Councillors to consider ways to plug budget deficit

Mansfield District Council’s Cabinet is due to consider how the council will plug a £1.3m gap in its budget for 2022/23.

Cllr Craig Whitby, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Finance, will present a report for his fellow Cabinet members to consider on 1 November.

The document details the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) which sets out the council’s current and likely financial position over the next three years from April 2022. The deficit results from increased expenditure in response to coronavirus coupled with a substantial loss of income from fees and charges and lower than expected collection rates for both Council Tax and Business Rates. 

Cllr Whitby will propose that the shortfall is made up from:

  • 1.99% increase in the district council’s portion of Council Tax, which would provide an additional £115,000.
  • use of £300,000 in earmarked reserves.
  • 50% reduction in Member allowances to provide an extra £18,000.
  • 10% reduction in special responsibility payments to provide £20,000. This is a payment made for specific roles such as Cabinet members, committee chairs and vice-chairs.
  • Additional increase in fees and charges to provide an extra £104,000.

The proposed increase would mean those living in Band A properties would pay a total of £132.40 for the year (up from £129.81 in 2021/22) for all the services provided by Mansfield District Council. 

The figures in the report are based on Government grants remaining at the current level of £677,000. This is expected to be confirmed as part of the Government’s Autumn Statement which is due to be announced on 27 October.   

Cllr Whitby said: “It is not easy to put forward a proposal to increase Council Tax when we know the financial impact that coronavirus has had on so many people in our district.

“The Government currently allows local authorities to increase Council Tax by 3%, or by £5 on a Band D equivalent, whichever is higher, before having to hold a referendum. We don’t wish to take advantage of that full limit and propose a smaller increase of 1.99%.

“This would bring in an extra £115,000 to help maintain vital council services and support the council’s commitment to deliver high quality services and to make the district a place where people want to live, work and visit.

“For the vast majority of our residents, who live in Band A properties, it means they would pay an extra £2.59 for the whole year.

“It’s important to remember that the district council's share of the Council Tax bill is about 10% with the remaining 90% that residents pay going to Nottinghamshire County Council and other county services, such as the police and fire service.”

Work is currently on-going to either reduce the council’s expenditure, through a reduction in its establishment and ongoing transformation projects, or generate additional income. In order to address the predicted deficit for the 2022/23 financial year, work will be undertaken to review all the services provided by the council. This will focus on whether or not the service will continue to be provided, and where it is deemed that the service is still required, an assessment as to the level of service provided will be undertaken.

The budget proposals will be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Corporate) on 2 November. The committee will present feedback to Cabinet at a meeting on 13 December before Cabinet makes recommendations to Full Council on 2 February 2022 for the approval of the budgets and level of Council Tax to be set for 2022/23.
All final decisions will be made in line with Mansfield District Council’s corporate priorities of Growth, Aspiration, Wellbeing and Place and will form a key part of the Making Mansfield Towards 2030 strategy.

Published: October 24th 2021