provided information on the:
(a) updated forecast revenue and capital outturn for 2020/21, based on the position to 31 December 2020;
(b) updated forecast for the council tax and business rates collection fund position at 31 March 2021, based on the position to 31 December 2020;
(c) updated forecast use of and contributions to earmarked, cash limit and general reserves in 2020/21 and the estimated balances to be held at 31 March 2021.
The report also sought approval of the revised capital programme, other budget adjustments, proposed sums treated as outside of the cash limit in year, and, write off deficit schools balances as a result of academy conversions. Cabinet was also provided with an update on progress towards achieving MTFP(10) savings in 2020/21 (for copy see file of minutes).
Councillor Shuttleworth referred to the impact of COVID-19 on Council finances and asked what amount of government grant is expected to cover the additional cost impact of £3.771 million, and if this is not fully funded, from which reserve/service area will the monies be found?
Councillor Napier, Portfolio Holder for Finance, thanked Councillor Shuttleworth for his question and clarified the £3.771 million figure referred to was the Resources Service Grouping net COVID-19 related costs incurred, not the overall Council position, which was outlined in sections 54 to 59 of the report. The latest forecasts are that the Council will incur COVID-19 costs and loss of income of around £65 million this year, offset by COVID-19 underspending of around £16 million. The net position is broadly in line with the grant funding received but factoring in the Council Tax losses, falls short of the funding needed to offset the impacts of COVID-19 on the Council. If funding is insufficient to meet these net costs and loss of income either this year or next, this would be a call on the general reserve.
Moving the report, Councillor Napier commended Finance Officers for their comprehensive report. He commented on the constantly changing landscape which had made financial forecasting particularly challenging over the past year. He highlighted that the Council had kept within budget, whilst investing huge sums of money to support communities and businesses and the prudent financial management will continue to be tested in the future due to the uncertainty regarding the comprehensive spending review.
In this, his final budget report to Cabinet, Councillor Napier spoke of how proud he had been to work with such a strong financial team and he expressed his gratitude to officers and members for their support throughout the years. The Chair, seconding the recommendations, echoed Councillor Napier’s thanks to officers for their efforts during this unprecedented time. The Chair extended his personal thanks to Councillor Napier for his work as finance Portfolio Holder.
That the recommendations in the report be approved.