Decision details

Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP)

Decision Maker: Cabinet, Council

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To propose a Medium Term Financial Plan for 2024/25 to 2027/28 to Council for approval.


Pursuant to Minute C76/Dec/23, the Leader introduced the report of the Chief Officers Executive (previously circulated) proposing a Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2024/25 to 2027/28 (also previously circulated) including setting a budget and council tax increase for 2024/25, to Council on Thursday 15 February 2024, for approval.


The submitted report stated that the Council was facing unparalleled financial challenges stemming from reductions in public spending between 2010 and 2019 where the Council’s budget was reduced by £46m in real terms; the aftermath of Covid; the current economic climate; increased cost of living; income deprivation and rising poverty; increased demand for children’s social care; high inflation; and rising interest rates.


It was reported that all budgets had been reviewed and challenged; savings of £4.019m had been achieved; reserves would be utilised to meet the 2024/25 funding gap; the Council could deliver a balanced position until 2025/26 utilising those reserves; there was a significant annual budget deficit which was not sustainable and would need to be addressed; and that unless further government funding was forthcoming, the Council would need to undertake a fundamental review of its services over the course of 2024 to decide what and how services would be delivered in the coming years.


Details of the detailed revenue estimates 2024/25, budget pressures and savings, fees and charges proposals 2024/25, assumptions used to prepare estimates, projected Revenue Outturn 2023/24, Capital MTFP 2024/25 to 2027/28, proposals for children’s social care and the minutes from the meeting of the Economy and Resources Scrutiny held on 18 January 2024, were appended to the submitted report.


In presenting the report the Leader stated that the Council would receive approximately £1m of additional funding from the government, which was welcomed but would not address the shortfall, and that the capital programme would be increased by £10k as a result of quotes for the fully accessible toilet at the Hippodrome, which was partially funded from a Changing Places grant, coming in higher than anticipated.


Particular references were made at the meeting to the carry forward of balances and reserves compared to the previous MTFP; the proposed Council Tax increase; the additional funding from the government; the amount of savings Council’s had been expected to make; and the effectiveness of Scrutiny.  The Cabinet Member with the Children and Young People Portfolio, the Cabinet Member with the Resources Portfolio and the Leader of the Council responded thereon.


RESOLVED – (a)  That the comments and responses received to the consultation, as detailed in the submitted report, be noted.


(b)  That it be recommended to the special meeting of Council scheduled to be held on Thursday 15 February 2024, that the Revenue Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and the Capital Programme, as set out in Appendices 6 and 7 respectively of the submitted report, subject to a minor change in the capital programme to increase the funding for the Changing Places accessible toilet at the Hippodrome, as noted in paragraph 85(b) of the submitted report, by £10k due to the quotes for the works being higher than initially anticipated, be approved, including:-


(i)          a Council Tax increase of 2.99 per cent plus a two per cent Adult Social Care Precept to fund social care for 2024/25;  

(ii)         the Schedule of Charges, as set out in Appendix 3, of the submitted report; and

(iii)        funding for Children’s Services to address the dependency on expensive external provision and improve placement sufficiency for children and young people in Darlington, as noted in paragraphs 43 to 49 and detailed in Appendix 1 of the submitted report. 

REASONS - (a) The Council must set a budget for the next financial year.


(b) To enable the Council to continue to plan services and finances over the medium term.


(c) To ensure decisions can be made in a timely manner.


(d) To reduce the pressures on the MTFP in the medium term.


(e)  To ensure investment in the Council’s assets is maintained.


Report author: Gail Banyard

Publication date: 09/02/2024

Date of decision: 06/02/2024

Decided at meeting: 06/02/2024 - Cabinet

Effective from: 17/02/2024

Accompanying Documents: