Agenda item

Covid Recovery Revised Budget 2020/21

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance to follow


The Leader of the Council presented the report, in the absence of the Cabinet Member Finance, noting that it would also go to the full Council meeting on 16th November.

He added that over the last few years, CBC had worked hard to protect and enhance services while its funding decreased. Thanks to the hard work of many people, not least the finance team, it succeeded in changing its investment strategy, opening up a number of exciting opportunities including the Minster Innovation Exchange and Golden Valley. The budget was on track to become sustainable before the Covid crisis knocked this off track. The authority received various government grants but was still considerably down overall (about £1.8m down across this financial year) compared to pre-Covid projections. He acknowledged that this was likely to be an ongoing issue, as things like car parking revenue would remain low due to changing habits. It was important to see the positives in this, such as the reduced environmental impact of traffic in the town.

The revised budget sought to make maximum use of reserves where possible, and reviewed all reserves in order to do so. Assets that were not used for operational purposes or did not generate income were of particular importance. He stressed that it was not a definitive proposal at this stage, but rather a guideline of areas that would be looked at. He also emphasised that risks to the council’s income would not stop at the end of the year, so the report looked at a three-year period to make finances sustainable. He particularly cited Golden Valley as an example of a project that had received significant investment and was hugely important for the town and region in terms of both jobs and homes. He reassured Members that funding had been set aside to ensure this would not have to be halted. He thanked the finance team, particularly Paul Jones (Executive Director Finance and Assets) and Rowena Hay (Cabinet Member Finance).

The Cabinet Member Economy and Development added that considering the financial stresses placed on local councils, this was a very positive budget proposal. The Leader of the Council agreed, and expressed his pleasure that other councils were seemingly taking note of CBC’s strategy and incorporating similar ideas into their own financial plans.

The Leader moved to a vote, where it was unanimously:


1.    The estimated position in respect of collection rates for council tax and business rates for 2020/21 (paras 3.37 to 3.44) be noted;

2.    The revised Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) policy as detailed in Appendix 2 (paras 4.12 to 4.16) be approved;

3.    The revised capital programme with £1.7m capital receipts previously allocated to the High Street works to be reallocated to repaying the MRP as detailed in paras 4.19 to 4.20 be approved;

4.    The identified asset disposals as detailed in paras 4.22 to 4.29 be noted;

5.    The virements as summarised in Appendix 3, in order to produce a balanced General Fund (GF) revised budget for 2020/21 be approved;

6.    It be noted that future budget monitoring reports will assess the position against this revised budget and further decisions may be required depending on the economic impact being experienced as the year progresses;

7.    The additional budget and funding for Cyber Central (Golden Valley development) as set out in section 5 be approved;

8.    The flexible use of capital receipts strategy as detailed in Appendix 4 (paras 5.21 to 5.26) be approved;

9.    The budget-setting timetable at Appendix 5 be approved, and the 2021/22 budget process outlined in section 6 be noted;

10.  The intention for this Council to remain in the Gloucestershire Business Rates Pool in 2021/22 as outlined in section 7 be noted, and it be noted that the Council reserves the right to withdraw after the local government finance settlement announcement;

11.  The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) revised budget for 2020/21 as summarised in Section 8 be approved.

Supporting documents: