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Budget Scrutiny (Repeat Session) 23rd January 2024

8:29 am, Friday, 23rd February 2024 - 2 months ago


Councillors Aisthorpe, Batson, Beasant, Brookes, Farren, Henderson, Holland, Lindley, Parkinson, Patrick, Pettigrew, Sandford, K Swinburn and Wheatley.

Officers in Attendance:

  • Rob Walsh (Chief Executive)
  • Sharon Wroot (Executive Director for Place and Resources)
  • Carolina Borgstrom (Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure)
  • Helen Isaacs (Assistant Chief Executive)
  • Guy Lonsdale ( Assistant Director Finance)
  • Simon Jones (Assistant Director Law and Governance)
  • Anne Marie Matson (Director of Children’s Services)
  • Diane Lee (Director of Public Health)
  • Katie Brown (Director of Adult Social Services)
  • Paul Windley (Democratic and Scrutiny Team Manager)

Also in attendance:

  • Councillor Jackson – Leader of the Council
  • Councillor Shreeve – Portfolio Holder for Health Wellbeing and Adult Social Care
  • Councillor S Swinburn – Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport
  • Councillor Cracknell – Portfolio Holder for Children and Education
  • Councillor Dawkins- Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and the Visitor Economy
  • Councillor Shepherd – Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities
  • Councillor Harness – Portfolio Holder for Finance, Resources and Assets


RESOLVED – That Councillor Brookes be appointed as the Chair for this meeting.



Apologies for absence for this meeting were received from Councillors Croft and Haggis.


                     There were no declarations of interest for this meeting.


Members received a report from the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Resources and Assets outlining how the Council planned to deliver its agreed financial strategy over the coming three-year period.

Councillor Jackson, Leader of the Council, introduced the report and members were  invited to ask any questions on the draft budget, medium-term financial plan, draft business and commissioning plans and the capital programme.

Medium Term Financial Plan

Members enquired about the flexible use of capital receipts and it was suggested that further detail was required on how this funding would be allocated. 

Councillor Jackson reiterated that capital receipts could not be used to prop up the revenue budget.  A large part of the receipts would be utilised for the required restructure of children’s services and transforming the way that services were delivered.

A member enquired about New Homes Bonus funding and its apparent uneven allocation over the three year medium term plan.  Councillor Harness responded that while there was an indication of the total to be received in 2024/25, assumptions had to be made for the next two years.

A member enquired about the overall financial benefit to the council from the purchase of Freshney Place, not including business rates.  He requested a full breakdown of these figures including voids, car parks and any other areas.  He was particularly interested in the differential between income the council received as a third party and as the landlord.  It was agreed that a breakdown of the requested figures would be provided.

A member enquired how much debt had been written down to achieve the proposed £1.8m savings on borrowing costs in 2024/25. It was agreed that further detail would be provided on the write down of debt.

A member referred to the potentially significant human resource implications for Council staff referred to in the report as a result of the financial forecast and enquired whether this meant that there would be a reduction in staffing.

Ms Wroot confirmed that this was not definite and plans were subject to further development.  The report outlined the potential consequence and further human resources advice would be required as and when plans reached fruition.  Councillor Jackson added that the focus of the administration was on transforming the way services were delivered rather than cutting services. 

A member enquired about the rationale for the assumption of growth from new homes that had been factored into the financial plan. 

Councillor Jackson suggested that there was an ageing population in North East Lincolnshire resulting in more smaller households.  Anecdotally he was aware that people were moving into the area as well.  He felt that there was a need to discourage people from commuting into the area and it was important to have the right sort of housing available.

A member noted the reference within the report to the requirement for regular review of the council’s reserves to ensure the council has sufficient capacity to deal with the risks and opportunities it currently faced, and enquired how regular this would be.

Councillor Harness responded that he received regular financial reports and he expected this would be reported to Members on a quarterly basis.

Draft Business Plans


There were no questions raised by members.

Environment and Regulatory Services

A member raised concerns that increases to the charge for green waste collection would see a reduction in the rate of recycling.

Councillor S Swinburn responded that the recycling rate had increased when the fees were increased last year and he hoped that this would be maintained.

Economy and Growth

                     There were no questions raised by members.

Housing Highways and Transport

There were no questions raised by members.

Children And Families

There were no questions raised by members.

Adult Services

There were no questions raised by members.

Public Health

A member noted the reference to other sources of funding that would continue to be accessed, such as tobacco grants and health inequalities funding) and requested further detail.  It was agreed that a written response would be provided.

Capital Programme

There were no questions raised by members.

The Chair noted next steps with the final budget proposals to be considered at a special meeting of Cabinet on 21st February 2024 prior to final decisions at the budget setting meeting of Council on 22nd February 2024.

RESOLVED – That the report be noted, and the minutes of this meeting be included as part of the response to the consultation on the proposals.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting         closed at 6.37 p.m.