A report from the Executive Director – Resources is attached. (Key decision – reference number 5224)
Councillor Mary Maguire (Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement) introduced the report of the Executive Director – Resources.
1. That the report included four key elements: a further review of the assumptions in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP): an initial assessment of the Chancellor’s Spending review announcement on 25 November and its potential impact on the Council’s 2021/22 Budget; further savings to address the funding gap; and, to bring forward the Council’s Fees and Charges for 2021/22.
2. That a balanced budget would be presented to the February Cabinet meeting, as set out in the report. This had been a financially challenging year which had followed ten years of Government austerity with significant cuts to the core funding of local government and extensive savings having already been made. The significant financial challenge being faced by the Council was emphasised.
3. That the report set out the funding gap, with and without the impact of Covid-19. Including the impact of Covid-19, and after identification of £11.395m of savings, there remained a gap of £17.325m.
4. That Appendix A of the report set out the second tranche of savings for 2021/22.
5. That Officers would be fully assessing the impact of the Spending Review and the details of the Local Government Finance Settlement which would be reflected in the report to the February Cabinet meeting.
6. That one of the key drivers for the Collection Fund deficit forecast was the increased take up of Council Tax Support, as set out in the report, including the number of working age residents in the Borough who were now unemployed or furloughed.
7. The key points arising from the Spending Review 2021 as set out in the report. Core spending power increase of 4.5% in the funding settlement assumed a 2% increase in core council tax and 3% in adult social care precept. A full analysis of the detail of the Government funding settlement is now underway to assess the full impact. Officers were also working through the specific grants arising from Covid-19 as detailed in the report.
8. That further work had been undertaken to close the budget gap and savings of £1.050m were set out in Appendix A of the report. There were a further £0.280m of further savings under development which would come forward in a future report.
9. The review of Fees and Charges and the principles that had been applied to the review as set out in detail in the report and in Appendix B of the report. A robust review had been carried out and discussed with the Cabinet Members responsible. Benchmarking exercises had been undertaken as part of the review and there had been a focus on strengthening income streams. The detail contained within the report was discussed with Cabinet Members highlighting and explaining the impact on the fees and charges within their own areas of responsibility.
10. That there had been little progress on other developments which had the potential to be financially beneficial for ... view the full minutes text for item 5