Contact: Amrita Gill Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Roll Call and Declarations of interest
To confirm attendance, the Chair will perform a roll call. Members will also have the opportunity to declare any interests.
If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.
At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.
Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.
Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.
The Chair (Councillor Bora Kwon) carried out a roll call to confirm attendance. There were no declarations of interest.
This report sets out the budget proposals for the services covered by these Policy and Accountability Committees (PAC). An update is also provided on any proposed changes in fees and charges in the budget.
Councillor Lisa Homan (Cabinet Member for Housing), provided the opening remarks and explained that when the two committees were combined, the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which is usually considered, was omitted from the agenda. Councillor Lisa Homan confirmed that a Housing Representatives Forum meeting was held on 12th January 2021 and attended by 17 Housing Representatives, which provided them with an opportunity to provide their feedback on the HRA. It was noted that the presentation and the minutes of this meeting were available upon request.
Councillor Adronie Alford expressed her concern that the Committee had not received the HRA and asked to be provided with all the documentation.
Action: That officers provide Councillor Adronie Alford with all the HRA documentation.
Corporate Budget Context
Emily Hill (Director of Finance), gave a presentation outlining the Council’s budget proposals and proposed changes in fees and charges in the budget. The gross General Fund budget rolled forward to 2021/22 was £528m of which the net budget requirement of £156.9m was funded from Council resources (such as council tax and business rates) and general government grant. She showed slides that outlined the local spending power increase across local government and the Council. It was noted that the spending power increase for both London and the Council were below the national average. An overview of the Council’s savings and growth including the reserves and general balances was also provided.
The budget proposals for 2021/22 and forecast to 2024/25 were summarised. A balanced budget was proposed for 2021/22 with a contribution to general balances, arising from one-off/ non recurrent benefits, to enhance financial resilience of £1.1m and set aside a contingency for unfunded Covid-19 pressures of £1.1m. The direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Council expenditure and income was summarised. The government had announced that the fees and charges grant compensation scheme would continue in the first quarter of 2021/22 and that a new emergency Covid-19 pressures grant of £6.2m would be receivable in 2021/22. The Council anticipated a reduction in business rates income and the ending of the London business rates pool. There would also be an impact on the economic downturn on major Council projects, such as the Civic Campus or Education City development, and risk to future contributions from developers.
Summing up Emily Hill (Director of Finance) provided an overview of the budget assumptions for 2021/22. These included an increased budget gap between 2021/22 to 2023/24 to fund the unfunded 2020/21 collection fund losses. Including a lower council tax rate and allowance for an increase in the number of residents entitled to claim council tax support.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked for further clarification to be provided on what was covered in the earmarked and restricted reserves. In response, Emily Hill (Director of Finance) outlined the difference between the two reserves, noting that the earmarked reserves were amounts set aside for specific policy purposes such as the Civic Campus and that the restricted reserves were for grants and insurances purposes. It was noted ... view the full minutes text for item 3.