Note – In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the consequential change to the Council’s Rules of Procedure, this item will automatically be subject to a recorded vote in respect of the adoption of the Budget and on any amendments proposed at the meeting.
To consider the recommendations from Cabinet to determine the Council’s Budget for 2021/22 onwards, including fees and charges, the Capital Programme, the Pay Policy and the Chief Finance Officer’s Advice on the Robustness of Estimates and the Adequacy of Reserves.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the 2021/22 to 2025/26 Five Year Draft Budget. He advised Members that while the document was a final version, the impact of the pandemic meant the situation was changing on a regular basis. The expected outcome was that the Council would be in a position to deliver the priorities set out in the Council Plan within its resources. The Portfolio Holder highlighted comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee who agreed the budget report but added a rider, that they accepted the sensitivity of car park charging, and given the current situation and the fact that it had been 8 years since last raised there is little option. This would enable the statutory requirement to agree a balanced budget and to set the appropriate Council Tax level for 2021/22.
The Customer Connect programme had substantially reduced future budget deficits. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a fundamental impact on the Council’s financial position. The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder explained that although the Government had introduced a number of one-off grants to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 as part of the local government settlement, these were insufficient to cover the full extent of the additional costs and income lost due to the pandemic. He added that the government had also further delayed the reform of local government funding and that options were being developed to balance future budget deficits.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder highlighted that whilst Officers recommended a balanced budget to Council, this provided a snapshot of the financial position of the Council due to the impact of Covid-19 and potential changes to local government funding. He added that a balanced budget would put the Council in the best place to move into the next financial year and continue to invest in our communities which had been run through a diverse and impressive programme this year. The Portfolio Holder was happy to move the recommendations in the report and reminded Members that despite the difficult and unprecedented times brought on by Covid-19 and changes to Local Government funding, that with prudent financial management, the Council was still able to fulfil its commitment to investing in communities. He thanked the Section 151 Officer and other officers in the Finance team for their continual hard work during these difficult times.
Councillor Jarvis was seconded by Councillor Giles Archibald.
Note – at this point in the proceedings (8.31 p.m.), the Chairman, Councillor Stephen Coleman left the meeting. Vice-Chairman Councillor Pete McSweeney took over as Chairman and continued the meeting.
In seconding the proposals, Councillor Archibald reiterated the points raised in the report on continuing to deliver on bigger projects and the importance of the continuing to deliver on ongoing projects.
In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the Council’s Rules of Procedure, a recorded vote was taken on the recommendations as follows:–
The following Members voted in favour (30) – Councillors Giles Archibald, Robin Ashcroft, Rupert Audland, Jonathan Brook, Helen Chaffey, Tracy Coward, Phillip Dixon, Judy Filmore, Gill Gardner, Eamonn Hennessy, Hazel Hodgson, Chris Hogg, Rachael Hogg, Andrew Jarvis, Dyan Jones, Helen Ladhams, Malcolm Lamb, Susanne Long, Pete McSweeney, Ian Mitchell, Jon Owen, Suzie Pye, Doug Rathbone, Matt Severn, Peter Thornton, David Webster, Ian Wharton, Janet Willis, Mark Wilson and Shirley-Anne Wilson.
The following Councillor voted against (1), Councillor Ben Berry.
The following Councillors abstained (12), Councillors Caroline Airey, Pat Bell, Roger Bingham, Brian Cooper, Michael Cornah, Tom Harvey, John Holmes, Kevin Holmes, Helen Irving, Janette Jenkinson, Kevin Lancaster and Brian Rendell.
RESOLVED – That:-
(1) the Chief Finance Officer’s Statutory Report, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be noted;
(2) a Budget Requirement of £9,285,400 for 2021/22 as set out in Section 2b of the Draft Budget Book (Appendix 2) be adopted;
(3) a £5.00 (2.51%) increase in the Band D Council tax to £204.54 for District Council Services for 2021/22 as part of a balanced revenue budget be approved;
(4) the detailed service budgets as set out in Section 3 of the Draft Budget Book be approved;
(5) the latest Collection Fund Estimates, Parish Council precepts and Parish Council taxes for 2021/22, as set out in Section 4 of the Draft Budget Book, be noted;
(6) the Capital Programme, as set out in Section 5 of the Draft Budget Book, be approved;
(7) the Reserves, as set out in Section 6 of the Draft Budget Book, be approved;
(8) the Fees and Charges Book for 2021/22, as set out in Appendix 3 to the report, be approved;
(9) the Statutory Pay Policy Statement, as set out in Appendix 4 to the report, be adopted and published;
(10) the Equality Impact Assessment and Health, Social, Economic and Environmental Impact Assessment attached to the report at Appendices 5 and 6 respectively be noted; and
(11) it be noted that the proposals contained in the report have been incorporated into the Procurement Schedule, Prudential Indicators and Treasury Management Framework elsewhere on the agenda.