Purpose of Report
To present the second quarter performance, up to 30 September 2020, specifically including the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s General Fund, Housing Revenue Account, Housing Repairs Service and Capital Programmes.
That the Executive:
(1) Notes the financial performance for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020, the projected outturns for 2020/21 and the impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s financial position;
(2) Notes the underlying impact of the pressures and underspends identified in paragraphs 3.2, 4.3 and 5.2 of the report, together with Appendices B, D and F.
(3) Approves the proposed contribution to earmarked reserves as set out in paragraph 3.11 of the report.
(4) Approves the proposed contributions from earmarked reserves as set out in paragraph 3.13 of the report.
(5) Notes the changes to the General Fund Investment Programme and Housing Investment Programme as approved by the Chief Finance Officer as set out in paragraphs 7.3 and 7.10 of the report respectively.
(6) Approves the changes to the Housing Investment Programme, as set out in paragraph 7.11 of the report.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reason for Decision
The report provided updates on the Council’s General Fund, Housing Revenue Account, Housing Repairs Service and Capital Programmes for the current financial year and set out the estimated impact on the budget of the Covid-19 pandemic following application of the budget revisions approved at quarter one in order to maintain a balanced budget for 2020/21.
Covid-19 had taken its toll on the financial resilience of the Council as income streams had plummeted and there had been a requirement to incur costs to ensure services were being provided throughout this difficult period and to respond to consequences of the pandemic. The impacts of this were not restricted to the current financial year but would have a significant impact over the period of the current Medium Term Financial Strategy and possibly beyond. The cumulative impact of these challenges had resulted in significant shortfalls on the General Fund and on the Housing Revenue Account prior to the offset of any Government funding.
In response to calls from the sector, the Government had allocated a total of £4.6 billion of general purpose grant funding to support local authorities to cover expenditure related pressures and announced an income compensation scheme to recompense councils for approximately 75p in every £1 of lost sales, fees and charges income. To date, the Council had received funding support of £1.877 million for Covid-19 related pressures and was forecasting to receive approximately £2.980 million through the income compensation scheme. There had, however, been no additional financial support provided to the Housing Revenue Account.
Despite the Government’s financial support package, the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account could not absorb the level of budget shortfalls without having to take some measures to reduce some areas of expenditure. The decisive action taken by the Council, as approved at quarter one, had allowed the Council to be able to continue to ... view the full minutes text for item 41