Agenda item

Draft Ten Year Capital Programme, Revenue Budget 2022-23 and medium term financial plan 2022-25


1.          Mr Paul Cooper, the Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance, introduced the Draft Ten Year Capital Programme, Revenue Budget 2022-23 and medium term financial plan 2022-25. Mr Cooper highlighted that these had been drafted within a context of considerable uncertainty and volatility, and that the difficulties in predicting spending on a demand-led budget were intensified against this backdrop. It was said that it was vital, particularly in 2022-23, to limit borrowing to only the absolute essential to meet the Council’s statutory requirements.

It was highlighted that the Council was facing exceptional spending demands for 2022-23. This was attributed to a combination of the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impact of rapidly rising inflation.


2.          Mrs Bell said that Public Health was funded from a specific grant from the Government. This grant for 2022-23 had not been announced at the time of the Cabinet Committee meeting.

The commitment in the Government Spending Review was to maintain the Public Health grant in real terms, enabling local government to invest in prevention and frontline services.

Consequently, there was a high level of uncertainty in the Public Health Draft Budget for 2022-23. Therefore, assumptions had been made including: a 3.1% inflationary increase in the Public Health Grant; that the NHS pay would be fully funded by the increase in the Grant and that NHS pensions pressure would be continued to be managed centrally; that new responsibilities would be fully funded; that demography pressures could be absorbed by service adjustments or managed over time; and that increase in demand could be managed through the increased use of digital technology where appropriate. It was also assumed that the NHS and the Clinical Commissioning Groups would continue to fund mental health spend.

The Draft Budget included investments in health visiting, sexual health, children’s weight management, healthy lifestyles and in increase in contribution to the Kent Sport Unit. These investments were to be funded mainly by reserves. Reserves were diminishing and after these investments there would be an estimated £3 million in Public Health reserves, almost £3 million for Kent Community Health Foundation Trust and £700 000 for the services contracted out to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

It was reported that there was an underspend across some of the NHS providers. It was anticipated that the underspend for 2022-23 would be lower as vacancy levels were lower and demand was increasing.

Members were reminded that although COVID-19 had a significant impact on various areas of the Public Health service, these impacts had been partly offset by reduction in capacity as a result of school closures and staff redeployment. The Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) underspend in 2021-22 could be rolled forward. However, there was no indication of new funding to support the COVID-19 programme in 2022-23.

3.          In response to questions from Members it was said that Public Health was conducting a deep-dive on health visitor data and that there was no data to suggest that KCC was not meeting its statutory visits. This report could be shared with the Committee at a later date. Dr Duggal would consult with colleagues about breaking the data down to ward or district level.


4.          RESOLVED to:

a)    NOTE the draft capital and revenue budgets including responses to consultation

b)    SUGGEST any changes which should be made before the draft is presented to Cabinet on 27th January 2022 and full County Council on 10th February 2022.

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