Agenda item

Revenue and Capital Budget Proposals 2023/24



Consideration was given to a report that outlined the draft revenue and capital budget proposals for 2023/24 to 2025/26.                


In discussion, particular reference was made to:


(a)      the current capital bidding process.  At the request of the Executive, officers set out the current capital bidding process and advised that, in future years, it would be amended to enable greater Member input at an earlier stage.  This point was welcomed and the Leader asked that, if any Members had any requests that they wished to be considered for inclusion for the 2023/24 Financial Year, then they must let either Members of the Executive or their Group Leader know at the earliest possible opportunity;


(b)      the increases in external audit fees.  Despite receiving an explanation from the Section 151 Officer regarding the increases in external audit fees, some Members were of the view that audit process for all local authorities were no longer fit for purpose or represented good value for money;


(c)       recommendation 5.  In reply to a question, the Chief Executive wished to firstly apologise to the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that he had not been made aware of the proposal for an Advisory Committee to be established to consider the draft Budget Proposals for 2023/24 prior to the agenda papers having been published.  For clarity, the intention of this recommendation was to enable for all non-Executive Members to have an opportunity to consider the draft Budget for 2023/24 which, in light of the recent changes in Committee membership, would not now have been possible via a joint meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny and Development Management Committees.


It was then:




i)          That the forecast budget gap for 2023/24 of £195,616 (1.7% of the Projected Net Budget for 23/24 of £11.43million) and the position for future years be noted;


ii)         That the timescales for closing the budget gap in 2023/24 and future years to achieve long term financial sustainability be noted;


iii)       That the current level of Unearmarked and Earmarked Reserves (as set out in Appendix C of the published agenda report) be noted, as well as the net contributions to Earmarked Reserves modelled for 2023/24 (as set out in Appendix D of the published agenda report);


iv)       That the outline initial proposals for the Capital Programme for 2023/24 of £2.070 million (as set out in Appendix E of the presented agenda report) be noted (with Full Business Cases to be presented to Members as part of the January 2023 budget cycle of meetings).


And that Council be RECOMMENDED:


v)      to set up an advisory Committee comprising of all Non-Executive Members to meet in January 2023, to consider the 2023/24 Revenue and Capital Budget Proposals and make recommendations to the Executive on the Budget Proposals (meeting date proposed of Thursday 19 January 2023); and


vi)    that South Hams District Council continues to be part of the Devon Business Rates Pool for 2023/24, subject to there being no announcements within the Finance Settlement (expected to be announced in mid-December), which in the opinion of the Section 151 Officer (in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Portfolio Holder for Finance), would change this recommendation.


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