflation, in line with previous assumptions.

 

h)    that the proposed Phase 1 service review savings of £8.4M in 24/25 highlighted in Section 2 and detailed at Section 4a – 4e be approved for implementation and that Members also note the further development of the transformation programe to help deliver balanced budget positions over the medium term (25/26 – 26/27).

 

i)      that the one-off General Services Grant / New Homes Bonus received as part of the 2023 Local Government Settlement be used to temporarily address the 24/25 budget shortfall pending the submission of further budget savings.

 

j)      that the Chief Executive, in conjunction with the Director of Finance and the Senior Management Team be tasked with formulating alternate savings plans (over and above the current transformation programme) based on various planning scenarios for Member consideration during 24/25.

 

k)    that the Council’s Reserves Strategy and updated reserves position at Section 2b be approved including the setting aside of £23M for additional one-off support to the budget over the planning period (over and above the retention of the £20M Minimum Working Balance .

 

l)      that the proposed changes to the 24/25 fees and charges policy and accompanying schedule of charges set out at Section 2d be approved.

 

m)  to submit to Council for approval the cash limited budgets for each Service with overall net expenditure for 24/25 of £265.0M as highlighted in Section 5a.

 

n)    to consider the budgets for all services and approve, for submission into Council, the 24/25 – 25/26 budget proposals presented at Sections 5a – 5c, subject to Cabinet receiving detailed implementation reports where appropriate.

 

o)    to consider and approve the changes to the schools funding formula including the transfer of funding from the schools’ block to the high needs block and approve the proposed 24/25 schools block budget as set out at Section 5d.

 

p)    that the capital investment schemes totalling £45.6M in 24/25 (£20.9M in Housing, £10.4M in Roads, £6.7M Asset Replacement and £7.6M Schools), be included within the capital programme and released subject to receiving further detailed business cases where appropriate Section 6 Appendix 1.

 

q)    note that the above includes £2M provisionally set aside for additional investment in repairing the Borough’s highways (principal roads / side streets) and that this will be released subject to receiving a further detailed report on plans for its use.

 

r)     that the Chief Executive and SMT, in consultation with Cabinet Spokespersons, be required to submit reports into Cabinet, as a matter of urgency, in relation to the detailed General Fund Revenue Budget for 24/25 on any further action required to achieve an appropriately balanced budget in addition to those proposals set out above.

 

s)    that the Chief Executive and SMT be responsible for managing their respective budgets including ensuring the implementation of all approved saving proposals.

 

t)      that the Authority's SMT be charged with ensuring that the budget remains in balance and report regularly into Cabinet on budget / savings monitoring including any action required.

 

u)    that Cabinet and the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) be authorised to make any necessary technical adjustments to form the 24/25 budget.

 

v)    that appropriate consultation on the budget proposals takes place with the Trade Unions and representatives of Non-Domestic Ratepayers and that the views of consultees be considered by Cabinet and the Council.

 

w)   that the budget papers be submitted for the consideration of the full Council.

 

2.       Council Tax 2024/25

 

2.1      that Cabinet note the contents of Section 2a (24/25 Council Tax options) and that:

 

a)    the Council Tax Collection Fund net surplus as at 31st March 2023 relating to BMBC of £3.6M be used to reduce the 24/25 Council Tax requirement, in line with statute.

 

b)    the 24/25 Band D Council Tax increase for Barnsley MBC services be set at 4.99% (2.99% for Core Council Services and an additional 2.0% for the Adult Social Care precept).

 

c)    the Band D Council Tax for Barnsley MBC’s areas be determined following confirmation of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and South Yorkshire Fire Authority precepts for 24/25.

 

d)    the Band D Council Tax for areas of the Borough with Parish / Town Councils be determined following confirmation of individual parish precepts for 24/25.

 

e)    12 months’ notice be given to apply an additional 100% council tax premium (200% in council tax charge) to all properties that are substantially furnished but not some one’s no one’s sole or main residence (e.g. “second homes”) after one year, with this premium becoming effective on 1st April 2025 onwards.

 

f)      that the local council tax support scheme reverts back to the scheme approved in 22/23 as highlighted in Section 2a, effectively reducing the maximum discount for the lowest income households from 100% to 92.8% off the relevant bill.

 

g)    that a full review of the current scheme be undertaken during 24/25 including the necessary consultations for any proposed changes with an update being provided to Members later in 2024.

 

3.       Treasury Management Strategy & Policy Statement 2024/25

 

3.1      that Cabinet approve the 24/25 Treasury Management Strategy and Policy Statement (included in the main papers at Section 2c) and specifically:

 

a)    approve the 24/25 Treasury Management Policy Statement (Section 2c Appendix A).

 

b)    approve the 24/25 Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement (Section 2c Appendix B).

 

c)    approve the 24/25 Borrowing Strategy at Section 2c including the full suite of Prudential and Treasury Indicators (Section 2c Appendix C).

 

d)    approve the 24/25 Annual Investment Strategy at Section 2c.

 

Publication date: 07/02/2024

Date of decision: 07/02/2024

Decided at meeting: 07/02/2024 - Cabinet

Accompanying Documents: