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APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE / SUBSTITUTION
30.1 Apologies were received from Councillor Grandon.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
31.1 None declared.
TO RECEIVE NOTIFICATION OF PETITIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COUNCIL'S PETITION SCHEME
32.1 None received.
QUESTIONS BY THE PUBLIC
To consider questions from and provide answer to members of the public on any matter in relation to which the Committee has powers or duties and of which due notice has been given in accordance with the Committee and Sub-Committee Procedure Rules.
33.1 None received.
QUESTIONS BY COUNCILLORS
To consider questions from and provide answer to Councillors on any matter in relation to which the Committee has powers or duties and of which due notice has been given in accordance with the Committee and Sub-Committee Procedure Rules.
34.1 None received.
35.1 Councillor Busby – Cabinet Member for Finance – introduced the report to the Committee outlining before Members the current financial situation for Babergh Council and that the Committee would be asked to review the assumptions made for the 2023/24 General Fund and Housing Revenue Account.
35.2 The Corporate Manager for Finance, Commissioning and Procurement presented the report to the Committee outlining before Members the 2023/24 General Fund Forecast carried out in February 2022, the current financial position of the 2022/23 General Fund, the assumed General Fund 2023/24 costs (including employee costs, contracts, sales, fees and charges, and interest) and funding (including Council Tax, business rates, and Central Government Grants), and the total draft funding gap.
35.3 Councillor Barrett questioned whether the 2022/23 Pay Award was the only employee salary increase actioned this year and the reasons for an assumed 4% Pay Award increase next year. The Corporate Manager for Finance, Commissioning and Procurement confirmed that this was the only salary increase issued this year and that the 4% assumption had been determined through discussions with other Suffolk authorities.
35.4 Councillor Barrett queried the pensions costs rising to 26% and removing the lump sum. The Corporate Manager for Finance, Commissioning and Procurement responded that the current contribution per employee equates to 23% and accumulates a lump sum and that, following discussion with Suffolk County Council, in an aim to decrease budget deficit this had been increased to 26%.
35.5 Councillor Lindsay questioned how the £500,000 for the Pay Review was assumed. The Corporate Manager for Finance, Commissioning and Procurement responded that the £500,000 was a very broad estimate of the potential cost and that this was a “middle of the road” value.
35.6 Councillor Busby questioned what the assumptions were for the cost of gas beyond the fixed term contract ending in September 2023. The Corporate Manager for Finance, Commissioning and Procurement responded that this was continuously being reviewed and that more accurate and detailed assumptions and pressures would be detailed before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in January 2023.
35.7 Councillor Lindsay queried what benefits we received from contributing to the refuse contract and how often this contract is reviewed and renewed. The Director for Economic Growth and Climate Change responded that there are benefits from the economies of scale that come from bulk purchasing and that negotiations for the current refuse contract are still yet to be finalised.
35.8 Councillor Lindsay questioned if there would be any new borrowing in the 2023/24 financial year. The Corporate Manager for Finance, Commissioning and Procurement responded that this would be looked into further when presenting the pressures and savings for the 2023/24 General Fund for Overview and Scrutiny in January 2023.
35.9 Councillor Barrett questioned if we would be able to charge for garden and trade waste in the future. The Corporate Manager for Finance, Commissioning and Procurement responded that the contents of the upcoming Recycling and Waste Strategy did not impact the General Fund for 2023/24.
35.10 Councillor Barrett questioned ... view the full minutes text for item 35.