The Interim Section 151 Officer presented the Fees and Charges 2023/24 report for the Executive Committee’s consideration.
Members were informed that the MTFP was being prepared on the basis that additional income would be generated from fees and charges. The process being followed for the review of income to be realised from 1st April 2023 included an assessment of each fee to identify how it met the Council’s strategic purposes and the level of increase that was proposed as well as taking account of present economic conditions, including inflation running at over 10 per cent. The levels of increase had been based on a robust estimate of the impact of cost increases and demand within the services and the Council’s overall financial position. This included assessing the affordability of any of these increases to residents and customers.
The Council’s proposal was to increase all fees and charges by 10 per cent, with some exceptions. The 10 per cent increase had been applied to contributions and fees and charges budgets and not to Income from Service Level Agreements (SLAs), not to the Lifeline Service, where charges were set statutorily, and not to Regulatory Services, where a 5 per cent increase to fees had been proposed for all Councils forming part of Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) to ensure consistency across the county. In addition, higher increases were proposed for Dial a Ride and Shopmobility, at 35 per cent.
The estimated growth in income generated from the proposed increases would rise from £339,000 in 2022/23 to £342,000 in 2025/26. Should these increases be agreed, these figures would be incorporated into the first tranche of the MTFP. Increases did not apply to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Rents, which would be addressed in a separate report later in the municipal year.
Following the presentation of the report, Members discussed the proposal to increase fees and charges in general by 10 per cent, with a few exceptions. Members commented that there was the potential in some cases that a 10 per cent increase might not cover the Council’s costs involved in delivering those services, given the potential impact of inflation. Officers were urged to review fees and charges carefully on an ongoing basis and to report back to Members should further increases to fees be required.
all of the proposed fees and charges for 2023/24 be approved.