Issue - meetings

Draft Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and General Fund Budget 2024-25

Meeting: 14/12/2023 - Executive (Item 7)

7 Draft Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and General Fund Budget 2024-25 EXE23-059 pdf icon PDF 295 KB

Reporting Person – Eugene Walker

Additional documents:


Councillor Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Finance, introduced the report which set out the strategic financial approach that the Council needed to take to deliver the Improvement and Recovery Plan (IRP) and respond to the Council’s serious financial position whilst continuing to meet its statutory duties.  The Portfolio Holder explained that the approach included the development of a debt reduction plan and asset disposal strategy, and the commitment to a £12m savings target.  The Executive was informed that progress continued to be slowed by poor data, inadequate systems and insufficient capacity, and the Executive welcomed that Commissioners had supported additional resources in the finance team.  Benchmarking was being undertaken with neighbouring councils to inform future service provision.

The Portfolio Holder provided an update on the Council’s previously agreed savings target of £12m.  The worsening budget gap due to the Council’s historic investments was noted, however the Portfolio Holder confirmed that the savings target of £12m had not increased.  The Executive was advised that Commissioners were supportive of addressing the broadening gap through the debt reduction plans.

Discussion ensued on the savings proposals and consultation.  Following the public consultation, Officers and Members had worked on a detailed options analysis for Pool in the Park which had indicated that the option to increase fees and charges was potentially a viable recommendation in the final budget report to Council in February 2024 to keep the Pool open.  The Executive thanked Officers and Members, in particular the Portfolio Holder for Leisure, and was grateful to the Woking Pool Community Action Taskforce and user groups for engaging with the Council to find solutions. 

Attention was drawn to Council tax and it was noted that although the Council Tax referendum limit for 2024/25 was 3%, other councils subject to intervention had implemented increases above the cap as part of dealing with budget gaps.  The Executive was informed that discussions had started with Commissioners ahead of February Council.

The Executive recognised the significant challenges ahead and difficult decisions such as proposed staff savings and removal of community grant funding.  The Leader was pleased that extensive public and/or service user consultation had been carried out, noting that staff consultation was taking place currently on the proposed staffing structure.  The Finance Working Group was thanked for its work to review service savings.


That  (i)    the updated position on the MTFS be noted, including work on public and staff consultation and more detailed work to update the delivery options and costs of the savings proposed in September 2023;

          (ii)   whilst significant progress has been made on this work, the scale of the challenges mean that the level of savings is at risk and further options still need to be reviewed and presented to Members of Finance Working Group, Overview and Scrutiny Committee and finally to Executive and Full Council in February 2024;

          (iii)  it be noted that following public consultation and further options analysis on Pool in the Park, the option to increase fees and charges is potentially a viable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7