Agenda item

2024/25 Budget Strategy and Medium Term Financial Plan

To consider the report of the Director Finance.




RECOMMENDED that Council note the contents of the report and approve the proposals to establish a balanced Revenue Budget and Capital Programme.


Reason for Decision: As set out in the report.






The Executive received the strategic overview report for the budgetary position for the 2024/25 financial year and beyond. The report included the likely level of available resources, the known demand for resources and proposals to ensure that a balanced budget was achieved. Members were advised that the Council was

required to set a balanced budget and Council Tax prior to the start of the financial year.


Particular reference was made to:-


·         The Local Government Provisional Finance Settlement used the same principle as the previous year, and Exeter City Council had received the funding guarantee grant which totalled £1.173 million to reach the minimum allowed increase.

·         The New Homes Bonus settlement payment was £485,000 for 2024/25, which was for one year only, and was a reduction from the previous year of £672,000.

·         There had been no significant changes to Business Rates.

·         The Council Tax referendum principles were set at the higher of a less than 3% or a £5 increase for district councils. For Exeter, the budget strategy for next year assumed a council tax increase of 2.99% along with the estimated surplus on the collection fund of £127,014 and an increase in the tax base would raise an extra £384,393.

·         Other budgetary assumptions outlined in the report highlighted the challenges faced in relation to inflation.

·         The Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP) had remained static for most of the year, however, there would be a need to identify a further £2.8 million of savings to balance the budget in 2025/26.

·         The General Fund Capital Programme was focussed on schemes brought forward from the current financial year into the new financial year. This was due to being unable to undertake further borrowing and the only exception was in financing new IT projects.


Councillor Moore, as an opposition group leader, enquired on when the programme could become a critical issue and would the priorities and proposed cuts over the next three years be made available to residents and businesses in Exeter.


Councillor Jobson, as an opposition group leader, thanked the Director Finance for the detailed report.


Councillor M. Mitchell, as an opposition group leader, enquired on the resources for the medium-term strategy after 2027/28 and if it would be reviewed again in relation to government decisions. He also enquired on how the £1.7 million borrowing would be paid to improve car parks.


Executive Members debated the report and made the following points:-


·         would the new homes bonus likely to disappear in future years;

·         Exeter, had a lower Council Tax amount, but was able to deliver key services to residents;

·         could the 0% general inflation figure in the report be explained; and

·         would there be an opportunity to bid for money in relation to the schemes listed in Appendix 3 of the report?


The Director Finance in responding the questions and points raised advised that:-


·         the government had announced the end of the new homes bonus in 2019 after implementing the business rate review and the reason it was lower than in previous years was that less houses this year had been built this year;

·         the general inflation rate of 0% was used by Finance Directors to help keep costs down; and

·         the Council ensured it maintained a sensible approach to borrowing which was built into the MTFP, but any opportunities to bid for funding would be sought, to identify and generate capital receipts


RECOMMENDED that Council note the contents of the report and approve the proposals to establish a balanced Revenue Budget and Capital Programme.


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