Agenda item

General fund budget 2024/25 and capital programme - to follow


Homira Javadi, Director of Finance and Performance, introduced the report which sought agreement to the General Fund Budget 2023/24 and updated Medium Term Financial Strategy, together with the updated Capital Programme and Treasury Management position. During discussion, the following points were highlighted:


·       If reserves were used to fund day-to-day costs for the Council, the interest otherwise received would be lost. As part of the Council’s stability and growth program, and in response to a recommendation by CIPFA, the Council’s strategy had been to reduce the cost of borrowing and the cost of financing. However, if exceptional financial support was offered and accepted, there would be an increase in the cost of borrowing and furthermore, the exceptional financial support would include an added premium of an additional 1% to the existing rate.


·       Increasing council tax beyond the existing threshold was not realistic. It would require a referendum, that in itself involved cost. The option would not be supported in the current financial climate.


·       A Member expressed concern that there were a number of points not being addressed within the report and that the issue of homelessness numbers and the financial impact had not been raised sooner. Officers advised that the initial cost of providing temporary accommodation and housing needs had been referenced in financial reports over the previous three years. The trend that was expected in 2023/2024 in terms of the cost to the Council had not come about and instead of reducing, had increased.


·        A member requested that the Committee expressed its support for the work being undertaken by the Cabinet in lobbying the Government for support.  


Resolved to note the report and submit the following comment for Cabinet’s consideration:


·       That the Scrutiny Committee endorse the Cabinet’s work in continuing to lobby the Government to support local councils through exceptional financial challenges and exploring all funding options.

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