The report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.
The Mayor advised that she had been asked as Chairman of this meeting to consider extending the time period for proposing the 2023/24 Budget and Financial Strategy to 15 minutes, and to allow 7 ½ minutes for Group Leaders responding. The Mayor confirmed that she was happy to approve the request.
The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic and Borough-wide Leadership, Councillor Robinson presented the report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services outlining the Council’s Financial Strategy and Budget for 2023/24.
The Leader stated that this budget had been carefully crafted to represent the diversity of all Rushcliffe’s residents and businesses, and had been developed during very difficult times, with war in Europe, associated high levels of inflation, economic downturn, and rising prices, which affected everyone. Council was reminded that this budget had not been built in isolation, rather it had been built on many successfully years of prudent management by this authority.
The Leader referred to the support being offered to local businesses, including the proposal to freeze car parking charges, with the authority already having some of the lowest charges in the county. Reference was made to the support being given to the Development Corporation, which would be bringing new employment and green technology to Rushcliffe, and it was hoped that some very significant plans shared this week with Cabinet would soon be made public. Investment was also being made in the Freeport, with significant announcements due in the next week, and the Leader referred to the significance of the HS2 hub scheduled to come into Rushcliffe. It was noted that the significant Business Rate relief was helping local businesses, and that the Council was also offering some businesses rent free periods and rent reviews, which reflected their needs. The Leader advised that 10 out of the 12 units at the new Bingham Enterprise Centre had already been let, which highlighted how well the Council was fulfilling that market.
With regards to supporting the vulnerable and disadvantaged, the Leader confirmed that £3.7m had been invested in disabled facilities across the Borough, with a further £325k to Hound Lodge, which supported families made unintentionally homeless. £4.7m had been allocated for social housing, and Council was reminded that on the larger sites, 30% affordable homes was the target, and such significant funds helped the Borough to deliver more social housing than any other district in Nottinghamshire.
The Leader referred to the £1m allocated to build a gypsy and traveller site, which would allow the Council to prevent unauthorised encampments around the Borough, which affected communities.
In respect of supporting local communities, £2.7m was being invested at Cotgrave and Keyworth leisure centres, on the back of the successful opening of the new leisure centre at Bingham, with a new community hall planned for Edwalton. Council was advised that the premium on empty properties would be reduced from two to one year to help incentive housing use. The Leader confirmed that £2m would be invested in new waste vehicles to ... view the full minutes text for item 57