Agenda item

To receive the report of the Finance Manager (S151 Manager)


The Finance Manager (Section 151 Officer) introduced the report, the purpose of which was for Members to consider, formulate and recommend the Budget 2022/23 to Full Council. The Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) indicates the possible extent of the budget and funding shortfall that the Council will face in the future. It is an aid in identifying the extent of service changes that the Council will need to make to achieve a balanced budget in each financial year up to 2026/27. 


A detailed and informative slide presentation was given by the Finance Manager (S151 Officer) highlighting the salient points in the report.


The Finance Manager (S151 Officer) advised that a final settlement email had been received however he had not had the chance to view it in detail.


Councillor James joined the meeting at 10.24am. 


Members were asked for any questions and the following discussions took place.


·         In response to a query, the Finance Manager (S151 Officer) advised of the Central Government scheme to reduce Council Tax bills by £150 in response to the increase in energy bills. TDC would be compensated for the income forgone and the costs associated with administrating the scheme; however, exact details were yet to be confirmed;


·         the Finance Manager (S151 Officer) explained the meaning behind reducing the levels of service for mandatory services and examples were given by both him and the Head of Communities & Place. The Chief Executive advised that, if a working group were to be established following recommendations from Community & Resources Committee to Full Council, then cost reduction could be looked at along with impact on the services. The aim of the working group would be to look at income generation as well as bringing the budgets back into balance;


·         Councillor Hodson expressed her concern to the group on the settlement figure and advised that this had been queried with Sir Geoffrey Cox MP who had agreed to raise with Mr. Michael Gove MP, however a response had not yet been received;


·         the Finance Manager (S151 Officer) advised he had enquired how the figure has been reached but had not had a response and did not expect any change in the settlement figure. He briefly explained two contributory factors, (reduced New Homes Bonus funding and changes to the Council Tax Base)to the decision but advised the methodology to the decision was very complex. Any changes to the figure would only occur if there were any errors within the calculations. The Chief Executive added that he did not think anymore could be done from Full Council and that it was very rare for any retrospective adjustments to be made to the settlement figures. He would chase Sir Geoffrey Cox MP’s office;


·         it was confirmed that the 100% retained from renewables was not new and had been this way since 2013/14;


·         Councillor Pennington declared a personal interest as cabling from Morocco to Webbery would be running through his land. The Finance Manager (S151 Officer) advised energy from this would form part of the National Infrastructure and would not affect the business rates at TDC level;


·         suggestion was made for TDC to consider promoting solar and wind energy. The Chief Executive advised this could be looked at if a working group were established at Full Council;


·         the Finance Manager (S151 Officer) confirmed the Climate Change budget would remain at £10,000.00 and that external funding would probably be needed to deliver the Climate Change agenda;


·         once the settlement bill had been approved in Parliament then it would be a public document;


·         the Chief Executive advised that the Council Tax Support scheme had not been reviewed recently due to the impact of Covid-19 and it was agreed at Full Council to continue as it is for 2022/23. A group had been established to review the scheme for 2023/24;


·         the Finance Manager (S151 Officer) explained how the precepts for Council Tax work and money that TDC receives;


It was proposed by Councillor Cottle-Hunkin, seconded by Councillor Langford that the Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee register their concern that the CSP was unfairly low at 4% under inflation.


(Vote – For 4, Against 7)


Motion was lost.



·         as the concern of the settlement figure had already been challenged with Sir Geoffrey Cox MP it was suggested that it be addressed again, expressing further concern from both the Community & Resources Committee and Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee. It was agreed this would be the most effective way to progress;


·         Councillor Hodson advised of all the hard work that had been carried out to increase TDC’s status and profile. Once a response had been received from Sir Geoffrey Cox MP then it would be reported back to Internal Overview & Scrutiny;


·         The Chair confirmed an email could be sent to Sir Geoffrey Cox MP to express the urgency for this matter to go to the Minister;



It was proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Newton and –




That Members recommend to Full Council


a)     Torridge’s Band D Council Tax for 2022/23 be increased by £5 (2.90%) from £173.66 to £178.66 per year


b)     Torridge’s Net Revenue Budget 2022/23 is £7.983m


c)      The contributions to the Council’s reserves as outlined in paragraph 11.4 are approved.


That members note:


The Chief Finance Officer (s151 Officer) assurance of the robustness of the budget 2022//23 set out in section 13 of the report.


Note the assumptions and forecast applied to develop the MTFS outlined in section 8


Note the risks associated with the Budget 2022/23 and MTFS outlined in section 12


(Vote – For 10, Abstentions 1)



Councillor James advised he had received an email late the night before regarding the settlement and read out paragraphs from the email to the group.

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