Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Chris Lunn
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.
The Director of Finance will be in attendance at the meeting to provide information in respect of the Council’s current Budget Consultation exercise.
The Director of Finance, the Head of Financial Planning and Support and the Executive Member for Finance and Governance were in attendance at the meeting to provide information in respect of the Council’s current Budget Consultation exercise.
The Director of Finance delivered a presentation, which covered the following topics:
· Setting the scene of the Council’s finances;
· Members’ general responsibilities in setting the budget;
· The timeline for budget setting;
· The budget position;
· The efficiency savings presented to Full Council as part of the Strategic Plan;
· Changes in the Finance Settlement and subsequently to the proposed budget as a result; and
· The proposed increase in Council Tax.
It was explained that the context of the 2021/2022 budget was the austerity programme, which the Council had been part of since 2010 following the financial crisis. Since 2010, the Council had made over £100m of savings and the independent National Audit Office had calculated that the money available for the Council to spend had reduced in real terms by 36%.
It was indicated that the share allocated to Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care had increased from 40% of the total net budget in 2010/2011, to 63% in 2020/2021; Central Services’ percentage share of the net budget had decreased from 31% to 18% since 2010/2011. Regarding Council Tax, in the current financial year 2020/2021, £59m or 51% of the Council’s income was provided by Council Tax. In 2008, that figure was less than 25%; this was partly due to Council Tax increases and partly due to the reduction in overall expenditure, and meant that the Council was far more locally funded than it was previously.
In terms of the change in composition of the budget between 2010/2011 and 2020/2021, a graphical illustration was shown to the Board. It was noted that the net budget of services most visible to the public, e.g. street cleaning, refuse collection, regeneration and cultures, etc. had reduced following a decrease in the overall funding available, and the increased pressures for Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care due to demography and issues presented.
In terms of responsibilities for setting the budget, it was explained that the Section 151 Officer’s responsibility was to propose and certify that a budget was balanced. In terms of Elected Members, responsibility was focused on working positively towards setting a balanced budget, which was a legal responsibility and not optional for the Council. It was commented that Members had contributed positively to the process this year.
Regarding the budget setting timeline, the legal cut-off point for setting the budget was 11 March 2021. At present, the consultation phase of the process was being undertaken, with consultation closing on 31 January 2021. To date, over 300 responses had been received from the public to the budget consultation and the strategic priorities consultation, which would be factored in alongside feedback from this meeting and from other Member engagements. Following consideration, the budget report would be submitted to Executive on 16 February 2021 for endorsement, and then ... view the full minutes text for item 20/74
Any other urgent items which, in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.
A Member referred to Councillor McIntyre's absence and requested that the Board's well wishes be conveyed.
AGREED that the action be undertaken.
Following the information provided at today’s meeting, a Member queried whether a total figure for the Council’s current debts could be provided to the Board. The Executive Member for Finance and Governance indicated that this would be looked into.
AGREED that the action be undertaken.