To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources presenting the Council’s final general fund revenue, capital outturn positions against agreed budgets for the 2020/21 financial year, and report on the performance against certain key financial performance indicators.
15.1 Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, Councillor Norman, introduced the report and explained that the year-end position of the general fund balance for the financial year had decreased to £122k against a budgeted decrease of £48k. She noted that a positive improvement of £100k had been made at the year end against a reported position of £222k back at Quarter 3. Councillor Norman confirmed that the level of earmarked reserves had increased by £9.738m to £13.771m which included the creation of a Section 31 Grant Repayment Reserve of £8.929m.
15.2 Councillor Norman confirmed that the Covid-19 pandemic had had a significant impact on variances between Council portfolios, with a net difference for Performance and Resources. She referred to an increased cost of providing housing subsidies, confirming that the Council had managed £36m in housing subsidy and benefit payments. Councillor Norman explained that the final quarter saw an adverse movement which resulted in a final overspend of £931k in this area, however she highlighted that this was out of the control of the Council. Councillor Norman confirmed that the Outturn figures included unrestricted Government support grants of £4.5m, as well as a final claim which was submitted in May 2021 for the period from December 2020 to March 2021. She also confirmed that the table included at 6.1 of the report showed the movement in the Council’s earmarked reserves.
15.3 Councillor Wilson thanked Councillor Norman for the report and referred to the significant items of lost income included in the narrative at 5.1. He noted that the Government had supplied the Council with £4.5m in specific Covid-19 related funding but noted that the lost income figures appear to total £6.2m. Councillor Wilson asked for clarification as to how the Council had managed to fund the shortfall.
15.4 The Head of Policy and Resources confirmed that the Council had managed to cover some of the additional costs through unbudgeted commercial income, such as the purchase of St Oswalds and cost savings as part of the ongoing disposal of the HKP warehouses.
15.5 In response to a further question from Councillor Wilson about the Property Sinking Fund Reserve and the current earmarked balance of £300k, the Head of Policy and Resources confirmed that the Council previously aimed for the fund to reach £1m, however this was unlikely whilst the City was recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Head of Policy and Resources noted that the Council may be in a different position in a few years.
15.6 The Chair invited the Cabinet Member and Head of Policy and Resources to comment on the lost income in Cultural and Leisure Services amounting to £0.901m, and the additional costs in Cultural and Related activities amounting to £0.936m.The Head of Policy and Resources confirmed that he would provide Members with a detailed breakdown of these figures.
15.7 In response to a further ... view the full minutes text for item 15