Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet - Monday 12th February, 2024 4.30 pm

Venue: Jim Cooke Conference Suite, Stockton Central Library, The Square, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1TU

Contact: Democratic Services Officer, Peter Bell 

Items
No. Item

CAB/67/23

Evacuation Procedure pdf icon PDF 9 KB

Minutes:

The Evacuation Procedure was noted.

CAB/68/23

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The meeting was advised that each Cabinet Member had been granted a dispensation for a 4-year period in respect of all decisions relating to the setting of the Council Tax and precepts and Members Allowances and did not need to individually declare those interests.

CAB/69/23

Medium Term Financial Plan Update and Strategy pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the final report in setting the Council’s 2024/25 Budget and Council Tax and outlining the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) position to 2027. The report also included an update on the financial performance for 2023/24.

 

The report outlined the budget for 2024/25 and indicative MTFP for future years. The provisional finance settlement was received on 19 December 2023 and this indicated the funding for 2024/25, with the final allocations to be confirmed in February. In order to prepare a Medium Term Financial Plan, assumptions had been made in respect of future years however this funding was extremely uncertain and subject to future Government spending reviews. 

 

The Report outlined a budget pressure rising to £9m by 2026/27 and the transformation programme which had previously been reported to Cabinet would be key to addressing this gap.

 

The Powering Our Future Programme, including a planned approach to Transformation (reported to Cabinet in January 2024) would be crucial in delivering savings as well as service improvements to resolve the gap. It ensured that the Council had a clear plan to address the financial challenges faced, at the same time as improving outcomes for communities. Although the Council could no longer afford to meet the needs of the Borough’s residents in the way the Council had in the past, the Council was confident it could work with partners and communities to put in place new and innovative approaches that would not only save money, but also reshape what the Council did, in the best interests of the Borough’s residents.

 

The MTFP report for 2024/25 to 2026/27 was attached to the report.

 

The report also provided an update on the financial position for 2023/24. As reported previously, inflationary pressures were having a significant impact upon the financial position in 2023/24. The Council continued to see increased costs in maintaining vital services. 

 

The Report outlined the Council Tax proposals and Budget for 2024/25 and the indicative MTFP for the next two years.

 

It provided an update on the position from that reported to Cabinet and Council in February 2023 and in particular reflected implications arising from the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2024/25.

 

The Provisional Financial Settlement had provided funding allocations for 2024/25 only. The period from 2025/26 and beyond was very uncertain, with no information announced on this period, therefore the projections for this period needed to be treated with some caution.

 

The Council had a long history of providing value for money and delivering strong financial management. This had again been reinforced by the External Auditor in the Independent Auditors Annual Report on the 2021/22 accounts which was issued in December 2023.The auditors had issued an unqualified audit opinion on the 2021/22 financial statements and did not identify any significant weaknesses or recommendations in relation to value for money arrangements.

     

Section 25 of the Local Government Finance Act 2003 required that when a local authority was agreeing its annual budget and setting its Council Tax, the Chief Finance Officer (Section 151  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB/69/23