Agenda item

General Fund Budget Monitoring Quarter 3 2020/21


Cabinet received the third budget monitoring report for 2020/21 showing the position up to 31 December 2020 and noted the information provided on:

·                    actual performance against the approved Revenue and Capital budgets for 2020/21, including projected variances agreed or identified through budgetary control activity; and

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

The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) highlighted a number of points in the report as follows:

·         A projected year-end adverse variance of £2m.

·         Under the Communities Directorate, there was an anticipated deficit with regard to Leisure Services. However, the loss had been reduced by monies from the Sales, Fees and Charges Compensation Scheme.

·         The Woodville and Borough Market income had been affected by the pandemic and this deficit had also been reduced by monies from the Sales, Fees and Charges Compensation Scheme. There had been income reductions in relation to the Horn Yard and Market Square car parks and the Charter development gains momentum.

·         A Government support package had been received to assist with expenditure pressures and work stream support relating to the pandemic.

·         Under the Housing & Operations Directorate, a net favourable variance had been achieved due to the increase in volume of garden waste and waste recycling income.

·         Interest and investment income had reduced and now showed an adverse variance.

Members’ attention was drawn to the tables at paragraphs 3.10.1 and 3.10.2 of the report which showed Working Balances and General Fund Earmarked Reserves respectively.

The Cabinet was informed that, due to the Council’s efforts over the last five years, it had a strong level of reserves which would be sufficient to avoid serious financial difficulty in the short term however the Council was now forecasting a shortfall from 2025/2026 onwards.

The Leader noted that nearly all of the adverse variances were as a result of the pandemic and that the Council had lost £2m in projected income. These losses had been mitigated by the hard work of officers.

The following points were raised by Members:

·         Cabinet was advised that whilst there was an adverse variance in relation to Leisure Services income, a great deal of support had been given by the Council to GCLL. In addition, the market equipment neutral variance built on the new Market Strategy and the situation would improve once the effects of the pandemic had reduced.

·         The budget had been brought together with a background of austerity and 40% Government budget cuts. Despite the work of officers, the Council was still facing huge losses.

·         The homelessness initiatives in relation to the pandemic had involved a great deal of work for officers including accessing grants and funding from the Government which had been very complex and difficult so much so that some local authorities had given up.

·         Attention was drawn to the new recycling wheelie bins being introduced for the occupiers of flats and apartments and that many new recycling initiatives were now in place which had been a huge step forward.

The Cabinet noted the information contained within the report.

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