The report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.
The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance and Customer Access, Councillor Moore, presented the report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services outlining the Council’s proposed budget for 2022/23, the five-year Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) from 2022/23 to 2026/27, which included the revenue budget, the proposed Capital Programme, the Transformation Strategy and the Capital and Investment Strategy.
Councillor Moore advised that this budget was designed to move on from the impact of the Covid pandemic and the financial challenges that the Council had faced, and in part the Council continued to face. Cabinet noted that this was a positive budget, which focused on economic recovery and growth within the Borough, whilst supporting the most vulnerable in the community.
Councillor Moore advised that the budget in comparison to last year had less Covid support, and overall had a more encouraging outlook towards income levels. One issue that had required serious consideration this year was the effect of inflation on staff pay, supply and service costs, particularly utility and fuel costs. Cabinet was reminded that Business Rates had yet to be reformed, and that such a delay could have an impact, as had the recent successful appeal by the Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station, which had resulted in a reduced Business Rates payment from £2.9m to £1.6m. However, the Council had been aware of that risk, and prudent provision had been made over the years, to absorb that volatility in Business Rates and Cabinet noted that the Council was sustainable due to its range of income streams.
Councillor Moore highlighted key issues in the report, including the continued uncertainty regarding the New Homes Bonus, which stood at £1.6m this year, and the Climate Change Reserve, which would shortly return to its original figure of £1m.
In respect of the Capital Programme, Councillor Moore advised that the programme was moving as planned, with projects including the Bingham Leisure Hub and Crematorium progressing well, and by the end of 2026, the Council’s capital investment would be over £27m, without the need for any external borrowing, which Councillor Moore considered to be an excellent achievement.
Councillor Moore stated that all this work had been supported by a very able and competent financial team, which had put together an excellent, prudent budget, whilst also dealing with numerous grant support work and Council Tax support and thanked the Director – Finance and Corporate Services, the Service Manager – Finance and the Revenues Manager and their teams for safely guiding the Council through recent unprecedented times.
In respect of Council Tax, Councillor Moore advised that it was proposed to raise Council Tax by 2.4%, which ensured that Rushcliffe’s Council Tax remained the lowest in Nottinghamshire and one of the lowest nationally.
In conclusion, Councillor Moore stated that this was an excellent, prudent budget to support the Council in the post Covid era, and to allow it to continue its excellent service delivery and growth in the Borough.
In seconding the recommendation, Councillor Edyvean referred to the strong financial position of the Council, and in particular to the progress of the Capital Programme, without the need for any external borrowing, despite all of the recent challenges and reiterated the thanks given to officers for their sound financial management and hard work.
Councillor Robinson echoed the thanks given to officers, referred to the huge ambition in this budget and reiterated the comments regarding the success of not requiring any external borrowing to progress the Capital Programme.