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Local Government Act 2003

Section 25: Budget calculations: report on robustness of estimates etc

43.Local authorities decide every year how much they are going to raise from council tax. They base their decision on a budget that sets out estimates of what they plan to spend on each of their services. Because they decide on the council tax before the year begins and can’t increase it during the year, they have to consider risks and uncertainties that might force them to spend more on their services than they planned. Allowance is made for these risks by:

  • making prudent allowance in the estimates for each of the services, and in addition

  • ensuring that there are adequate reserves to draw on if the service estimates turn out to be insufficient.

44.This section requires an authority's chief finance officer to make a report to the authority when it is considering its budget and council tax. The report must deal with the robustness of the estimates and the adequacy of the reserves allowed for in the budget proposals, so members will have authoritative advice available to them when they make their decisions. The section requires members to have regard to the report in making their decisions.

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