Report of the Chief Officers Executive
The Chief Officers Executive submitted a report (previously circulated) to seek approval for a Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2022/23 to 2025/26, including setting a budget and Council Tax increase for 2022/23, and also the approval of a 2022/23 to 2025/26 Capital Programme.
The submitted report stated that, whilst 2020/21 was undoubtedly the year of Covid, 2021/22 will be remembered as the year we started to live and adapt to the difficulties and opportunities it created. It was reported that the pandemic fundamentally impacted on the priorities of, and the way in which, the Council conducted its business, and that the financial pressure on the public sector as a whole and the Council more specifically have been significant over the last couple of years. This was on the back of a decade of significant financial challenge following the economic downturn and the reductions in public sector spending.
The submitted report stated that the Council had received its Local Government Finance Settlement on 16 December 2021, and which confirmed a one year settlement and a number of funding streams announced in the Autumn Statement including the £1.5bn additional funding stream which had been split between a specific grant for Social Care and an un-ringfenced Services Grant which was only guaranteed for 2022/23 whilst a review of Local Government funding takes place. It was reported that the MTFP was based on a one year funding basis, and therefore the 2022/23 Budget and MTFP had an eye to future years, but did not seek to presume what the future would look like. The proposed MTFP aimed to ensure that the Council could continue to provide vital services in response to Covid should it be required, and importantly continue to provide the core offer level of services to the residents of Darlington regardless of Covid.
It was reported that a healthy level of reserves had been maintained for medium term stability and this was now a crucial component of the budget strategy which would allow time for the key ambition of economic growth to take effect.
The submitted report stated that the core offer remained challenging with some significant pressures arising, however through tight financial management, innovative financial investments and increased income from economic growth successes, the Council was still in a position to deliver the agreed balanced plan, finance the MTFP to 2025/26 whilst retaining usable balances of £1.523m.
The following amendment to the Motion was moved by Councillor Harker, and seconded by Councillor Ali:
‘Delete the recommendation contained in paragraph 12 (a) (i) and replace with :-
12 (a) (i) Council Tax increase of 1% which is solely the Adult Social Care Precept to help fund social care for 2022/23.’
In accordance with Council Procedure Rules, a request was made by five Members for a named vote on the Amendment. A named vote was taken of those Members present at the meeting and there appeared:-
For the Amendment – The Mayor; Councillors Ali, Cossins, Crumbie, Curry, Harker, Haszeldine, L. Hughes, Layton, Lucas, McCollom, McEwan, Newall, M. Nicholson, A. J. Scott and Wallis (16)
Against the Amendment – Councillors Allen, Bartch, Bell, Dr. Chou, Clarke, Crudass, Mrs. Culley, Donoghue, Dulston, Durham, Johnson, B. Jones, Mrs. D. Jones, Keir, Laing, Lee, Marshall, Mills, K. Nicholson, Preston, Renton, Mrs. H. Scott, Snedker, Sowerby, Tait, Tostevin, Willis and Wright (28)
Abstentions – Councillor Holroyd (1)
The Amendment was Lost.
In accordance with the requirements of the Budget and Policy Framework Rules a vote on the recommendation was taken of those Members present at the meeting and there appeared:-
For the Motion – The Mayor; Councillors Ali, Allen, Bartch, Bell, Dr. Chou, Clarke, Cossins, Crudass, Crumbie, Mrs. Culley, Curry, Donoghue, Dulston, Durham, Harker, Holroyd, L. Hughes, Johnson, B. Jones, Mrs. D. Jones, Keir, Laing, Layton, Lee, Lucas, Marshall, McCollom, McEwan, Mills, Newall, K. Nicholson, M. Nicholson, Preston, Renton, A. J. Scott, Mrs. H. Scott, Snedker, Sowerby, Tait, Tostevin, Wallis, Willis and Wright (44)
Against the Motion – (0)
Abstentions – Councillor Haszeldine (1)
RESOLVED – (a) That the Revenue MTFP as set out in Appendix 6 and the Capital Programme as set out in Appendix 7, including the following, be approved:
(i) Council Tax increase of 1.99% plus a 1% Adult Social Care Precept to help fund social care for 2022/23.
(ii) The Schedule of Charges as set out in Appendix 3.
(iii) Mainstreaming the ongoing services provided by the futures fund into the budget from 2025/26 onwards as set out in paragraph 71.
(b) That a delegation for Cabinet to vary the Revenue Budget for 2022/23 by up to £0.5m without further Council approval be approved.
(c) That a delegation for Cabinet to vary the Capital Budget for 2022/23 by up to £0.5m without further Council approval, be approved.
REASONS - (a)
The Council must set a budget for the next financial
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 ensure investment in our assets is maintained?????.