Agenda item

Budget Proposals - 2024/25 to 2028/29

Report of Executive Director (Finance and Resources) to follow


The Cabinet considered a report of the Executive Director (Finance and Resources) presenting the General Fund Revenue Budget and capital investment priorities for 2024/25.  This item was considered by the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.


On consideration of the budget report Councillor Buck drew attention to a number of amendments to the car parking fees and charges.  The changes were reflected in revised Appendix 6b (fees and charges) which was circulated to all Councillors prior to the meeting.




1. That the Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2024/25 – 2028/29 (Appendix 1 to the submitted report) and the resulting Medium Term Financial Forecast and estimated Earmarked Reserves Balances up to 2028/29 (Annexes 1 and 2 to Appendix 1), be approved and any final minor changes/updates of the strategy be delegated to the Executive Director (Finance and Resources).


2. That the Section 151 Officer’s statement on the robustness of the proposed budget, the adequacy of the Council’s reserves and the Council’s Reserves Strategy (Appendix 2 to the report), be noted.


3. That the appropriation of the sums to earmarked reserves totalling £8.778M (Appendix 3 to the report), be approved.


4. That the appropriation of the sums from earmarked reserves totalling £1.863M (Appendix 3 to the report), be approved.


5.That a General Fund Budget Requirement for 2024/25 of £150.075M and Council Tax Requirement of £103.495M (Appendix 4 to the report), be approved.


6. That it be noted that the 2024/25 revenue budget has been prepared based on using £1M from accumulated Collection Fund surpluses to support the core budget and to allow for a smoothing of the budget gap.


7. That a Council Tax increase of 4.99% for the Southend-on-Sea element of the Council Tax for 2024/25, being 2.99% for general use and 2.00% for Adult Social Care, be approved.


8. That the position of the Council’s preceptors, be noted:


·       Essex Police – Council Tax increase of 5.55%

·       Essex Fire and Rescue Services – Council Tax increase of 2.91%

·       Leigh-on-Sea Town Council – Council Tax increase of 2.31%


9. That no Special Expenses be charged other than Leigh-on-Sea Town Council precept for 2024/25.


10. That the proposed General Fund revenue budget growth due to unavoidable cost pressures of £18.810M (Appendix 5 to the report), be approved.


11. That the proposed General Fund Revenue budget savings and income generation initiatives for 2024/25 of £14.595M (Appendix 6a to the report), be approved.


12. That the proposed General Fund revenue overspend reduction initiatives for 2024/25 of £2.795M (Appendix 7 to the report), be approved.


13. That the proposed General Fund revenue cost avoidance initiatives for 2024/25 of £1.840M (Appendix 8 to the report), be approved.


14. That the use of £100,000 for the Dementia Carer Support (Appendix 5 to the report), with the remaining balance of £1.617M of the additional one-off Social Care funding for 2024/25 received in the Final Local Government Finance Settlement to be appropriated into the Social Care Grant Reserve (Appendix 3 to the report), be approved.


15. That the Dedicated Schools Grant budget and its relevant distribution, as recommended by the Education Board (Appendices 9a and 9b to the report), be approved.


16. That the Capital Investment Strategy for 2024/25 to 2028/29 (Appendix 10 to the report) and the Capital Investment Policy (Annex 1 to Appendix 10), be approved.


17. That the following, be approved:


(i) New schemes and additions to the Capital Investment Programme for the period 2024/25 to 2028/29 totalling £6.6M for the General Fund (Appendix 11 to the report).


(ii) Schemes subject to viable business cases that have been identified as a priority, totalling £42.1M for the General Fund and £5.5M for the Housing Revenue Account (Appendix 11 to the report).


18. That the proposed changes to the current Capital Investment Programme (Appendix 12 to the report), be approved.


19. That the proposed Capital Investment Programme for 2024/25 to 2028/29 of £96.3M to be delivered by the Council and £20.1M to be delivered by Subsidiary Companies and Partners (Appendix 13 to the report) of which £44.8M is supported by external funding, be approved.


20. That the revised Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy for 2023/24 and Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy for 2024/25 (Appendices 14a and 14b to the report), and the Prudential Indicators (Appendix 15 to the report) be approved.


21. That the operational boundary and authorised limits for borrowing for 2024/25, which are set at £385M and £395M respectively (Appendix 15 to the report), be approved.


22. That the summary of changes included in this proposed final budget package in response to the feedback that has been received since the draft budget was launched on 4 January 2024, be noted.


23. That the summary status of Equality Analysis supporting the budget proposals for 2024/25 to 2026/27 (Appendix 16 to the report), be noted.


Reason for recommendations:


The recommendations in the report are to comply with statutory requirements and relevant Local Authority codes of practice and to ensure the budgets align to and enable the delivery of the Councils ambition, corporate priorities and desired outcomes or to enhance the Councils infrastructure.


Other options:


The Local Government Act requires billing authorities to complete and approve their budgets and set a council tax level before 11th March immediately prior to the start of the next financial year on 1st April.


Note: This is a Council Budget Function, not eligible for call in by virtue of Budget and Policy Framework Procedure Rule 1.1(b).

Cabinet Member: Cllr Cox

Supporting documents:


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