Agenda item

Agenda item

Draft General Fund Budget and Council Tax 2023/24

Report of the Interim Head of Finance



The Interim Head of Finance presented the report and wished to draw members attention to the additional paper distributed prior to the meeting. It was reiterated that the council had been subject to inflationary pressures, which had caused a significant increase. The number of efficiencies to be adopted and increases in fees and charges were noted, and it was observed that government funding to local authorities had not increased in line with inflation.


A member noted that the budget seemed to be ‘cautious’ and enquired whether an assessment had been undertaken as to what level of resource would be required for a more, or increased level of, proactive enforcement for example with regards to planning, antisocial behaviour and housing and expressed a wish to propose that Cabinet take into account the need for more proactive enforcement. Officers advised it would be necessary to confer with the relevant head of service in order to offer clarification and offered to do so. Officers wished to draw members’ attention to the Task and Finish group around fuel poverty and advised that findings from the group would be presented to Cabinet and would contain proposals around additions to the enforcement team but that this would not be revenue funded.


A member wished to formally express the proposal that Cabinet be requested to assess what is required to deliver a full spectrum, proactive enforcement service and set out a plan to address any shortfall in staffing levels. Officers assured members that any comments made would be taken forward to Cabinet in the form of the minutes, for Cabinet to give full consideration to.


A member enquired whether it was correct that the full cost of rolling out a food waste collection scheme would be paid for by the government and if so, had this been included in the budget. Officers responded that the council was awaiting further information from the government prior to moving this forward and would not be able to include this until the promised funding be received. Officers informed the meeting that Cabinet and Community Scrutiny had been involved in the consideration food waste collection and had decided to await the government funding coming forward, and whilst the government had ‘reconfirmed’ that this funding would be made available no detail had been provided to date.


A member enquired how it had been proposed to make savings to the community services budget and if these cuts would lead to a reduction in services. Officers responded that the primary reason had been the income generated from the new leisure centre so it had been attributable to an increase in income as opposed to a cut in service.


A member noted that the Property Services budget had been increased by around £800,000 and questioned why such a large increase would be occurring. Officers offered to respond to this following the meeting, as it had not been immediately apparent at first glance.


A member noted that the Coalville Regeneration Programme featured work associated with a Coalville railway station and expressed a wish to see similar works carried out at Ashby de la Zouch and at other locations throughout the district. Concerns were also raised at the marked increase in the cost of using public conveniences in Ashby de la Zouch, but officers confirmed that these increased costs had been in line with inflation.


Members asked how much income would have been generated had there not been a freeze on council tax, and officers advised that this is something which would have to be worked out and brought back to members, however it was noted that this freeze had created some element of income which would have been foregone if the council tax had increased.


A member enquired where the receipt for the sale of the council offices and the car park appeared in the budget and if it had been included as capital receipt. Officers advised that it had not been factored in at present and offered clarification around the separate issues of the business case for the accommodation changes and plans for the future site, and what the future income stream might be.




Corporate Scrutiny Committee provide comments on the Draft General Fund Budget and Council Tax 2023/24 (Appendix 1) for consideration by Cabinet on 10 January 2023.



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