To inform Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the Council’s forecast 2020/21 financial position as at the end of September 2020
The report for the Quarter 2 Financials was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources. The Interim Director for Finance outlined the contents of the report, highlighting the following points:
Members heard that there was positive movement since the last position presentation to the committee, while the initial forecasting had been pre-Covid that had subsequently had an impact on services such as car parking. Central Government funding support of £118,000 had been received which was explained as not being ringfenced and having been allocated according to deprivation and demographics of the area. A further grant submission on behalf of the Arts was received at £210,000.
St Peters Hill (the Council’s offices) refurbishment had been deferred and reduced with a fundamental review planned to take into account recent working practice changes due to the pandemic, with many of those that are able to now working from home.
Members discussed the outlook following lower than expected funding to date while there was confidence that the level of support would not be far short of expectation and that the 1% cashflow shortfall could be covered. The Interim Director for Finance responded to the committee members questions that included:
· Access to urgent funding for reallocation of budgets was being investigated to assist with shortfall within the Housing Revenue Account for this financial year.
· An assessment of the impact of extra housing costs for this year would be required to correct issues resulting from the pandemic which was likely to impact in the next budget year.
· Leisure was a key area impacted by a funding gap due to no availability of direct government funding. However, there was money set aside by the Government with methodology confirmation awaited. SKDC had provided one off funding to the leisure centres, provided from reserves
· Housing growth forecast had been realigned due to a slowdown in new builds.
The Chief Executive informed the committee that to meet the challenges of Covid-19, additional staff had been hired to address the increased demands within the housing sector including private lets and bringing empty properties back into use.
It was noted by a member that further investigation of the HRA underspend had not been undertaken.
The Chairman expressed appreciation to the Finance Committee and Team for the level of detail within the report, and the contents were noted.