Published Friday, 11th November 2022
Reigate & Banstead has now published the Council’s draft budget proposals for 2023-24, for discussion at the Executive Meeting on Thursday 17 November.
Following approval and incorporating any agreed revisions by Executive councillors, we will then consult with residents, businesses and partners on the recommendations in the report, ahead of the final budget decision at the meeting of the Full Council in February 2023.
Ongoing and new financial challenges
The Council has a strong track record of financial management and plans ahead each year for the money it will have available and how best to spend it.
Like all local authorities, we face continuing and new financial pressures due to a combination of factors. These include no central government funding since 2017, the current economic crisis including high-cost inflation, increasing energy costs and some remaining financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of our service review and budget work to meet these financial challenges, we need to reduce costs and increase the amount of income we generate, so that we can continue to deliver our high-quality services efficiently. We also need to continue to meet the aims and objectives of our corporate plan, Reigate & Banstead 2025.
The Council-wide Financial Sustainability Programme, established last year to help fast track our work on financial self-sufficiency, focuses our service and financial planning on four key areas: income generation, use of assets, prioritisation of resources and achieving value for money.
Delivering high quality services and future planning
The Executive report outlines our detailed proposals to manage the budget proactively and what it means for residents, businesses and partners. This includes how we propose to increase some budgets and reduce others by making savings or increasing income from fees and charges.
Leader of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, Cllr Mark Brunt says: “We set a new budget every year and each time we work very hard to make the most of the resources we have. Although we’re faced with ongoing and new pressures on our finances, I am confident that by managing our spending as we propose, we will continue to prioritise and provide the vital services our communities need.
“We are a financially responsible Council and once again have had to make some tough budget decisions to make sure people, places and businesses across our borough continue to thrive. It remains an unpredictable and difficult time and our budget plans aim to manage and maintain our strong financial position. Alongside this draft budget, we will also carry on working to find new sources of income, reduce our costs and invest for the future.”
In preparing the draft budget for 2023-24, our approach has been to:
- focus on making sure that staffing levels meet service delivery needs, this provides opportunities for salary savings in some areas
- review and increase our charges for optional services, such as parking, allotments and garden waste
- identify opportunities to generate increased income from services such as the Harlequin theatre.
However once again we have had to identify budget savings in some areas, including proposed reductions in some of the grants we provide to several of the voluntary and community sector organisations we support.
The budget proposes additional income of £1.186 million and cost savings of £1.725 million, partially offset by unavoidable growth of £1.942 million to staff pay and price increases.
Council Tax is an important source of income for the Council and funds approximately 20% of our annual budget. Budget proposals in the Executive report are based on the assumption that Reigate & Banstead’s 11p in the pound share of the Council Tax bill will increase by an average of £5 per year for band D households. The remainder of the Council Tax we collect is split between Surrey County Council and Surrey Police. The actual level of Council Tax increase next year is awaiting government confirmation in December.
For full details see the Executive report
Clarifying the financial picture and next steps
Once the initial proposals have been discussed and agreed at the Executive Meeting on 17 November, an eight-week public consultation will start on 21 November. Full details on how residents, businesses and partners can share their views will be made available soon.
After confirmation of the supporting assumptions and the Executive’s response to feedback received, the final budget and council tax for 2023/24 will be reported to the Full Council for approval in February next year.