Agenda and minutes

Budget, Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 7th December 2020 6.30 pm

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

Link: Click to view live meeting from 6.30pm on 7 December 2020

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

Declaration of Party Whipping

To declare if any issues to be covered in the Agenda are under party whip.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of party whipping.

3.

Public Question Time (15 minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public provided that a question does not relate to:

 

·         Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings, or

·         Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers

 

If you would like to ask a question at this meeting, please contact democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk as soon as possible and by Wednesday 2nd of December 2020 at the latest.

 

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

4.

Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)

To receive any petitions and deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation to:

 

·         Matters relating to individual Council Officers, or

·         Matters relating to current or pending legal proceedings

 

If you would like to present a deputation or petition at this meeting, please contact democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk as soon as possible and by Wednesday 2nd of December 2020 at the latest.

 

Minutes:

There were no petitions and deputations.

5.

Money Plan 2021- 2026 & Budget Proposals for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 382 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources which sets out the draft Money Plan for the period 2021 to 2026 and Budget Proposals for 2021 to 2022.

 

The format for the session will be as follows:

 

1.    Leader of the Council will introduce the report.

 

2.    The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources will add her comments on the report.

 

 

Each Cabinet Member will then present their respective portfolios in the following order (as set out in Appendix 5):

 

1. Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery & Growth.

2. Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources.

3. Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure.

4. Cabinet Member for Environment.

5. Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods.

6. Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning Strategy.

 

During their presentations the Cabinet Members will address the following points: -

 

1.Current staffing levels

 

2.Financial pressures for next year, including any potential reduction in income streams and, in particular, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

3.The proposed budget savings in their area for next year and how these will impact on the services they provide.

 

4.Any new income streams identified during the process.

 

5. The main priorities for their portfolio and whether any have changed as a result of the Draft Money Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.1         The Chair invited the Leader of the Council, Councillor Cook, and the Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, Councillor Hannah Norman, to address the Committee.

 

1.2      Councillor Cook provided an overview of the draft detailed budget for

2021/22 and the longer term plans up until 2026. He outlined that there were uncertainties regarding future incomes, expenditure and ultimately, the year-end position for 2020/21. Moreover, that the prudence exercised in past money plans meant that there were no savings made in last year ‘s budget, and none were expected to be made in next year ‘s budget. Nonetheless, like other authorities, the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the City Council ‘s finances this year, although Gloucester City Council was perhaps in a better position than others. Whilst the Council had been forced to identify some savings, it was not expected that these would have an impact on staffing levels or reduce the Council ‘s ambitions. For example, regeneration plans such as Kings Square and Kings Quarter redevelopment would be continuing. Moreover, some means of increasing income had also been identified. Councillor Cook then highlighted that cross-party input on the budget such as at the meeting at hand would be welcomed before the budget was finalised in February 2021. Likewise, residents’ views were also welcomed, and there would be an opportunity for them to have an input on the budget. Lastly, he thanked Officers who would been involved in its preparation.

 

1.2         Councillor Norman outlined that local government and particularly second-tier authorities continued to face a tough outlook, and this had been exacerbated by the pandemic. However, she added that Gloucester City Council had received over £2 Million in grants from central government to assist with increased spending due to the pandemic, in addition to claims for lost income. Furthermore, Councillor Norman outlined that due to the uncertain nature of 2020, the year-end position and hence the opening of the figures for the council general fund had been estimated by the finance team in consultation with all departments of the council. Additionally, as a result of the pandemic, central government had not completed a full spending review this year, and hence a one-year settlement would be provided. A financial settlement was expected before Christmas, and thus the proposals in front of members were only draft and could change significantly prior to the Council ‘s budget meeting in February 2021. Councillor Norman highlighted that if the Council received a greater than anticipated settlement, a budget equalisation reserve would likely need to be established to assist with managing any potential additional pressures on the Council’s finances in the short to medium term. Likewise, there were various assumptions within the money plan including the need to draw down on the Business Rates reserve and the increase of council tax by £5 or 2%. Salary increase assumptions had also been changed following the Chancellors’ announcement on public sector pay in November. Lastly, Councillor Norman echoed the Leader ‘s comments thanking staff who had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Date of Next Meeting

Monday 4th of January 2021.