Issue - meetings

Update on Budget Strategy 2020/21 to 2023/24

Meeting: 18/12/2019 - Cabinet (Item 80)

80 Update on Budget Strategy 2020/21 to 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 276 KB


Further to Minute 30 (16 July 2019), the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Core Services presented a report which provided an update on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for 2020/21 to 2023/24.


The Cabinet Member stated that the Council was coming to the final stages of its ambitious 2017-21 strategic transformation and savings programme, which was developed in response to the unprecedented cuts to public funding by the Government, at the same time that the Borough experienced high population growth and increasing demand for Council services. The Transformation Programme had identified £48.8m of savings to be delivered over the four year period and, as at September 2019, £23.8m had been delivered.  While that was a considerable achievement, the Cabinet Member commented that the delivery of the remaining £25m was essential to the balancing of the budget in 2020/21 and beyond.


The Cabinet Member referred to the Council’s revenue reserves going forward and the continuing need to mitigate in-year budget pressures to ensure that the Council retained an adequate level of reserves to respond to future unforeseen events.


The Cabinet Member also commented on the Government’s decision in September to push back the detailed spending review and announce a one-year only Spending Review for 2020/21, with a new national funding formula commencing on 1 April 2021. The Cabinet Member summarised its impact and other Government funding changes on the Council, citing particularly the forecast pressure of £4m in 2020/21 caused by the changes in Business Rates Pooling arrangements, and the potentially catastrophic effect of the total removal of the New Home Bonus.


Cabinet Members referred to the tactics used by the Government to obscure the impact of its austerity policies, citing the impact on local taxpayers of essential increases to the Council Tax to support social care services and the restrictions on how Council could spend grant funding. 


Cabinet resolved to:


(i)  Note the continued commitment to delivering the savings proposed in the MTFS reports approved by Assembly in February 2017 and updated in subsequent years;


(ii)  Agree the proposed consultation process for the budget, as set out in section 9 of the report;


(iii)  Agree to consult the residents and taxpayers of the borough on the levying of a 2% General Council tax increase and a 2% Social Care Precept to support the Borough’s most vulnerable residents; 


(iv)  Note that London authorities are currently exploring the possibility of a further business rates pooling arrangement and approve, in principle, that the Council should join such an arrangement if deemed appropriate; and


(v)  Delegate authority to the Director of People and Resilience, in consultation with the Chief Operating Officer, the Schools Forum and the Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement, to approve the final 2020/21 school funding formula submission to the Education Funding Agency.