Agenda item

Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2023-27 Consultation

To receive and respond to the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-27.


The Committee received a report on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for 2023-2027 and the revenue and capital proposals contained within the MTFS relating to the Committee’s responsibilities. As part of the consultation process, Members were asked to consider the proposals within the remit of the Committee and provide comments and feedback to the Corporate Policy Committee for consideration on 9 February 2023 before a balanced budget was presented to the full Council meeting of 22 February 2023 for final review and approval.

The following comments were raised:

-          Cllr Dean raised concerns around the consultation process and that Committee Members had not been consulted or involved in the drawing up of the proposals before them in the report. Committee Members requested that consideration is given to future consultation to ensure there is a clear process for the Committee to be properly consulted on the proposals and detail surrounding them.


-          Proposal 92: Review Waste Collection Service – Cllr Dean queried how much it would cost for a green bin to be emptied, what the current position was across the wider local authority sector and what market research had been undertaken to date.


-          Cllr Farrall referred to a similar project by Trafford Borough Council which appeared unsuccessful and was later withdrawn.


-          Members felt that the proposals could be counterproductive and queried if the proposals would:

a)    lead to an increase in fly-tipping and food wastage

b)    lead to any public health consequences as a result of home composting

c)    encourage residents to blow leaves and other debris onto the highway potentially leading to blocked gullies and flooding


Members expressed a view that waste collection was something Cheshire East did well so it was disappointing that savings could not have been found elsewhere, particularly given the cost of living crisis and some residents struggling financially.


-          Proposal 83: Planning and Building Control Income - Cllr Farrall queried if there was anything that Cheshire East could implement at a local level to generate revenue, such as adding a surcharge for fast-tracking planning applications. Members also suggested that the Council lobby Central Government further on the issue of planning application fees and the need to be able to vary these locally.


-          Proposal 90: Strategic Leisure Review – Members received an update on the detail behind this proposal. Members raised concerns around some of the proposals being put forward to achieve the budget saving which they felt should have been shared at an earlier stage.


Cllr Groves felt that the introduction of a parking permit scheme would have a detrimental impact and further highlights the need for a fair car parking policy to be introduced.


Members highlighted the significant costs associated with heating swimming pools and queried if there was any work underway to actively reduce the cost of energy usage. Cllr Abel referred to the potential to use solar power to heat pools.


-          Proposal 91: Maintenance of Green Spaces – Members queried the savings attached to this proposal and the proposed operational review which will look at reducing existing maintenance regimes. Members requested further background information to the proposal and queried what the anticipated outcome of the review was. Members were advised that the proposal had not been changed but was re-profiled to develop a more considered implementation process.


-          Proposal 93: Libraries – Service Review – Members raised concerns around the potential reduction in opening hours during the week and the impact this would have on the use of the buildings as ‘warm spaces’ and their intended use for other key services to be delivered within them. Members stressed the importance of libraries and how they are a hub for local communities including children, students and the elderly.


Cllr Buckley suggested that there should be a review of library services across the borough including looking at technological development.


Cllr Browne referred to Hartlepool Council which recently converted their libraries into community hubs and delivered a vast range of local services to residents. This generated significant savings for the local authority and also enabled longer opening hours. Cllr Browne welcomed the approach to review the use of Cheshire East’s buildings. Cllr Browne also referred to the use of volunteers at the local library within his Ward and how this had enabled the library to remain open.


Cllr Abel suggested that revenue generation within libraries is explored further, including the sale of refreshments.


-          Proposal 97: Review closed landfill sites – Members requested that the landfill site list be shared with all Committee Members. 



1) That the Committee notes:

a)         the year-end forecast outturn position for 2022/23, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

b)         the financial context and proposals contained within the Executive Summary of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (as set out in the MFTS report at Annex C, Section 1).

c)         the Revenue Grant Funding, as set out in Appendix 4 to the report.

d)         the Earmarked Reserves, as set out in Appendix 5 to the report.


2)         The Committee feedback be noted on the proposals within the MTFS, as related to the Committee’s responsibilities, that can support and advise full Council in fulfilling its responsibilities to approve a balanced budget for 2023/23 in the following areas:

            a)         Revenue Proposals, as detailed in Appendix 2 to the report

            b)         Capital Programme, as detailed in Appendix 3 to the report.


Supporting documents: