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Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy

(Report of the Interim Executive Director Resources)


The Leader of the Council Paul Turner introduced the Interim Executive Director Finance who provided the Committee with a summary of the report to provide further information on the latest Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) forecasts.


The Committee made the following comments/observations and asked the following questions:


1.     Where the assumptions within the report came from and whether a session could be provided to go over where the assumptions come from and what position the Officer felt the Council was currently in?

The Officer confirmed that they work on the base budget that was approved in February, they will then consider any known changes for example, planned increases in National Insurance, pay awards and latest forecast outturns. The Officer clarified that there was further detail in the report which went to Corporate Scrutiny at the end of August around the assumptions and that the budget report could set out the inflation rates which are used. The report contains a central case and a best- and worst-case scenario, of which the central case is the more reasonable but that it is still early stages in the process and subject to policy changes submitted.

2.     The Chair made the observation that for a long time the Council has only dealt with the current situation, reacting to Government changes/initiatives and had not been doing any long-term planning to consider how to secure the long-term future of the Council. The example given by the Chair was the Governments fairer funding review and the retention of Business rates.

The Officer agreed with the Chairs comments in terms of the Government’s funding but highlighted that the Council could start making cuts and savings to balance the five year position that may not actually be necessary if the Government came back with a better settlement than was expected. The Chief Executive confirmed that assumptions are made on best knowledge at the time. They acknowledged that business rate retention is a big issue and that there are only so many things that can be done to mitigate the impact of this and whilst they try and plan long term, it can be difficult after three years. If there were more certainty around if/when changes are going to happen, then the Council could plan from there.

3.     Whether there was a way that a case could be made for the Council to keep anymore of their business rates and introduce more certainty for the Council?

The Officer confirmed that the business rates retention system is governed by the ‘top up and tariff’ process and levy payments, and the distribution of income to the government and preceptors is based on set amounts. Tamworth is currently in a pool with Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. The chief executive confirmed that the Council have lobbied in the past and will continue to do so.

4.     The Chair suggested that it would be a cross party drive could be established to consult with/challenge Government. The leader of the Council acknowledged that the Council was doing a fantastic job with scenario planning and whilst he would support any work Cross Party work to challenge Government but that the external circumstances may make strategic planning difficult.



That the Committee make the following recommendations to Cabinet:




That Cross party write a letter to Government to lobby for a better position for long term strategic planning for the Council.




That the three Scrutiny chairs are invited on to the budget setting group.




(Moved by Councillor D Cook and seconded by Councillor S Doyle)




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