Agenda item

Draft Budget 2021/22

The report and appendices for this item were added to the agenda when it was republished on 02/12/2020.

 

This report presents the Council’s budget proposals for 2021/22 and sets out the current estimated financial impact of the pandemic and the estimated impact over the three years of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). 

 

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1)     To note the overall financial position, as set out within the report.

 

(2)     To consult on the new budget proposals, as set out in Appendices B and C of the report.

 

(3)     To consult on a Council Tax increase of 4.99% in 2021/22.

 

(4)     To endorse the approach to the statutory process of consultation, scrutiny and equalities between December 2020 and February 2021, as set out in Section 6 of the report.

 

(5)     To endorse the changes to the technical budget assumptions underpinning the budget, as set out in Section 4 of the report.

 

(6)     To note the position with regard to the funding for Schools and the Dedicated Schools Grant, as set out in Section 7 of the report.

 

(7)     To consult on a rent increase of 1.5% (CPI + 1%) for the 2021/22 Housing Revenue Account budget, as set out in Section 8 and Appendix D of the report.

 

(8)     To note the position with regard to the Capital programme, as set out in Section 9 of the report.

Minutes:

The Lead Member for Resources and the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor McLennan introduced the report, which set out the Council’s budget proposals for 2021/22, alongside a revised Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), taking account of the current estimated financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council. Whilst noting the significance of the financial challenges, the report outlined an approach designed to address the current estimated impact of the pandemic, the additional support that would be required for residents, as well as the scale of the loss of income to the Council. It was noted that the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, which had been announced on 25th November, had not provided any further certainty over the medium term financial outlook due to the short term nature of the funding settlement provided and ongoing uncertainty over the outcome of other significant reforms to local government funding and Brexit.

 

In outlining the detail of the new proposals, Cabinet were informed that £5.1 million of new budget savings would be required for 21/22 and 22/23, as detailed within Appendices B and C of the report. This would be supported by a 4.99% council tax increase, up from the 3.99% proposed in February, of which a full 3% would be used to fund vital social care services. Consultation would also be undertaken on the level of rents to be charged within the Housing Revenue Account, with a 1.5% increase proposed. The report further noted the borrowing that would be required to fund the capital programme of works until 2026.

 

Taken together the new proposals and updated budget assumptions, subject to their agreement following consultation, would deliver a balanced budget and ensure that the Council would continue to operate in a financially sustainable and resilient way limiting as far as possible service reductions and the impact on front line services.

 

In concluding her introduction, Councillor McLennan once again highlighted how challenging and difficult the process had been and thanked the Cabinet Members and officers for their support and efforts in developing the proposals and meeting the robust challenge which had been required in order to make such difficult financial decisions.

 

Whilst supporting the proposals contained in the report as deliverable and credible, Cabinet emphasised their disappointment at the uncertainty created as a result of the Governments short-term funding settlements, delays in funding reforms and failure to fulfil a commitment to refund local authorities in full for their Covid-19 related spending.  Having recognised the efforts made to reduce the impact on front line services during such challenging times, the impact of the revised proposals were still of concern with members highlighting the effect they would have in a number of areas.

 

Having noted the current financial context in which the new proposals had been developed it was RESOLVED that Cabinet:

 

(1)     note the overall financial position, as set out within the report.

 

(2)     consult on the new budget proposals, as set out in Appendices B and C of the report.

 

(3)     consult on a Council Tax increase of 4.99% in 2021/22.

 

(4)     endorse the approach to the statutory process of consultation, scrutiny and equalities between December 2020 and February 2021, as set out in Section 6 of the report.

 

(5)     endorse the changes to the technical budget assumptions underpinning the budget, as set out in Section 4 of the report.

 

(6)     note the position with regard to the funding for Schools and the Dedicated Schools Grant, as set out in Section 7 of the report.

 

(7)     consult on a rent increase of 1.5% (CPI + 1%) for the 2021/22 Housing Revenue Account budget, as set out in Section 8 and Appendix D of the report.

 

(8)     note the position with regard to the Capital programme, as set out in Section 9 of the report.

 

Supporting documents: