This report makes available, for Elected Members, the latest financial information that will underpin the 2022/23 budget and MTFS and the views of Corporate Board on that information.
Portfolio Holder – Councillor Peter Butlin
Note – During the meeting Items 2 and 3 were transposed with item 3 being considered before item 2. However, these minutes adhere to the order of business as set out on the published agenda.
Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader of the Council) introduced the published report which he described as “ground zero” ahead of the council meeting in February. It was emphasised that the options before members are those developed by Corporate Board. They do not represent a draft budget proposal. Councillor Peter Butlin suggested that some tough decisions will be required particularly around tax increases to cover social care costs. In addition, the entire £45m identified out of reserves will be required. On a positive note, the meeting was informed of additional funding that has been made available to the council during the Comprehensive Spending Review. A new element to be considered is inflation. Previously this has not been factored in. It is now, however, back in the system.
Referencing page 52 of the report Councillor Judy Falp expressed concern over any cuts to Housing Related Support. In addition, she asked that Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs) and work on domestic violence continue to be supported.
Concerning Housing Related Support Councillor Izzi Seccombe (Leader of Council and Chair of Cabinet) told the meeting that Warwickshire County Council is the only upper tier local authority that continues to fund this. The service is primarily one for district and borough councils.
Councillor John Holland (Leader of the Labour Group) agreed that inflationary factors should be taken seriously. He counselled that SEND will continue to cost a great deal. Also, any increased income that the government realises from National Insurance is unlikely to be provided to local authorities to support adult social care.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse agreed that the proposals to use increases in National Insurance to pay for social care are unlikely to benefit the council. The spending settlement will be for one year making planning difficult. Three years would have been preferable. He looked forward to seeing the levelling up paper, but this appears to be some way off.
Councillor Margaret Bell (Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health) acknowledged that discussions are required with district and borough councils concerning Housing Related Support. She assured Cabinet that she is aware of the uncertainties facing adult social care.
Councillor Andy Crump (Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety) welcomed any additional funding to tackle flooding. He noted the comments concerning MARAC and committed to speak to Councillor Falp about her concerns.
Councillor Peter Butlin agreed that central government does not appear to be helping with additional funding. Additional funds from increases in National Insurance are being directed to the NHS. None are coming to local authorities.
Good decision making in the past now allows the Council to develop a series of options he concluded.
(1) Agrees to develop its draft 2022/23 Budget and 2022-27 Medium Term Financial Strategy proposals, taking into account the information ... view the full minutes text for item 2