Issue - decisions
Financial Outturn 2021/22
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets introduced the report and explained that in approving its budget in February 2021/22, Council had identified efficiency savings and additional income of £400k.The budget provided a contingency of £540k to mitigate this uncertainty and support the COVID recovery strategy.
He reminded Members that in October 2021 there was a forecasted budget overspend of over £1m which meant that not only was the full contingency expected to be required but an additional £500k needed to balance the budget as key income streams, in particular car parking income, was not recovering to pre pandemic levels.
He reported that officers and the Cabinet worked hard to develop a savings strategy in the 2022/23 Medium Term Financial Strategy which reduced the council’s reliance on some of these income streams to provide greater stability in post pandemic years. The revised budget presented to Full Council in February this year reflected these changes as well as the changes in customer behaviour and used the full contingency and required a contribution of £12k from general balances to balance the budget for 2021/22.
The Cabinet Member reported that the outturn position at 31 March 2022 comprised an underspend of £229,116 against the revised budget. Faced with the most significant cost of living emergency in a generation, inflation is expected to continue to increase, and the potential impact on the council could be up to £2m of unbudgeted pressures based on our energy usage, temporary borrowing, anticipated staff pay awards and other contractual costs. These pressures are in addition to the £1.5m of savings which were approved by Full Council as part of the 2022/23 budget.
The Cabinet Member stated that this represented a once in a generation cost of living emergency which is impacting communities, residents, and officers at a time when the economy was only just starting to recovery from the pandemic. This year called for a different approach and £60,000 of the reported underspend will be committed to supporting Cheltenham’s food network, specifically those organisations providing direct food support, either through a food pantry or food bank.
It is recommended that the remaining underspend be used to strengthen general balances and provide resilience in coming years to manage rising costs.
Finally, the Cabinet Member stated that the focus during these increasingly unpredictable economic and political times; needed to be on staff who are delivering core services for our residents, whilst continuing to deliver the four key priorities for our town :Cyber central in west Cheltenham, £80m housing investment plan, Net zero Cheltenham and No Child Left Behind.
In response to a Member question, the Cabinet Member confirmed that at the current time no support from Government was forthcoming.
The following points were made in the debate which ensued :
- Officers from CBC and CBH were thanked for their support to the Budget Scrutiny Working Group;
- The finance team and CBC officers were commended for the outturn given the difficult economic circumstances and particular credit was paid to the revenues and benefits team for council tax and business rate collection rates;
- Thanks were given to the council for supporting local community initiatives;
- Residents should be assured that this town was well managed, financially prudent and doing its best to deliver;
- The foodbank contribution was welcomed, acknowledging the increased demand on these services, given the squeeze on incomes which also affected donations. The work of the food network was to extremely valuable;
- The entrepreneurial approach to investment and prudent use of reserves by the finance team was welcomed.
Finally, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets also wished to put on record his thanks to the finance team and officers both at CBH and CBC.
RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT
1. the financial outturn performanceposition for the General Fund, summarised at Appendix 2 be received, and it be noted that in delivering services in 2021/22, there was anunderspend of £229,116 against the budget approved byCouncil on21 February2021
2. the £656,218 of carry forward approved by the Section 151 Officerunder delegatedpowers at Appendix5 be noted andthat £48,500 ofcarry forwardwhich requireMember approval be approved.
3. the proposal for the use of the underspend after thecarry forward requests outlined in Section 3 of this report be approved and authority be delegated to the Executive Director of Finance andAssets in consultation withthe Lead Memberfor Financeand Assets to ensurethe underspendis usedin linewith this proposalin Section 2.8.
4. the financial outturn performanceposition for the General Fund, summarised at Appendix 2 be received, and it it be noted that in delivering services in 2021/22, there was anunderspend of £229,116 against the budget approved byCouncil on21 February2021
5. It be noted that £656,218 of carry forward approved by the Section 151Officer underdelegated powers atAppendix 5and approves £48,500of carryforward whichrequire Memberapproval.
6. The £656,218 of carry forward approved by the Section 151 Officerunder delegatedpowers at Appendix5 be noted and £48,500of carryforward whichrequire Memberapproval be approved.
7. the proposal for the use of the underspend after the carry forward requests outlined in Section 3 of this report be approved and authority be delegated to the Executive Director of Finance andAssets in consultation withthe Lead Memberfor Financeand Assets to ensurethe underspendis usedin linewith this proposalin Section 2.8.
8. the annual treasury management report at Appendix 7 be noted and theactual 2021/22prudential andtreasury indicators be noted.
9. the capital programme outturn position as detailed inSection 6 and Appendix 8 be noted, the carry forward of unspent budgets into 2022/23 and the inclusion of two new projects inthe 2022/23capital programmewith afunding commitment of £50k be approved.
10. the year end position in respect of Section 106 and CILagreements andpartnership fundingagreements atAppendix 9 be noted.
11. the outturn position in respect of collection rates forcouncil taxand non-domesticrates for2021/22 in Appendix 10 be noted.
12. the financial outturn performance position for theHousing Revenue Account for 2021/22 in Appendix 11 be received andthe carry forward of capital budgets in 2022/23 as setout inAppendix 12 be approved.
Council be recommended to:
1. Receive the financial outturn performance position for the General Fund, summarised at Appendix 2, and note that in delivering services in 2021/22, there was an underspend of £229,116 against the budget approved by Council on 21 February 2021;
2. Note £656,218 of carry forward approved by the Section 151 Officer under delegated powers at Appendix 5 and approves £48,500 of carry forward which require Member approval;
3. Approve the proposal for the use of the underspend after the carry forward requests outlined in Section 3 of this report and delegate authority to the Executive Director of Finance and Assets in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance and Assets to ensure the underspend is used in line with this proposal in Section 2.8;
4. Note the annual treasury management report at Appendix 7 and note the actual 2021/22 prudential and treasury indicators;
5. Note the capital programme outturn position as detailed in Section 6 and Appendix 8, approve the carry forward of unspent budgets into 2022/23 and the inclusion of two new projects in the 2022/23 capital programme with a funding commitment of £50k;
6. Note the year end position in respect of Section 106 and CIL agreements and partnership funding agreements at Appendix 9;
7. Note the outturn position in respect of collection rates for council tax and non-domestic rates for 2021/22 in Appendix 10;
8. Receive the financial outturn performance position for the Housing Revenue Account for 2021/22 in Appendix 11 and approve the carry forward of capital budgets in 2022/23 as set out in Appendix 12.