A report from the Executive Director – Resources is attached. (Key decision – reference number 5213)
Councillor Mary Maguire (Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement) introduced the report of the Executive Director – Resources setting the revenue budget and Council Tax for the 2021/22 financial year. The report also updated the Council’s Medium-Term Financial Plan in the light of those decisions.
1. The summary of the budget proposals as outlined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the report.
2. The context of the budget setting with continued uncertainties and financial challenges ahead following 10 years of austerity, the impact of the pandemic and a number of future Government funding reviews awaited.
3. That table 2 in the report set out the summary position for 2021/22 followed by a narrative of the key issues including collection fund uncertainties; losses through fees and charges; growing pressures on Adult Social Care, Children’s services and homelessness.
4. That without the impact of the pandemic the Council’s budget had been in a positive, strong and resilient position.
5. The increases in Council Tax had been directed by the Government as explained in the report.
6. The detailed proposals as set out in paragraphs 7 to 16 of the report and reflected in the decisions below.
7. That Appendix 8a of the report provided the statement of the Section 151 Officer on the robustness of the budget estimates and adequacy of the reserves. The Council’s contingencies and balances were considered prudent. Members were also provided with assurances at the meeting and the soundness and robust budget position reiterated. Good financial planning had been demonstrated and appropriate actions taken mid-year as a result of the pandemic. Reserves had been strengthened and a transparent approach adopted. There had been additional scrutiny this year through the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Panel. A sound budget was being presented to Members for approval despite the significant financial challenges arising from the pandemic.
8. The budget proposals would continue to seek to protect the most vulnerable residents in the Borough and deliver on the Council’s commitments.
9. The considerable loss in the Council’s commercial income resulting from the pandemic. The Place Department had been most significantly affected with examples outlined to Members. This also highlighted the Council’s income generation activities.
10. In response to a question raised, it was noted that Enfield had the highest Council Tax Support Scheme in London. Pressures had increased during the pandemic and were likely to increase further when the Government’s furlough scheme came to an end. The financial impact was explained.
11. The measures being taken to support and retain Children’s Services through savings in staff re-organisations and redirection of resources to support the early help family hub and children and family services with an increase in Children’s social workers. The measures would support the Council’s Children and Young People Plan and Poverty Strategy.
12. The continuing pressures on Adult Social Council and the need for adequate Government funding to meet growing demands. The additional pressures arising from the pandemic had been enormous and the Council and voluntary sector had responded ... view the full minutes text for item 7