Issue - meetings

Wiltshire Council's Budget 2023/24 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24-2025/26

Meeting: 31/01/2023 - Cabinet (Item 6)

6 Wiltshire Council's Budget 2023/24 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24-2025/26

      Report of the Chief Executive


Supporting documents:


Councillor Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Finance, Development Management and Strategic Planning, introduced the report which proposed the 2023/2024 Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2023/2024 to 2025/2026. The report also set out the Council’s Capital Programme 2023/24 to 2029/30, the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget 2023/24 and the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).


Councillor Botterill noted that the council and country was facing unprecedented times, with inflation at levels not seen for four decades, escalating costs to contracts of up to 20%, high energy prices, and continuing impacts from Covid-19. The council had faced a notional overspend of approximately £45m, but through a sound financial base and necessary decisions in preceding years including transformations and organisation changes, was able to present a balanced budget proposal encompassing the next three years.


He stated the proposal did not rely drawing upon reserves, which would be increased overall over the three years, with others released to support Business Plan priorities. He stated there had been some extra government funds relating to social care, but other direct grants had been removed, and was not relying on deferring capital expenditure.  He provided details of proposed council tax rises over the next three years, and the careful analysis undertaken before recommending them, and the fees and charges increases where it was deemed necessary and where good value for money was provided.


Colin Gale had submitted questions on behalf Rushall Parish Council and the Pewsey Community Area Partnership, regarding the recovery of costs for elections from town and parish councils, and the use of the Rural Mobility Fund, respectively. Written responses were provided with the questions as detailed in Agenda Supplement 1.


Colin Gale asked a supplementary question regarding communication sent to parish councils. He criticised the effect on small parishes, and believed there could have been consultation through the Area Boards.


The Leader responded that as a budgetary matter the issue would be determined by Full Council and Area Boards were not an appropriate method of consultation. A response would be provided after the meeting regarding communication with parishes.


Colin Gale also asked a supplementary question regarding the Rural Mobility Fund, asking how savings would be achieved through maximising the geographic area. Councillor Caroline Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport, Sreetscene, and Flooding, provided a response that maximising the area for demand responsive transport could reduce the schedule for bus services particularly affected by inflation. She stated it was about a more efficient use of limited resources, responding to requests rather than laying on services which may be empty.


Councillor Graham Wright, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, addressed the Cabinet regarding questions raised at the meeting of his Committee on 24 January 2023, with the report of the meeting included in Agenda Supplement 1.


Councillor Gavin Grant, Vice-Chairman of the Financial Planning Task Group, noted the thorough examination of the budget and council finances during the year by the Task Group, and planned to review the arrangements for budget scrutiny to ensure it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6