To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources seeking Members to note year-end forecasts and the financial pressures on the Council during the 1st Quarter ended 30th June 2020.
(1) the forecast year end position is currently for a decrease to the Council’s General Fund balance of £523k against a budgeted decrease of £49k be noted
(2) the uncertainty surrounding the exact levels of grant income to be received from Government will affect the eventual financial outcome for the year be noted
(3) the details of specific budgetary issues identified by officers and the actions being taken to address those issues be noted
(4) the current level of Capital expenditure as shown in Appendix 1 of the report be noted.
Cabinet considered the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources that sought Members to note year-end forecasts and the financial pressures on the Council during the 1st Quarter ended 30th June 2020.
The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources placed the report in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which had impacted all areas and stressed that the figures given were best estimates in current circumstances. In her own portfolio she highlighted that parking had been the most affected function and that the income from property investments had been positive and that a business rates rebate had been received in relation to the underspend in Asset Management and that income from the property investments was forecast to be positive.
In his portfolio the Cabinet Member for Environment noted the overspend due to COVID-19 and advised that the money would be claimed back from central government. He anticipated that the financial position would improve in the remaining three quarters of 2020/21. The Cabinet Member for Environment informed Members that income had risen due to increased recycling collections and recyclate values although he warned that the values do fluctuate.
The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods reminded Members that the overall position would have been worse without the tremendous efforts of officers and their teamwork alongside elected members of all parties.
The Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Growth reiterated the thanks due to officers, especially the Head of Policy and Resources and his team. She asked officers present for an indication of the COVID-19 losses and what proportion might be recovered from central government. The Head of Policy and Resources advised Members that 75 pence in the pound of lost income was expected to be reimbursed after a 5% deduction against the overall income budget. He however made it clear that the claim, due to be submitted at the end of the month, was still being worked on so the final figures were unknown but that £1 million was anticipated to be returned for the first quarter.
The Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure also acknowledged the work of officers but especially those at the Guildhall, Blackfriars Priory and Museum of Gloucester who despite the difficult circumstances had kept activity and public interest going in those venues. He further informed Members that they were mindful of the need to generate income opportunities and so the museum was already open to a limited extent and the Guildhall would follow soon.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy also particularly thanked the finance team not just for their achievements over the 1st quarter and reminded Members of the praise they regularly received from external auditors on presentation of their accounts. In regard to his own portfolio he noted that income from planning fees was on target after a deficit the previous year and advised Members that the £71,000 over budget forecast (9.1) was due to a reduction in land searches, an function whose place in the portfolio budget had been ... view the full minutes text for item 31