Report from the Strategic Director of Finance and Customer Services
Consideration was given to a report which outlined the final revenue and capital outturn position for 2020/21. It was reported that the Revenue Budget 2020/21 was approved by Council on 26th February, 2020. A budget of £233.3m was set for General Fund services, which excluded schools’ budgets and Housing Revenue Account (HRA).
The final outturn position was an underspend against budget of £6.1m following the mitigating actions taken to manage the financial impacts of COVID-19. It incorporated the late receipt of £2m of Government support towards costs associated with Operation Stovewood and after a proposed transfer of £2m to create a new Children and Young Peoples Services Social Care Reserve. The mitigation actions included the application of Government’s provision of £18.9m emergency funding to support the COVID-19 response and cost implications of this, the submission of compensation claims totalling £4.8m relating to the adverse impact of COVID-19 on Sales, Fees and Charges income and the use in 2020/21 of £5.2m from the Control Outbreak Management Fund (COMF.) Without the grant funding streams, the Council’s financial outturn would have been a £22.8m overspend.
The report suggested a prudent use of the remaining underspend following its transfer to the Council’s reserves. From this underspend, an allocation of £2m was to be earmarked for a COVID-19 Recovery Fund in order to support local residents throughout the remainder of the pandemic. A report would be brought back to Cabinet later in the year setting out how the Fund would be utilised. A further £2.4m was to be earmarked to support the budget gap within the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2022/23. The remaining £1.7m would be held within the Council’s Budget Contingency Reserve as per the approved Strategy and recommendations within the Council’s Budget and Council Tax Report 2021/22.
The Housing Revenue Account had an underspend of £2.8m. However, the revenue contribution to capital outlay was increased by £0.2m. Therefore, the net budgeted use of HRA reserves reduced by £2.6m.
The Capital outturn shows slippages and underspend of £44.6m against the estimated spend for 2020/21 included within the Capital Programme. The pandemic had significantly impacted the delivery of a number of schemes, in the main due to COVID-19 restrictions impacting how works were undertaken.
It was noted that the report had been submitted to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board for pre-decision scrutiny on 14th July 2021, where Members had supported the recommendations in the report.
(1) That the revenue outturn position be noted.
(2) That the budgeted transfer from HRA reserves was reduced by £2.6m following the HRA revenue and capital outturn positions be noted.
(3) That the carry forward of the combined schools balance of £3.066m in accordance with the Department for Education regulations be noted.
(4) That the reserves position set out in section 2.44 be noted.
(5) That the capital outturn and funding position as set out in sections 2.54 to 2.75 be noted.
(6) That the report be referred to Council for information and for approval of the updated Capital Programme as set out in paragraphs 2.76 and 2.79 and Appendices A to D of this report.
(7) That the transfer of £2m of Council funding into a newly created Children’s and Young People’s Services Social Care Reserve to support current and future pressures, be approved.
(8) That the transfer of £4.4m of Council funding into the Budget Strategy Reserve, with £2m earmarked for a Covid Recovery Fund with specific use delegated to Cabinet, and £2.4m earmarked to support the MTFS budget gap for 2022/23, be approved.