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Budget consultation

Budget consultation 2022/23 – 2023/24

Walsall Council, like all councils, is legally required to set a balanced budget. Since 2010 funding to all councils from central government has been greatly reduced. Over the last 11 years Walsall Council alone has reduced its spending by c£230 million up to and including 2021/22, and needs to save a further c£20m to be able to balance the budget in 2022/23. 

There is a strong medium-term financial strategy in place. The budget is reviewed and refreshed annually following detailed consideration of how to allocate available money to best serve the needs of our residents and communities.

At Full Council on 25 February 2021, Councillors discussed the authority’s 3-year financial plan up to and including 2023/24 and approved the Budget and Council Tax for 2021/22 (agenda item 9b). This means the Council has been able to meet its legal requirement to set a balanced budget or 2021/22. This included a breakdown of how the budget will be distributed across services within the total amount available, noting that indicative plans for 2022/23 and 2023/24 will be reviewed alongside the council’s transformation programme. 

Cabinet on 20 October 2021 received an update to budget plans for 2022/23 to 2025/26 (agenda item 9) which are currently being reviewed. Cabinet will recommend the final 2022/23 budget and future year’s plans on 9 February 2022 for approval by Council on 24 February 2022.

Draft budget proposals

The 20 October Cabinet report - Draft Revenue Budget and Draft Capital Programme 2022/23 – 2025/26 includes 6 policy proposals which were consulted on as part of the 2021/22 budget. All were subsequently approved and therefore not included in this consultation.

There are 62 operational proposals which identify savings to be made through changes such as staffing restructures, the use of new technology and new ways of working. Most operational proposals do not impact directly on the public as the changes are 'behind the scenes'. Operational proposals are savings that the service can decide to implement and they do not require Cabinet approval or formal consultation, however during November and December 2021 we invited residents, businesses and community and voluntaty organisations to have their say.

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Consultation on council tax precept for adult social care and general increase in council tax - now closed

In 2015 the government introduced the Adult Social Care Precept, which allowed councils with adult social care responsibilities to increase their share of council tax by up to an extra 2%. In 2016 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that for the 3 years from 2017/18 to 2019/20 councils would be allowed to further increase the precept by up to 3% in any given year, but no more than 6% in total over those years.  This was then extended by a further 2% for 2020/21 and 3% for 2021/22.

As part of the Spending Review on 27 October 2021, Government set a precept limit of 1% for 2022/23. This precept is ring fenced to spend on supporting Adult Social Care, recognising that local authorities are experiencing increased demographic pressures in supporting an ever-increasing elderly population. 

Draft plans for 2022/23 include a general increase of 1.99%, and we are now considering whether to include a 1% precept for adult social care.

Should Cabinet recommend to Council the 1% additional increase in council tax from the adult social care precept, this would be ring fenced to adult social care. A 1% increase would generate c£1.3m to support pressures within the service, therefore the rest has to be funded from other sources, including efficiencies in services.

Most properties in Walsall (67.54%) are in council tax bands A or B, as shown in the table below. 

Table 1: Increase in council tax of 1.99% by council tax band

Band

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

Number of houses in the borough

50,804

27,126

18,417

10,335

5,567

2,381

828

51

Current charge 2021/22

£1,247.91

£1,455.90

£1,663.88

£1,871.87

£2,287.84

£2,703.81

£3,119.78

£3,743.73

New charge 2022/23

£1,272.74

£1,484.87

£1,696.99

£1,909.12

£2,333.37

£2,757.62

£3,181.86

£3,818.23

Annual increase

£24.83

£28.97

£33.11

£37.25

£45.53

£53.81

£62.08

£74.50

Weekly increase

£0.48

£0.56

£0.64

£0.71

£0.87

£1.03

£1.19

£1.43

Daily increase

£0.07

£0.08

£0.09

£0.10

£0.12

£0.15

£0.17

£0.20
Table 2: Increase in council tax of 2.99% (inclusive of 1% for Adult Social Care) by council tax band
Band A B C D E F G H
New charge 2022/23 £1,285.22 £1,499.43 £1,713.63 £1,927.84 £2,356.25 £2,784.65 £3,213.06 £3,855.67
Annual increase £37.31 £43.53 £49.75 £55.97 £68.41 £80.84 £93.28 £111.94
Weekly increase £0.72 £0.83 £0.95 £1.07 £1.31 £1.55 £1.79 £2.15
Daily increase £0.10 £0.12 £0.14 £0.15 £0.19 £0.22 £0.26 £0.31

No formal decision will be made on the general increase in council tax of 1.99%, and 1% adult social care precept until the final budget is approved by Council on 24 February 2022 and feedback has been sought through the consultation that was conducted during November and December 2021.

Have your say on the budget - now closed

Our online survey allowed anyone to comment on individual budget proposals, increases in council tax and the budget in general. In line with our statutory duty we are also consulted Non Domestic Rate Payers (businesses and the voluntary sector). Alternative ways to give feedback were also offered. 

The consultation closed at midnight on 31 December 2021. Results will be reported to Cabinet in January 2022.

Budget setting timeline

  • Public and statutory consultation on draft proposals mid November – 31 December 2021
  • Scrutiny Committees receive the draft revenue and capital budget proposals from 1 November 2021 with feedback to Cabinet on 15 December 2021
  • Cabinet on 15 December 2021 - Autumn Budget and Spending Review and known impact on our medium term financial outlook and feedback from Scrutiny Committees
  • Budget briefings for political groups and independent members, as required
  • Council tax base to be approved by the s151 Officer by January 2022
  • Receipt of the final settlement late January / early February 2022
  • Recommendation of the final budget by Cabinet on 9 February 2022
  • Council set the final budget envelope (statutory determinations) and council tax on 24 February 2022

The council's vision, purpose, values and priorities: Our Corporate Plan 2021-22

Walsall Council as a local authority has a statutory duty to deliver specific services within the borough boundaries for all people and communities in Walsall. The duty on Walsall Council includes a huge range of services from social services to planning applications and from the collection of waste to the collection of council tax and non-domestic rates. Whilst the council must fulfil its statutory duties, it does so in the service of and by working with individuals and all communities to support the most vulnerable, and provide the environment and opportunities for all people and communities to fulfil their potential.

Increasingly the austerity measures affecting the whole country are impacting on the council and in these increasingly challenging times it is more important than ever that there is a clear purpose that drives the way the council works and what the council delivers.

Ultimately, the council exists to serve the people and communities of Walsall, by representing and working with them to protect and improve the quality of life for all, particularly the most vulnerable. Read more about the council's vision, purpose, values and priorities in the Corporate Plan 2021-2022.

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