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Agenda item

Financial Year 2020/2021 - Month 5 Budget Monitoring

Report of the Chief Executive.


Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet member Finance, Procurement and Commercial Investment presented the report (i) advising the Cabinet of the Budget Monitoring position 2020/21 Month 5 (31 August 2020) for revenue; and (ii) providing an update on the financial impact on the Council of responding to COVID-19 pandemic and details on Government support.


Questions were received from Ian James about the Council’s finances.


Cllr Whitehead acknowledged that the questions had received written responses which had been published on the Council’s website prior to the meeting. The were no requests for supplementary questions.


Cllr Church reported that the Month 5 budget monitoring forecasts are based on information as at 31 August 2020. Due to the current COVBID-19 situation, a degree of uncertainty remained around some of the forecasts, however the report transparently estimated the most realistic overall financial position, and

confirmed the position that has been previously reported to Cabinet that the Council is facing significant financial pressure.


The Cabinet noted that after receiving £29m of emergency funding this financial year from Government, the month 5 position still forecast an overspend of £25.644m which is an improvement of £1.362m on the Quarter 1 forecast overspend of £27.006m. With an estimate of further anticipated funding from Government to offset income losses as well as the spreading of collection fund losses over three years the forecast for this financial year is reduced to a £4.569m overspend as at period 5.


Cllr Wayman thanked all officers for their hard work during these testing times and expressed a concern about the effect on the collection fund and impact on Town and Parish Councils once the furlough scheme had ended.


In response to questions from Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrats about (i) Interpretation differences between the Government and the Council for grant claims to compensate for Council losses; (ii) Impact of COVID-19 on Planning income; and (iii) the spread of collection fund losses over 3 years and the impact on the Council; Cllr Church and Officers explained that (i) officers have great experience of how to interpret government guidance and make accurate assumptions and estimates accordingly; (ii) Planning applications had reduced during the early stages of the pandemic, with a knock on effect on income, however, applications were now increasing; and (iii) The Council were working on base budget assumption in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review which was expected in December 2020, and receipt of operation guidance about the three year deferral of collection fund losses.


Comments arising from the general discussion included:


·       The dissemination of information to Town and Parish about the impact of COVID-19 on funding streams.

·       Funding arrangements for hospital discharges and the impact on Council finances.

·       The level of lobbying government about the increasing deficit of the Dedicated Schools Grant and how the deficit could be addressed.





To note:

i)               the Section 151 officer’s summary of the impact of COVID-19 on the Council’s 2020/21 budget;


ii)             the current revenue budget is forecast to overspend by £4.569m by the end of the financial year and forecast level of General Fund reserve;


iii)           the current savings delivery performance for the year;


Reason for Decision:

To inform effective decision making and ensure sound financial management as part of the Councils overall control environment.


To inform Cabinet on the forecast impact upon the financial position of the Council due to COVID-19 and of the Councils overall position on the 2020/21 revenue as at Month 5 (31 August 2020), including delivery of approved savings and highlighting any budget changes.

Supporting documents:




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