The purpose of the report is for this Committee to consider and recommend its revenue budget for inclusion in the 2022/23 revenue budget, which will be submitted to the Policy and Finance Committee on 10 February 2022. Policy and Finance Committee will consider the overall revenue budget for 2022/23 to make a recommendation to Full Council on 23 February 2022 on the budget to be set and level of Council Tax for the District for 2022/23.
In addition, Committees must consider and recommend their draft capital budget for inclusion in the overall capital programme, which will be submitted to the Policy and Finance Committee on 10 February 2022. Policy and Finance Committee will consider the overall capital programme to make a recommendation to Full Council on 23 February 2022 on the overall capital programme to be set for 2022/23.
[During this item Cllr Walsh declared a Personal Interest as a Member of Littlehampton Town Council]
Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support and Section 151 Officerintroduced this report, reminding Councillors that this was the first year that the Council’s Budget had been produced under the new Committee style of governance. The Committee was provided with a brief reminder of the process in formulating the Budget for 2022/23. The detailed budget papers for this Committee to consider were set out in Appendix A of the report and only contained essential/committed growth items. Members were asked to note that there had been significant pressure on establishment budgets, which assumed a 1.75% pay award this year and a 2.5% pay award for 2022/23, and a 1.25% increase for employer’s National Insurance contributions. The uncommitted growth items for this Committee were included in Appendix B and totalled £545,000. The Capital Programme in Appendix C showed the essential maintenance required for corporate assets, totalling £807,000. The proposed budget for 2022/23 was being presented for the Committee to agree before being considered, as part of the total budget, by the Policy & Finance Committee. Members were reminded of the Budget Briefing to be held on 16 February 2022
Members thanked the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support and Section 151 Officer for the Budget. Support was offered and various points were highlighted by Members, such as Economic Regeneration going from £119,000 to a proposed £271,000 in 2022/23; the Sussex by the Sea Festival; town centre events; additional support for high street recovery; another £150,000 for events.
The Vision document was discussed, and it was noted that perception was that money was not spent on the town centres, and it was hoped that the Vision document would change this perception. It was stated that it was regrettable that the call-for-ideas came before the Vision, as usually it would be the other way round.
Clarification was sought around inflation and how this was being handled, and also the contingency for gas and electric. An answer was provided by the Group Head of Corporate Support and Section 151 Officer and the Interim Chief Executive.
The Sussex by the Sea Festival was discussed, and it was asked where this would take place. The Group Head of Economy said the idea was that it would be held in Littlehampton, and they had been looking for partners to work with. Since the last report had gone to Committee regarding this, the Council had received the Levelling Up Fund money, which would mean significant activity and changes to the infrastructure on the seafront, it therefore needed to be carefully considered so events wouldn’t impact on parking while the changes were taking place.
Councillor Walsh declared a Personal Interest as a Member of Littlehampton Town Council. He asked that any event programmes were done in partnership with the Town Councils, so there was not duplication or overlap. The Group Head of Economy confirmed that events would be planned whist working with partners including Parish and Town Councils.
Several Members expressed that they felt it was an exciting and positive Budget report.
The recommendations were Proposed by Councillor Gunner and Seconded by Councillor Edwards.
1) The 2022/23 Revenue Budget as illustrated in Appendix A of this report be agreed;
2) The 2022/23 list of uncommitted growth items as illustrated in Appendix B of this report be agreed;
3) The 2022/23 Capital Programme as illustrated in Appendix C of this report be agreed
The Committee also
RECOMMEND TO THE POLICY & FINANCE COMMITTEE
1) That the Revenue Budget, list of growth items and Capital Programme for this Committee be included in the overall General Fund Budget when considering the overall budgets on 10 February 2022