Agenda item

Finance Update Report: April - May 2021

To inform Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the Council’s 2021/22 financial position as at the end of May 2021.


The Interim Director of Finance and Section 151 Officer presented a report which informed the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the Council’s 2021/22 financial position as at the end of May 2021 and covered the general fund revenue budget, the housing revenue account budget and respective capital programmes.


With regard to the revenue budget associated with the general fund, the budget set by Council on 1 March 2021 was £17.351 million. Cabinet, at its meeting on 13 July 2021, had approved budget carry forwards thus increasing the overall budget to  £19.19m and this was shown at table  paragraph 2.2 of the report which outlined the actual position as at 31 May 2021.


It was reported that the co-payment losses scheme had continued into 2021/22 and would cover income losses for the period 1 April to 30 June 2021. The provisional claim for April and May based on the actual net income losses declared in accordance with the Government scheme criteria was £134,000 and would be utilised to cover specific income shortfalls as defined by the scheme.


Significant income streams for the general fund were outlined in table 3 of the report and totalled £6.805m based upon the current budget, with actual income to date totalling £2.189m and was £146,000 lower than budgeted, equating to a 2% variance overall.


The 2021/22 general fund capital programme was £4.085m which had been approved by Council on 1 March 2021. The summary of movements associated with the capital programme was set out in table 4 of the report, with the general fund capital position being summarised in table 5.


The Council’s housing revenue account revenue budget as set by Council on 1 March 2021 was £5.435m, with the budgeted surplus being fully utilised to fund future investment in stock growth and property maintenance. Table 6 of the report summarised the summary of movements in relation to this revenue budget, with table 7 outlining the actual position as at 31 May 2021.


The housing revenue account capital programme for 2021/22 was set by Council on 1 March 2021 as £22.716m, with table 8 of the report showing a summary of movements and table 9 outlining the actual position as at 31 May 2021.


It was reported that cashflow management remained an important area of focus given the unpredictability in the Council’s income streams, particularly Council Tax and Business Rates, whilst the Council had legal obligations to continue to pay precepts and contractual payments. An assurance was given that cash flow management remained a key focus and was reviewed daily, with the cashflow model outlined at Appendix A of the report. This showed a positive cash flow position with collection rates also performing strongly in the current climate.


During discussion, Members raised the following points:


  • Concerns were raised regarding a lack of action relating to the HRA Capital Programme. It was stated that the programme had seen a significant underspend.


It was noted that decision makers were waiting for the results of the Stock Condition Survey Waiting before committing any money to the building of new housing. It was advised that the Council needed to know the current condition of existing housing stock before identifying funds for refurbishments. The Stock Condition Survey results were expected in October.


  • A query was raised as to why the Leisure Maintenance and Leisure Transformation Programmes were not referenced to within the report.


It was stated that revenue maintenance budgets were included within the budget framework each year. The variance analysis review had not identified any issues with the budget levels that had been set.


  • A query was asked as to whether there had been any progress relating to the St Martin’s Park project.


It was noted that the project was currently going through the necessary planning process. There had been no pressure from a financial position which meant that there was no need for a comment within the report. The Council had agreed that the Regeneration Reserve would act as the primary source of funding for the project.


  • It was suggested that social housing delivery should be monitored separately alongside the monitoring of affordable housing delivery.


  • A comment was made relating to the review of the Council-operated car parks and the subsequent price changes to parking charges. A concern was raised that the rise in parking charges had led to fewer residents using the car parks.


It was noted that a briefing on the car parking reviews would take place the following week.




a)    Following the receipt of the Stock Condition Survey, that the analysis of the results from a financial perspective be added to the Work Programme.


b)   That an appendix be included alongside the subsequent report outlining the criteria for how the Covid Recovery Reserve will be utilised.




That the Committee notes the actual 2021/22 position for the General Fund and HRA Revenue and Capital budgets as at the end of May 2021.


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