Agenda item



The Executive Board considered a report which brought together the latest proposals for the Revenue Budget 2021/2022, provided indicative figures for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 financial years and summarised the latest budgetary position giving an update on the budget validation, spending pressures, the Welsh Government provisional settlement and responses received to the budget consultation.


The Executive Board Member for Resources outlined to the Board a number of factors influencing the budget, including the fact the final settlement from the Welsh Government would not be received until the 2nd March 2021. Whilst having regard to the late announcement of the final settlement, he advised that key components of the budget assumptions and allocations had been reviewed and had provided some increased headroom to enable the authority to revisit some of the original budget proposals. 


The Executive Board Member for Resources advised that full details of the provisional settlement, included within the report, detailed that Local Government funding on an all Wales basis had increased by an average of 3.8% on the 2020/21 settlement, with Carmarthenshire’s allocation being 3.8% (£10.466m). Although that settlement had enabled the authority to allocate funding in its budget for a significant amount of inflationary and unavoidable pressures, it still required savings to be made and while the initial draft budget had included a significant value of savings to be deferred for future years, due to the impact of covid, it had accommodated the changes within the 2021/22 budget, but there would still be a need to continue to deliver further significant changes over future years 


The Executive Board Member referred to the final settlement from Welsh government, due to be announced on the 2nd March 2021, and advised that the report sought authority for the Director of Corporate Services in liaison with the Leader, Chief Executive and the Executive Board Member for Resources to make any necessary adjustments to the Budget Strategy prior to County Council on the 3rd March 2020. The Director of Corporate Services had however, made some adjustments to some of the other figures within the report, as part of the normal routine as clearer information became available, with current total validation adding some £10m to the budget. The most significant validation related to pay, which had allowed for 2.5% each year.  That, however, did not apply to teachers, which were covered by separate pay arrangements within the Welsh Government’s remit with the 2020 award representing a 3.1% increase, with the part year effect being a consistent assumption of 2.5% for any future awards, which was recognised as a key risk to the budget


The Executive Board Member reminded the Board that based on the provisional budget settlement, changes to some of the key assumptions around future pay awards and the impact of delays in the capital programme there was some scope to make changes to the strategy, and it had previously agreed to reduce the Council tax increase for 2021/22 to 4.48%, thereby providing a sum of £958k to respond to the budget consultation. He therefore proposed the following changes to the budget strategy:-


·       To remove both the gulley cleansing and road sweeping proposals;

·       To reduce the highways surface dressing proposal from £300k to £100k;

·       Provide funding of £75k for the TrueCall service;

·       Provide £50k to provide increased education department capacity to deliver improved financial and governance support as part of the department’s responsibility for the overall schools system.


The Executive Board Member advised that having proposed the above changes, sufficient funding was available to further cap the council tax increase to 3.95% for 2021-22. Those proposals, if adopted, would present a fair and balanced budget to the Council.






That the Budget Strategy for 2021/22, be approved;


That the Band D Council Tax for 2021/22 be set at £1,368.55 (an increase of 3.95% for 2021/22);


That the £958k recurrent funding available balance be allocated, as detailed above;


That the provisional Medium Term Financial Plan be approved as a basis for future years financial planning


That the Director of Corporate Services, in consultation with the Chief Executive, Leader and Executive Board Member for Resources, be delegated authority to make any amendment necessary as a consequence of the Welsh Government final settlement due on the 2nd March 2021.


Supporting documents: