Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy - Latest Position.


The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Corporate Resources concerning the serious financial position faced by the County Council and sought approval for measures in order to help mitigate the position, including changes to the previously agreed 2022-26 capital programme. A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 4’, is filed with these minutes.


Comments of the Scrutiny Commission, which had considered a report on the matter at its meeting on 7 September, were circulated separately and a copy is filed with these minutes.


The Cabinet also noted comments submitted by the Labour Group, a copy of which is also filed with these minutes.


The Director said that the Council was expected to be overspent by £14m in the 2022/23 financial year and the planned measures to address the shortfall were detailed in the report. The following year the gap was expected to rise to £28m and up to £125m by 2025/26. He said that whilst the Council would try to find a significant amount of savings by maximising efficiencies, it was likely the Council would have to reduce services in order to produce a balanced budget. Savings proposals would be included in the 2023/24 budget presented to the Cabinet in December. 


In reference to the Council’s capital programme, it was noted that a review had been undertaken and minor changes were proposed for the current year. The position was expected to worsen for 2023/24 onwards as a result of inflationary pressures which could add a further £45m.


The Director added that the Council had recently received confirmation that Household Support Funding would be allocated to the Authority which would in part be used to fund the provision of free school meal vouchers during the October Half Term.


Mr Breckon CC said that in order for the Council to address the significant shortfall it would have to review all of its services, including those that affected residents’ everyday lives such as road repairs, gritting schedules, the operation of waste sites as well as support services for adults and children. The Authority would continue to press MPs and the Government to highlight the Council’s stark financial position and the need for fairer funding. He added that the majority of other county councils were facing similar deficits.


Mrs Taylor CC said that despite the provision delivered by Children and Family Services being demand led, cuts to the service area would be needed which was likely to restrict the numbers of children that could be supported. The Department continued to work with partners to explore ways in which its budget could be better spent. She added that decisions following the Government’s review of social care and SEND, which were expected to advocate additional funding for local authorities, were needed quickly in order to address the worsening position.


Mrs Radford CC said that the Council faced significant problems in relation to adult social care funding but it would continue to do everything it could to support elderly and vulnerable residents.


The Leader said that the financial position faced by the County Council was frightening and the worse he had experienced as Leader. The Council would unfortunately have to make service cuts and he urged residents to respond to consultations on proposals as they were developed.




a)    That the comments of the Scrutiny Commission be noted;


b)    That noting the significant financial challenges faced by the County Council, including the period 4 monitoring from the current financial year, the proposed approach outlined in the report to updating the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), be approved;


c)     That the revised Capital Programme for 2022/23 to 2025/26 as set out in Appendix C to the report be approved and that the Director of Corporate Resources be authorised:


                               I.        To approve invest to save schemes for inclusion in the Capital Programme


                             II.        In consultation with the relevant Chief Officer and following consultation with the relevant Lead Member, to pause capital schemes subject to further review and until additional cost information becomes available.


d)    That each Chief Officer in consultation with the Director of Corporate Resources and following consultation with the relevant Lead Member(s), be requested to;


                          I.          Take action as necessary to bring forward, where possible, savings already budgeted for within the MTFS 2023/24 to 2025/26, including the current (2022/23) financial year;


                        II.          Undertake work to develop a savings programme including preliminary work such as consultation, as considered appropriate to enable the Council to develop further savings for inclusion in the roll forward of the MTFS;


e)    That it be noted that no final commitments will be made on (i) and (ii) above before decisions on these matters are taken by elected members either as part of the County Council’s MTFS for 2023/24-2026/27 or by the Cabinet following a report setting out full details of any proposed changes;


f)      That the position regarding the level of income received from local NHS bodies to cover social care costs, and the proposals to work with NHS colleagues to help to increase this, be noted.






To develop plans to address the latest financial position.


To approve a revised capital programme for 2022-26 which required amendment as a result of the latest forecast financial position and enabled the Director of Corporate Resources to make further amendments to include invest to save schemes and to pause schemes in order to further review their costings.


Authorising officers to bring forward savings already budgeted for within the MTFS 2023/24 to 2025/26 to enable savings to be progressed and delivered as soon as possible.


The development of a savings programme would enable the Authority to identify further areas of savings to be made to address the worsening financial position.


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