Agenda item

General Fund Budget Monitoring Report – Quarter One 2020/21


The Committee were provided with information on actual performance against the approved Revenue and Capital budgets for 2020/21, including projected variances agreed or identified through budgetary control activity.


The Principal Accountant (General Fund) directed Members to page 60 of the report which held an Executive Summary of the information in the report pertaining to the: 


  • General Fund – Revenue
  • General Fund – Capital


Members were updated on other key areas of financial performance that may impact on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy, Medium Term Financial Plan, or Financial Statements.


Following questions for clarification, the Director (Corporate Services) and the Principal Accountant (General Fund) elaborated further on several key points within the report:


·         Parking Income: £1,019k adverse variance – For districts Council of Gravesham size, income received from parking was a large income stream; prior to Covid-19, the total budgeted income stream relating  to surface car parks  was a little over £1.4 million. The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) added that it was hoped that the loss of income would be covered by the Local government income compensation scheme for lost sales, fees and charges. An update will be reported to the Committee in the next Budget Monitoring Report

  • Horn Yard and Market Square car parks – Final negotiations were still ongoing for the proposed Charter development and there was no fixed date however it was anticipated for the purposes of budget monitoring that the car parks would be closed from September 2020.
  • 3.11.8 – MTFP – The Council received Government grant money totalling £130K to cover the administration costs for administering the business support grants to local businesses.
  • Land at Dering Way – A master planning exercise was underway; the Director (Corporate Services) agreed to circulate an explanation of the £1.1 million spend on Dering Way within the General Fund Capital Programme 
  • Parrock Street Resurfacing – The Principle Accountant (General Fund) agreed to contact the lead officer and circulate an explanation as to why the Parrock Street Car Park resurfacing spend in the Capital Programme was £27K against a budget of just under £12K
  • Elizabeth Huggins Cottages – Full Council approved the loan on 19 December 2019 but the Council had not issued the loan to EHC yet. There were a number of conditions that EHC had to adhere to in order to receive the loan which included obtaining and sharing all relevant quotes for the works, certain caps on costs and some requirements around financial analysis. The conversations were ongoing with EHC and no grant payments would be made until they had fulfilled the criteria agreed by Full Council


The Chair further explained that if there was another wave of Covid-19 related restrictions then the car parking income stream could be affected again as people would be working from home more and visit the Town less.


In response to a question regarding the projected overspend of £3.36 million, the  Director (Corporate Services) confirmed that the council held working balances of some £10m;  the shortfall of some £3 million would be covered through the use of working balances.


A Member raised several questions concerning the Climate Change reserve of £500K and where the deciding line was with regard to spending decisions that had already been made on capital purchases and new spending decisions being made that were influenced by the need for the Council to go carbon neutral by 2030. The Director (Corporate Services) explained that the £500k reserve was intended to be used as seed funding to achieve the council’s carbon neutral ambitions; in some areas, such as housing, the nature of the works to maintain properties from capital provisions in the future are likely to include activity which contributes to this.


Due to the Council having a balanced Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) in February 2020, the Director (Corporate Services) explained that the Council was in a stable financial position currently even taking into account the likely financial impacts of Covid-19. The longer term financial sustainability of the council will all be taken into consideration when the budget setting process is started; the Councils 2021/22 budget will be presented to Members at Full Council in February 2021.


The Committee commended officers for their hard work during a very difficult quarter.


Resolved that the Committee noted the information contained within the report.


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