Decision details

2024/25 General Fund Budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No



Following consideration of the officer report, appendices including individual and cumulative impact assessment and discussion the Executive:


a)    Considered the feedback on the public consultation set out in Appendix 8.

b)    Considered the comments from the five business sector engagement events set out in Appendix 8.

c)     Considered and endorsed the comments from Scrutiny Committee Corporate & Resources on the budget proposals.

d)    Noted the that a formal request has been submitted to DLUHC for Exceptional Financial Support in the form a Capitalisation Direction to balance the budget, an additional 5% in council tax (request subsequently refused) and £40m for the ‘re-sizing’ of the council and associated redundancy costs and that as part of this process there will an external assurance review by CIPFA.

e)    Noted that the conclusions of the Council’s Section 151 Officer (Chief Finance Officer) confirming the robustness of the budget estimates and the adequacy of the level of reserves, will be a separate report to Council.

f)      The Executive agreed the removal of savings proposals: CMS015 RNLI, CAP007 Crossing Patrols; SWL006 Democratic process; SWL007 Committee size; SWL008 Committee meeting locations; SWL012 Members allowances; and CAP -32 Reductions to highways maintenance. Resulting in a total change of £260,000.

g)    The Executive agreed the following updates/revisions:

Communities Service Area - wording and savings type amendments to: CMS021 overnight locking of Wellington, Blenheim and Vivary Parks; CMS026 Taunton Visitor Information Centre; and CMS041 Parish Ranger Scheme. Resulting in no financial changes.

Climate and Place Service Area – new savings: Contractual changes related to the guaranteed minimum annual tonnage for residual waste in Somerset to our Contractor (Viridor) or seeking alternative EfW disposal routes above the current minimum annual tonnage floor; and Funding of one Grade 10 post and one Grade 7 post using time-limited external Levelling up front grant provided by DHLUC to support us in delivering LUF schemes – resulting in a combined £243,000 saving, And: the removal of CAP004 Funding for Community Rail Partnership; a reduction in CAP027 transport policy costs; the deferral until 2025/26 of CAP032 reduction in highways maintenance and devolution of service (including removing savings regarding gully emptying, deferring savings regarding reducing reactive budgets for hedge trimming, noxious weeds treatment, gully emptying, ditches and grips and reduced planned grass-cutting; and a amendment of the title (wording only) of CAP010 to Make Savings from the Core Contract for Household Waste Recycling Centre. In total resulting in a savings reduction of £243,000.


Furthermore the Executive agreed to recommend to full Council approve:


Revenue Budget


a.    Note the conclusions of the Council’s Section 151 Officer (Chief Finance Officer) in his Section 25 report confirming the robustness of the budget estimates and the adequacy of the level of reserves for 2024/25 and his warning about the 2025/26 financial year.

b.    Approves the additional funding for pressures requirements set out in Appendix 6.

c.     Approves the savings and income generation plans outlined in Appendix 7, considering the detailed Equalities Impact Assessments

d.    Notes the MTFP Cumulative Impact Assessment in Appendix 15

e.    Approves the General Fund net revenue budget for 2024/25 of £601.775m and the individual service budgets for 2024/25 as outlined in Appendix 2.

f.      Notes that in order to balance the 2024/25 budget, that revenue spend will be capitalised in accordance with the Capitalisation Directive from DLUHC of £36.9m

g.    The delegation of any amendments within the final Government Financial Settlement and the final Business Rates amendments to the Executive Director of Resources and Corporate Services (Section 151 Officer) in consultation with the Leader of the Council. 


a.      Notes that the level of General Reserves is maintained within the risk based assessment range of £30m minimum to £60m maximum level.

b.    Approves that £36.8m from the Medium-Term Financial Plan Support Reserve is used to help balance the 2024/25 budget.

c.     Notes the overall estimated position of Earmarked Reserves outlined in Table 14 and the proposed use of reserves detailed in Appendix 10 which includes the estimated use of Earmarked Reserves during the year.

Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG)

a.    Note the forecast spending on the Dedicated Schools Grant is forecast to exceed the funding provided by government by £23.4m in 2024/25 and is projected to reach a cumulative deficit of £96.2m by 31 March 2026.

b.  Notes the overall Dedicated Schools Grant allocation of £533.3m for 2024/25 and breakdown by block as set out in Appendix 12.

Council Tax

a.   Approves the calculations for determining the Council Tax requirement for the year 2024/25 in accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as set out in the Council Tax Resolution in Appendix 16.

b.    Agree to continue the Council Tax precept of £14.65, included in the overall band D Council Tax for the shadow Somerset Rivers Authority (representing no increase). This results in a Council Tax Requirement of £3,058,900 for the Somerset Rivers Authority.

c.     Approves the Council increase the Council Tax for a band D property for Somerset Council, including the Somerset Rivers Authority Precept, by £82.14 for 2024/25, giving a band D Council Tax of £1,728.18 per year,

i. The general band D Council Tax by 2.99%, £49.22, the maximum permitted without a referendum; and

ii. The Adult Social Care Precept by 2.00%, £32.92.

d.    Approves a Special Expenses rate of £230,977 as detailed in Appendix 5.

e.    Approves the precept requirement of £361,071,003 (including Special Expenses Rate) £360,840,026 (excluding Special Expenses Rates).

f.      Approves the formal Council Tax resolution, in Appendix 16a, which incorporates the precepts of all the precepting bodies.

Note – all reference to appendices above relate to the Full Council papers for 20 February 2024.

Publication date: 13/02/2024

Date of decision: 07/02/2024

Decided at meeting: 07/02/2024 - Executive

Accompanying Documents: