Agenda item

Budget Strategy 2022/23 – 2026/27- (Recommendation 1)


The Full Council considered report FIN/537 of the Head of Corporate Finance. The Leader of the Council presented the report which set out the projected financial position for 2022/23 to 2026/27 for the General Fund, Housing Revenue Account, capital programme and the underlying assumptions. The report also set the policy framework for the budget process, recognising that there were a range of options for capital investment, income generation, savings and Council Tax levels; none of which could be considered in isolation. The overall objective in the past had been to work towards a balanced General Fund budget over a three year period, this however, due to the impact of the pandemic this had been increased to four years in the Budget Strategy report to Cabinet in November 2020.


It was noted that there was currently a budget gap £138,566 for 2022/23 before use of reserves and before any savings are identified, on the basis of a Council tax increase of 2.31% which was £4.95 on a Band D in property 2022/23. It was proposed also to budget a further £948,460 for new capital schemes.


The item had been previously considered at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and Cabinet meetings on 22 November 2021 and 24 November 2021 respectively. Councillor Lamb moved the recommendation which was seconded by Councillor P Smith. Both Councillor Lamb and Councillor P Smith spoke on the report.


Councillor Crow also spoke on the item and the recommendation.


The Deputy Mayor then called for the vote on the Recommendation, which was carried unanimously.





That the Full Council approves the Budget Strategy 2022/23 to 2026/27 and:


a)         Notes the uncertainties around Government funding prior to the settlement in December and the delay in Local Government Funding reforms such as business rates retention and the future of New Homes Bonus.


b)         Notes, for the purpose of projections, the current budget deficit of £138,566for 2022/23 before use of reserves, on the basis of a Council tax increase of 2.31% which is £4.95 on a Band D in property 2022/23. 


c)         Works towards balancing this over a four-year period, including putting back into reserves when the Budget is in surplus.  There may be a need to use reserves over the next three to four years to balance the budget together with ongoing savings, efficiencies and additional income through the transformation programme.


d)         Notes there was a report on the Climate Change Emergency Action Plan at the Cabinet meeting on 24 November 2021.  The costs identified in 2022/23 are included within existing budgets, however there will be a need to fully cost the Plan over the coming years and decisions will be required on how to fund the Plan.

e)         Notes that savings previously agreed and included in the Budget Strategy are required to ensure a sustainable budget.


f)          Delegates to the Leader of the Council in consultation with the Chief Executive and the Head of Corporate Finance to approve a discretionary business rates scheme to distribute the share to Crawley Borough Council of the £1.5b business rates relief as outlined in Section 5.3 of report FIN/537.


g)         Notes that items for the Capital Programme are driven by the need for the upkeep of council assets and environmental obligations and schemes will also be considered that are spend-to-save or spend-to-earn, but that such prioritisation should not preclude the initial consideration of capital projects that could deliver social value.


h)         Agrees the inclusion of new capital schemes in future budgets with the value of £948,460 as identified in Table 8 of report FIN/537.


i)          Reduces the Gigabit capital programme of £2.7m to £1.35m funded from the West Sussex business rates pool to avoid duplication with Towns Fund Gigabit scheme as identified in section 9.3 of report FIN/537.


j)          Approves the revised Crawley Homes capital investment plan in Appendix D of report FIN/537 which includes the financial year 2024/25 and the garage repairs capital budget which was transferred to the General Fund.


k)         Notes that the Budget is aligned to the Council’s Corporate Priorities