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Minutes of the Meeting held on Wednesday, 17th June 2020 (previously circulated).
It was proposed by Councillor Jason Wood, seconded by Councillor Roger Dennison and agreed that the minutes of the meeting held on 17th June 2020 be agreed as a correct record.
It was noted that the minutes would be signed by the Chair when the minute book was available.
Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chair
There were no items of urgent business.
Declaration of Interests
To receive declarations by Councillors of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.
Councillors are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting).
Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Councillors should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting.
In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Councillors are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct.
There were no declarations of interest.
In accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 15, the Chair advised that he had invited the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Finance to the meeting in order for them to inform the Panel and answer questions on this item.
The Chief Finance Officer provided the Panel with an update on the current financial position in line with the Council’s June’s MHCLG submission.
A briefing presented to Cabinet on 30th June 2020 was appended to the report. This provided details of the potential effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial position of the Council in line with June’s MHCLG submission and set out scenarios (worse and best case), together with their potential implications for Council’s finances in 2020/21.
A number of tables were contained within the briefing, these were:
Table 1 - General Fund Revenue Budget Projections 2020/21;
Table 2 – Reconciliation between June and May’s MHCLG returns with commentary on the movements;
Table 3 – Impact on the Council’s Reserves;
Table 4 – Impact on Reserves 2021/22;
Tables 5 and 6 – Business Rates and Council Tax.
The Chief Finance Officer concluded his briefing by informing that although the recent Government announcement provided some clarification, predicting what the final impact of COVID-19 on the Council’s finances might be was extremely difficult. This was dependent on numerous factors and variables the majority of which were out of the Council’s control, or influence.
The largest factor impacting the Council’s finances was the significant exposure to loss of income from fees and charges. Whilst it appeared that Salt Ayre Leisure Centre will remain closed for a while longer it was hoped to see a significant improvement in other key income areas such as car parking. The next few months would be crucial for the Council given the recent easing of restrictions it should be able to get a better understanding of how fast, or slow any recovery would be and how that would impact on the Council’s finances.
The Panel was asked to consider the Cabinet briefing and attachments in line with their Terms of Reference within the Constitution relating to the monitoring and review of the council’s performance.
Panel Members asked several questions regarding the report, including the following:
· Detailed impact on fees and charges;
· Deferring of reserve expenditure;
· Recent changes received from the Government;
· Process to re-visit the minimum level of reserves;
· How many years it has taken to build up our current level of reserves;
· Government green/renewable energy initiatives and rateable values;
· Funding the future initiative;
· Consequences of struggling businesses and business rates and appeals;
· Business rates safety net;
· Government grants;
· Pandemic and no deal Brexit issues;
· Planned spends and deferment of spends;
· Bringing forward expenditure projects;
· Aiding the District’s recovery.
The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Finance informed the meeting that a review was currently ongoing of expenditure projects, with some projects being brought forward in order to aid the District’s recovery. The Council’s up-to-date position would be reported ... view the full minutes text for item 10.