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Agenda and minutes
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Venue: Multi-Locational Meeting - Penallta House and Via Microsoft Teams. View directions
Contact: Jo Thomas
Recording, Filming And Voting Arrangements.
The Chair reminded those present that the
meeting was being live-streamed and recorded and would be made available
following the meeting via the Council’s website – Click Here to View. Members were advised that voting on decisions
would be taken via Microsoft Forms.
Apologies For Absence.
Apologies for absence were received from
Councillors D. Cushing, D.T. Davies, N. Dix,
C. Elsbury, K. Etheridge, J. Fussell, D.C. Harse, A. Leonard,
J. Jones, J. Rao, J. Reed,
J. Sadler, J. Scriven, S. Skivens,
J. Taylor, C. Thomas and W. Williams.
Declarations of Interest.
Councillors and Officers are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and/or prejudicial interest(s) in respect of any item of business on this agenda in accordance with the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Code of Conduct for both Councillors and Officers.
Cuss sought clarification on whether he needed to declare an interest in
relation to the draft proposals around community centres funding, as he is a
committee member of three community centres.
It was confirmed that as no decision was being taken at the meeting,
Councillor Cuss could fully participate in the proceedings, although he
might wish to raise the query when the
final budget proposals are presented to Council to be voted upon by Members.
There were no declarations of interest received at the commencement or
during the course of the meeting.
The Cabinet Member for Finance and
Performance presented the report, which asked the
Joint Scrutiny Committee to consider and comment upon the draft budget
proposals for the 2023/24 financial year as part of the consultation process
prior to a final decision by Council on 23rd February 2023. It was noted that the Draft Budget Proposals
for 2023/24 had been presented to the meeting of Cabinet on 18th January 2023.
The report provided details of draft budget proposals based
on the Welsh Government (WG) Provisional Local Government Financial Settlement
for 2023/24. The report also provided details of a range of cost and service
pressures that require funding, details of proposed savings and the use of
reserves, along with a proposed increase of 7.90% in Council Tax to enable the
Council to set a balanced budget for the 2023/24 financial year. An updated indicative Medium-Term Financial
Plan (MTFP) was also appended to the report showing a potential savings
requirement of £48.047m for the two-year period 2024/25 to 2025/26.
In cash terms, the 6.9% increase in the Provisional
Settlement for Caerphilly CBC
provides additional funding of £22.152m for 2023/24, which
is of course welcomed, but is well below the current unprecedented levels of
inflation and the Council faces cost pressures totalling £55.771m for 2023/24
alone through a combination of pay and non-pay inflationary pressures and a
range of inescapable service pressures.
Whilst the proposals in the report present a balanced financial position
for 2023/24, a significant element of this is being achieved through one-off
measures including £6.862m of temporary savings and £15.051m through the use of
reserves. These temporary one-off measures totalling £29.913m will only support
the budget for 2023/24, but they do provide some essential breathing space to
identify, agree and implement permanent savings. The 2024/25 financial year will be a
significant challenge for the Council and it is vital that an early start is
made to identify proposals to address the financial shortfall.
The draft budget proposals also include a proposed increase
of 7.9% in Council Tax for the 2023/24 financial year, which will result in a
Band C annual increase of £99.06 or weekly increase of £1.91. It was emphasised that even with this level
of increase, Caerphilly Council is likely to have the second lowest level of
Council Tax in the whole of Wales.
Due to the unprecedented levels of inflation, the current economic outlook, and the range of temporary measures that are proposed for the 2024 2324 financial year, it is clear that the Council will continue to face significant challenges moving forward. With this in mind, the Medium-Term Financial Plan has been updated based on a range of assumptions, resulting in a potential savings requirement of £48.047m for the two-year period 2024/25 to 2025/26. Given the scale of the challenges being faced, a salami-slicing approach to services is not sustainable or appropriate, especially when the demands upon services are far higher than ever. To ensure that the needs of communities are met by operating with reduced finances, ... view the full minutes text for item 3.