Published on 17 January 2022
Archived on 17 February 2022
On Monday 17 January Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Cabinet agreed the draft budget proposals for consultation for the next five years (2022/23 to 2026/27).
The draft budget will be used to consult with the public, local businesses and the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee before final recommendations to be made to Council are considered at the meeting of The Cabinet on 7 February 2022.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford District Council, says: "Unfortunately, we still have no certainty about the long term prospects of support from central government. We had expected a four year settlement, but once again we have only been provided with a one year allocation. The proposals which we are consulting upon are prudent. They allow us to provide extremely valuable resources in some of our key priority areas, including addressing the impact of Climate Change. The levels of uncertainty in the wider economy are extremely high. The prudent approach we are adopting will enable us to be in a better position to cope with any unexpected shocks.
"Until we receive greater clarity about our longer term financial position, we have endeavoured to protect the provision of services to residents for next year. Although we are expecting to make significant savings through our ambition to merge with Warwick District Council, the budget in future years will be extremely dependent upon the level of support from Government. The details of the Government's Spending Review later this year will, therefore, be crucial for the longer term provision of services
"Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, a massive impact upon the wider District and on the Council. The world has changed, continues to change and we have to continually adapt to that changed world. There is no point pretending that we can ignore the changing world. That would simply deny reality and store up even more difficult decisions in future."
The proposals will now go out for consultation.
To view the proposals in more detail residents and businesses should visit: https://www.stratford.gov.uk/consultation-performance/proposed-budget-amendments.cfm make comment there.
The proposed council tax increase this year is £5 per household, the maximum allowed by the Government. This means a Band D property would increase in April this year from £149.12 to £154.12.
Although the collecting agent for Council Tax, the District Council only receives 7.5% of Council Tax paid by residents. Warwickshire County Council receives 76.6%, the Police 12.6% and Towns/Parishes 3.3%. This means the District Council only receives just under 8p of every £1 paid in Council Tax to provide services.
Budget background information
The budget has been prepared with the expectation that service costs and income will recover to a position more comparable to times before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council has, however, continued to budget for the possible ongoing effects or repercussions into 2022/23. This may include changed behaviour in domestic tourism that results in the reduction of car park income or reduced income receipts in planning, building control or land charges as the economy recovers during a time of increased inflation and interest rates.
Inflation is running above the Government's target and will prove to be a major pressure on both contracted service and employee budgets. Whilst the budget contains an inflation allowance of 4% for contracts in 2022/23, if it doesn't peak as predicted and return to more desirable level in a relatively short timeframe, this will generate additional budgetary pressure across the duration of Medium Term Financial Strategy.
Provision has been made within the 2022/23 budget to fund:
Seven additional Revenue Growth items have been included and financed within the strategy totalling £372k. There are also six capital growth items, five relating to immediate ICT issues totalling £470k and one for Venture house, £20k. These have been financed from the Earmarked Reserve, Revenue Funding of Capital Expenditure.
In addition, £317.5k has been released from Earmarked Reserves to cover costs associated with Planning Policy and financing the Core Strategy.
Government funding has been confirmed for one year only and is broadly in line with 2021/22 figures. Beyond 2022/23 the future level funding is unknown. This is reflected in a significantly reduced budget for Government support.
A full Spending Review is anticipated during 2022/23; therefore the implications on funding for 2023/24 and beyond are unknown.
Increased Revenue and Reduced Costs
A Council Tax increase of £5 per household, the maximum allowed by the Government, will be proposed - meaning a Band D property would increase in April this year from £149.12 to £154.12.
The garden waste service has proved popular. The additional income this has generated has been included within the budget helping in part to offset additional costs for the recycling transitional arrangements until the new Materials Recycling Facility in Coventry is fully operational.
A Joint Management Team with Warwick District Council (WDC) has been implemented and the savings have been incorporated within the budget. Joint working arrangements with WDC are currently estimated to return savings in the order of £1.275m over the next five years.
Over the duration of the five year Medium Term Financial Strategy, the General Reserve level decreases from £9.38m to £2.55m with net income and expenditure reducing by year five to a more manageable £60k deficit.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575