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Agenda item

Budget 2022/23

To recommend a budget for 2022/23 to the Council. 

Subject To Call In::No - Recommendation to Council.

Decision:

That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL that:

1.    a net budget of £9,821,535 be APPROVED;

2.    a Band D Council Tax of £134.36, an increase of £5.00pa, be APPROVED;

3.    growth items be included within the budget for 2022/23, as proposed in Appendix A to the report; and

4.    the capital programme, as proposed in Appendix B to the report, be APPROVED.  

Minutes:

84.1           The report of the Head of Finance and Asset Management, circulated at Pages No. 109-134, set out the proposals for the 2022/23 budget which the Committee was asked to recommend to Council. Attention was drawn to two amendments, which had been circulated separately, and Members were advised that, if agreed, the report to Council would be amended to include those matters.

84.2           The Head of Finance and Asset Management advised that Members were very familiar with the budget proposals so he would not talk through those. He referred to the amendments which had been circulated and explained that the first referred to clarification from the government on the accounting treatment relating to the new COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF). The scheme was aimed at providing business rate relief for businesses which had not benefitted from funding packages that had been available during the pandemic. At the same time, the government would cancel all appeals made by businesses in relation to a Material Change in Circumstances as a result of COVID and, to support that scheme, the government had awarded Councils additional S31 grant funding – for Tewkesbury Borough, the total funding was £2,340,291 with the share attributable to the Borough Council’s part of the retention scheme being £936,116. The CARF support was likely to run from February through to 30 September and would result in reliefs being applied against 2021/22 business rates; this would reduce business rates income in 2021/22 creating a larger collection fund deficit at year-end which would be met by the S31 grant allocation from the government so there was no impact on the net position of the budget. This information had not been included in the original report and the subsequent amendments suggested to the budget report were included for information. The second amendment related to an offer made by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to settle the outstanding appeal by Virgin Media against one of its current appeals. The offer was to reduce the rateable value of the hereditament from £4.0million to £2.97million with effect from April 2017 – this was a reduction of 25.5% and was in excess of the specific provisions made for the appeal, although substantial general provisions did exist. Given the size of the reduction offered by the VOA, the Council’s NNDR1 return to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), which detailed business rates retention estimates for the forthcoming year, had been amended to reflect the latest position and, in turn, the proposed budget also needed to be amended. The reduction in rateable value of £1.03million impacted on many elements of the retention calculation including the net rates collectable, the levy, the multiplier cap and the collection fund deficit and would see the Council’s level of retention fall by £342,046 overall. In order to balance the budget it would be necessary to draw on reserves and, whilst the budget for 2022/23 could be balanced without any impact on the growth items included in the proposals, it was noted that the offer by the VOA had an ongoing impact on the Council’s retained business rates position of approximately £142,000.

84.3           Members expressed frustration on behalf of the Head of Finance and Asset Management for the late information being received. A Member noted the adjustments were sizeable but felt the effectiveness of the Council’s financial management was testament to the way they could be addressed.

84.4           Accordingly, it was 

Action By:HF&AM

Supporting documents: