Agenda and minutes
Budget, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 1st March, 2021 10.00 am
Venue: Virtual meeting, Webcast at https://vimeo.com/518054311
Contact: Michael Williamson
The following procedure applies for this item:-
(i) The Committee will receive a statement by the Leader on the Executive’s budget proposals and the key issues underlining the budget process;
(ii) The Committee is invited to consider any issues arising from individual Directorate Budget Plans that chairs of scrutiny committees wish to draw specific attention to;
(iii) The Committee is invited to receive a Statement from the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration regarding the Housing Revenue Account calculations and to consider any amendment proposed in relation to the Housing Revenue account 2021/22 to 2023/24;
(iv) The Committee is invited to consider any amendments to the budget proposals; and
(v) The Committee is invited to summarise its findings and formulate its recommendations to the Council meeting on 5 March 2021.
Further to minute RGSC/21/11, the Committee considered a report of the Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer which provided an update on the Council’s financial position following scrutiny of the draft budget proposals and Directorate budget plans by all Scrutiny Committees.
The Committee received a statement from the Leader on the Executive’s budget proposals and the key issues underlying the budget process. In doing so, he outlined the context of the proposed budget, in particular, he referred to the continued challenges presented by the impact of the COVID19 pandemic had had on people and public finances and by the year on year funding reductions from national government, referencing the impact on health inequalities, the need to increase Council Tax due to a lack of government funding, the inability to plan for the long term due to a lack of a long term settlement, a lack of a long term solution to Adult Social Care funding and finally the backtracking from government to provide the necessary financial support the Council needed in addressing the COVID19 pandemic.
The Leader commented that the proposed budget aimed to balance the needs of communities with the resources available and the Council would be reliant on the use of reserves not only this year but also successive years however this was not a sustainable course of action in the long term, and in fact the reserves would require replenishment in the next few years. The proposed budget would look to support the most vulnerable in the city, including adults and children through early intervention and a continuation of investment to prevent cycles of decline, not just in health but in the city’s economy too.
The Chair then invited the Chair of Economy Scrutiny and the Chair of Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee to highlight issues arising from individual Directorate Budget Plans. In doing so the Chair of Economy Scrutiny highlighted the discussion held at Economy Scrutiny around the medium and long term economic recovery of the city and potential cuts to services that would result in a loss of income generation, noting however that these concerns had subsequently been addressed in the budget proposals before Committee and also the concerns in relation to work and skills inequalities arising from cuts to Council budgets. The Chair of Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee commented that the Committee had opposed the proposed savings in relation to parenting commission budget which had been removed from the budget proposals now being put forward.
The Committee then received a statement from the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration regarding the Housing Revenue Account calculations for 2021/22 to 2023/24 and its use. She advised of the challenges the Council faced in delivering its housing ambition that had arisen from the imposition of a 1% annual rent cut for four years from 1 April 2016 and the impact of this on the financial viability of the Housing Revenue Account and the amount of resources to invest in improving ... view the full minutes text for item 15.