That the Executive, after considering comments from the Policy Overview & Scrutiny Committee, recommends to Council to:
1. agree a £5 increase in Waverley’s Band D Council Tax Charge for 2022/23 with resultant increases to the other council tax bands;
2. agree to continue the Council’s existing Council Tax Support Scheme at the current levels;
3. agree to extend Waverley’s council tax hardship fund to help those council taxpayers most financially affected by the pandemic, as set out in this report, with the final scheme details and criteria delegated to the S151 Officer in consultation with the Finance Portfolio Holder;
4. agree to make no change to Fees and Charges for 2022/23 except for those proposed in Annexe 4, including the new approach for planning pre-application fees;
5. approve the General Fund Budget for 2022/23 as summarised in Annexe 2, incorporating the baseline net service cost variations included at Annexe 1 and Annexe 3;
6. approve the General Fund Capital Programme as detailed in Annexe 5; and
7. approve the specific use of reserves to mitigate the Covid-19 uncertainty and other emerging economic risks including inflation; the estimated expected reduction in Retained Business Rates and New Homes Bonus funding over the Medium-Term Finance Plan period, and the other reserve movements as set out in Annexe 6.
Reason: The General Fund Budget is a major decision for the Council and setting a balanced budget is a statutory requirement. Scrutiny of these MTFP and Budget proposals demonstrate transparency and good governance. As a result of the sudden and unexpected Covid-19 impact, the Council had to act quickly in mid-2020 to take steps to address the significant projected net General Fund Budget shortfall so that the Council can continue to function. A revised budget for 2020/21 was set in August 2020 and the medium-term financial projections were updated in February 2021 alongside the budget setting report for 2021/22. Despite a very welcome - but one-off - respite in 2022/23 from the continuing decline in central funding, the latest MTFP for the subsequent years ending 2025/26 continues to project future financial pressures, and opportunities, to enable the Council to take action to ensure sufficient funding is in place to deliver services.
[This matter is recommended to Council for decision and is not subject to the call-in procedure.]