Agenda item

Budget Report


The Director of Finance introduced the report which provided an update on the budgets within the remit of the Committee and across all the Policy & Service Committees, in respect of the in-year position and the anticipated pressures for future years that were being considered within the Medium Term Financial Plan.


It was highlighted that there was slippage on the delivery of savings as forecast in Q2, but that the revenue budget forecast was a balanced position for Adult Care & Health and Children, Families & Education directorates which was not a position reflected across the country. The Director of Finance further highlighted that Table 5 in the report outlined the assumed budget gap for future years and detailed the potential difficulties in balancing the budget in those future years, but that there was still very limited information available in relation to the future of local government funding, social care grants and business rates retention.


Members discussed the delivery of the savings and welcomed that 93% of the savings were on track. It was requested that savings continually not delivered be reviewed. A further discussion was had in relation to the assumption that the funding gap for the Birkenhead Commercial District would be met from Wirral Growth Company profits in year where the Director of Finance outlined that this was an assumption and the Committee was not being asked to agree the use of that funding at this point.


It was moved by Councillor Paul Stuart, seconded by Councillor Jeff Green, that the recommendations as detailed in the report be agreed.


An amendment was then moved by Councillor Pat Cleary, seconded by Councillor Jo Bird, that the officer recommendations be agreed with the following two further resolutions:


‘5. Policy and Resources Committee requests the Director of Finance to assess the lessons to be learned from Wirral Council's experience of governance, costs and benefits of Wirral Growth Company and report back with recommendation to Policy & Resources Committee.


6. Policy and Resources Committee requests the Director of Finance to assess the costs and benefits of Birkenhead Commercial District following project close on 31 March 2024, and report back with recommendations to Audit and Risk Management Committee and Policy and Resources Committee.’


Councillors Jean Robinson and Jeff Green left the room due to their interests as Directors of Wirral Growth Company and took no part in the discussion or vote.


Following a brief discussion, the amendment was put to the vote and lost (4:9).


The officer recommendations as detailed in the report were then put to the vote and carried (13:0). It was therefore –


Resolved – That

(1)  the report be noted.

(2)  the indicative resources, pressures and required savings be noted.

(3)  Policy and Services Committees be requested to undertake budget workshops during October to review savings proposals and mitigating actions, with a view to feeding back the outcomes of the workshops to this Committee.


(4)  the Director with portfolio, in consultation with the Finance Sub-Committee, be authorised to undertake any required service consultations that are linked to budget policy options being brought forward, in line with the timetable to enable a budget recommendation in February 2024.

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