The Executive Member for Corporate Resources presented the report to update Members on the principal areas where there were likely to be departures from the 2020/21 budget, summarised those variations to the end of August 2020 and the realignment for 2020/21 based on assumed Government support together with assumptions on the medium term financial plan for future years. He explained that it would be difficult to predict future incomes and expenditure pressures due to the uncertainty around government actions, possible future lockdowns, potential vaccines and the action of the general public. This realignment of the budgets set in February 2020 were addressed by Government funding and from savings that the Council was making to meet the gap that had arisen.
The Chief Finance Officer advised Members of the changing financial position as a result of the impact of the COVID 19 on the Councils’ funding streams. The Council had received from Central Government emergency funding £1.4 million by May 2020 and a subsequent additional £200,000. There was an offer of a further funding package to assist with certain income losses although this ignored rental income and losses from Council Tax and Business rates, this would be recovered over the subsequent three financial years. There was a budget deficit of £5.1 million, savings of £2 million had been identified and these included vacancy savings, eliminating revenue contributions to capital, some natural occurring savings as operations were reduced or closed and ledger spending including a reduction in Rural Aid of £25,000.
During debate Members raised the following points:-
· Thanked staff for their efficient and hard work during the pandemic in particular the prompt payments of the business grants and work with the communities
· Concern with the proposal to remove the rural skip service and impact this could have on an increase in fly tipping
· The need to work with Towns and Parishes with regards to services that the council may not be able to support due to its budget constraints going forward
· The need for all members be involved in any proposed cuts in budgets.
The Leader recognised that there would be difficult decisions ahead, explained the budget consultation and setting process which would include considered of the proposed budget by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
It was agreed that the Chair of the Council would write to staff to thanks them for their support and hard work during the pandemic.
The recommendation was proposed by the Executive Member for Corporate Resources, seconded by Councillor H Cox and carried.
RESOLVED that the:-
(1) revised revenue budget summary as shown at appendix 1 be approved;
(2) updated capital programme as shown at appendix 2 be approved; and
(3) treasury management results for 2019/20 as shown in appendix 3 be noted.
A roll-call was taken.
Cllrs Austen, Bullivant, Clarance, Colclough, Connett, Cook, D Cox, H Cox, Dewhirst, Evans, Foden, Goodman-Bradbury, Gribble, Haines, Hayes, Hocking, G Hook, J Hook, Jeffries, Jenks, Keeling, Kerswell, MacGregor, Morgan, Nutley, Nuttall, Parker-Khan, Patch, Peart, L Petherick, Purser, Rollason, Russell, Thorne, Tume, Wrigley, Parker and J Petherick
Cllrs Bradford, Daws, Mullone
Cllrs Eden, Jeffrey, Orme, Phipps, Taylor and Swain
Cllr Taylor was not present during the vote