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Agenda item

2023/24 First Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy


To provide an update on the developing budget for 2022/23



That the report be noted and the Committee submits comments to Cabinet as it wishes.


The Chair welcomed the Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Dan Levy, and the Chief Finance Officer, Elizabeth Griffiths, who introduced the Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy report.

The Chief Finance Officer explained to the Committee that the budget had been hit by inflation and the expectation that government funding would be cut. West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) was fortunate to have reserves that could assist the funding gap for the next year, however the Council needed to be aware that reserves would not assist future years, which will be critical times ahead.

The Chair asked the Committee to focus on feedback comments to the Cabinet, this was the initial draft report that would return to the Committee for further scrutiny.

The Committee discussed the report at length, concluding with the following comments for Cabinet:

·         Clarity on the role of Head of Commercial to include clear key deliverables

·         Concerns about the failing Leisure Services contract, and the reality of the lack of management fee income

·         Concerns about the number of growth posts (Annex C)

·         WODC Publica roles, could some these roles be shared roles with other Councils, so WODC could have an income?

·         Local Plan extra £250,000, more detail required what the additional funding is for

·         Any items in the budget not spent, other items may have been deleted to allow these items to be budgeted, therefore everything needs to be justified with extra care

·         New Homes Bonus government funding may disappear

·         Investments - more transparency

·         Potential Council Tax and Business Rates increases

·         Added “Forecast spend this year” column on the Charts in the report on page 11 (Quarterly reports do have the forecast)

Councillors wanted to know when would the Council know about the government funding, the Deputy Chief Finance Officer, Georgina Dyer confirmed that they were expecting detail on government funding 21 December 2022.


Resolved that the Committee commented on the report and acknowledged that the state of the budget was serious.

The Chair announced that the next item that would be considered at the Committee would be Agenda item 9 – Finance Performance, followed by Agenda Item 7, then 6.

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