Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
(Report of Director of Finance and Transformation)
The report brought together information on salaries, major operational income streams and investment income. The performance of key budget areas, together with approved variations to the revenue budget and areas identified through revenue budget monitoring were summarised to provide an indicative overall budget position for the year. Updates on capital expenditure and variations agreed in relation to the Capital Plan were also provided.
Cabinet noted that in respect of salaries, overall actual expenditure to the end of August 2023 was £53,000 less than budgeted at the February Budget meeting after adjusting for an additional allocation of funding in the sum of £105,800 from the General Revenue Reserve to pay for temporary staffing in Planning.
Overall actual income to the end of August was £140,986 less than budgeted. The majority of areas were currently below profiled budget and these were currently subject to review to identify trends that could provide better detail on income being received.
Members’ attention was drawn to the significant demand on Temporary Accommodation (TA) and increasing costs on nightly paid accommodation, and the need to explore all options to improve TA position to ensure sustainable provision, including expanding own stock, was recognised.
Particular reference was made to a successful claim to HMRC in respect of overpaid VAT on sports and leisure activities covering the period August 2007 to June 2011. In August 2023, this claim was accepted and the ‘net’ windfall receipt was £1,967,500. Proposals on how this funding might best be utilised for the benefit of the Borough would be included in the Medium Term Financial Strategy update report to Cabinet in November.
Members welcomed the positive update in respect of the position of the Business Rates pooling, as detailed in paragraph 1.14.
With regard to the recommendation from the External Auditors on engaging the public to undertake a dedicated budget consultation to determine local priorities for resources or opportunities for savings, Cabinet considered their existing approach to decision making rigorous but would keep the recommendation in mind.
(1) it be noted that as at the end of August 2023, the projected overall outturn position for the year 2023/24 was a net favourable variance of circa £1,861,794 when compared to the budget set in February 2023;
(2) it be noted that the net favourable variance was wholly related to the windfall VAT receipt and that excluding this windfall there was a net adverse variance of £105,706;
(3) the need to identify and implement opportunities to deliver as a minimum this financial year’s savings target of £500,000 be noted;
(4) the current business rate pool position as at the end of August 2023 be noted; and
(5) a dedicated public consultation event on savings would not be undertaken but the process for identifying potential options for savings be kept under review.
Publication date: 05/10/2023
Date of decision: 03/10/2023
Decided at meeting: 03/10/2023 - Cabinet
Effective from: 13/10/2023