To consider the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account 2021/22 revenue and capital estimates and the Financial Medium Term Plan (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy and Partnerships and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy and Partnerships and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151), which asked the Council to consider the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2021/22, revenue and capital estimates, and the Financial Medium Term Plan.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy and Partnerships introduced the report and outlined the main details of the Budget:
· As a result of continued, unprecedented uncertainty from the Government with regard to Business Rates and the Fair Funding Review, the Authority was taking a prudent position;
· The following major service areas would continue to be affected by the Covid pandemic during 2021/22 – Leisure Services (including the South Holland Centre), waste management collection, a reduction in fees and charges, a reduction in Business Rates and Council Tax receipts, and reduced interest on investments. These would all affect the budget throughout the forthcoming year;
· The Government had announced some Covid support packages for 2021/22, to mitigate against the impact to Councils’ budget pressures, and these had been calculated into the Base Budget workings;
· The General Fund Budget requirement for 2021/22 was £12.4 million, which included an initial savings efficiency target of £1.676 million to balance the budget; numerous savings and income generating opportunities had been identified, and the following had been identified to help with initial savings target - staff pay would be frozen until 2022; the New Homes Bonus windfall payment for 2021 had been certified; expansion of the Garden Waste scheme; receipt of the Council Tax Support Grant; a number of staff vacancies were being held; receipt of the Welland Homes dividend. These items totalled just over £1million, leaving £676,000 savings still to be achieved.
· The Base Budget included a Council Tax increase of £4.95 for a Band D property, a 2% increase in Drainage Board levies, Rural Support Grant and Rural Services Delivery Grants being paid for an additional year, an increased cost in Homelessness, and PSPS costs would remain the same in the forthcoming year as the last.
· The HRA forecast a surplus of £1.97million, including the following – a rent increase of 1.5%, assumed rent loss of 1% and void properties and 1.5% for bad debts. Additional rents arising from new homes acquired within HRA Capital Programme had been factored in. The HRA was set to perform well going forward.
· Capital Programme – the General Fund Capital Programme totalled £19.8 million in the medium term, and the HRA £41million.
Moving forward, a new stable post-pandemic operating normality for the Council would be sought.
A number of community projects were to be undertaken including – Work to be undertaken to tidy up Spalding Cemetery; a refresh of public toilet provision; a tree planting programme across parishes; assistance for parishes with litter picking; establishment of war graves maintenance programme; and improvements at Ayscoughfee Gardens. The costs would be met by S106 monies, use of reserves and grant funding. Regeneration work within Spalding and Holbeach would also continue.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy ... view the full minutes text for item 91