Agenda item

Quarter 1 Budget Monitoring report 2021/22

To consider the quarter 1, budget monitoring report for 2021/22.

 

 

Minutes:

The Chief Finance Officer introduced the Quarter 1 budget monitoring report for 2021/22. This report set out the 2021/22 General Fund and Housing Revenue Account positions, for both revenue and capital, as at 30th June 2021 (“Quarter 1”).

 

In terms of General Fund revenue expenditure – at the Quarter 1 stage – a budget over spend of £0.126 million was forecast, with projected net expenditure of £16.937 million against an overall budget provision of £16.811 million.

 

The financial pressures – especially on income – due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had carried over into 2021/22. The single largest item related to Leisure Facilities whereby an overspend of £532,161 was forecast by the year end; although greatly reduced income was assumed from the contract with Places Leisure in 2021/22, the third lockdown and social distancing requirements extended beyond expectations at the time the Budget was developed in late January/early February 2021.

 

A delay in asset disposals to Qualis as part of the Regeneration element of the initiative was also causing some financial pressure in areas such as Building Costs and Interest Receivable.   

 

However, despite the pressure, a projected surplus on Financing and Recharges was expected to help avoid any major overspending.        

 

As with 2020/21, the Housing Revenue Account position was less affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, income from Council Dwellings was outperforming its budget, although there was some spending pressure on Housing Repairs, which was not linked to the pandemic.

 

Councillor Bassett said that this seemed more of the same and was not sure where we were; or on the amount of government support; or what projects would get finished or what projects won’t get finished; and what we should start and what we should defer to keep our balance OK. On the Qualis side we have been watching very carefully the cost of materials etc. which had risen dramatically, as well as the fact we can’t get hold of them. This was causing problems on the work they had to carry out. We seem to be doing reasonably OK from what he could see, but it would need close monitoring.

 

Mr Hartgrove said the point on inflation was a good one, the coming Medium Term Financial Plan would take on board these estimates but noted there were one or two challenging bits in there.

 

Councillor Philip said we should remember we had set the budget back in January and had no idea of how long the lockdowns would go on for or of the rise in the cost of materials etc. We were working hard to improve our revenue side and reduce costs and were getting a better view month on month on what was actually happening against our budget and it gave us a chance to review how we did things and keep the budget closer to what we expected it to be.

 

Councillor Lion noted that informing us of how our finances fitted together we needed to see service plans to inform us of what was coming up. It would be helpful to have them presented to a Select Committee.

 

Mr Small noted that the Cabinet were currently reviewing these and once they were happy, they would be shared with the Select Committees.

 

Councillor H Kane said that a lot of people had to work from home, and we had a lot of space for businesses, would it be occupied? Councillor Philip noted that we were close to signing a lease for the second floor with Regus. We had moved out of the Conder building which was to be sold to Qualis for development. We were working towards a Community Hub on the ground floor to be fully occupied. We were maximising the use of this building. We did not expect to have spare space in the top floor when we started and were now expecting to get some revenue from it. We were maximising the financial benefit of the Civic Offices for the benefit for people who wanted to work close to home but not their office in town. We were looking for regeneration throughout the district and to make it more vibrant.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         The Committee noted the General Fund revenue position at the end of Quarter 1 (30th June 2021) for 2021/22, including actions being or proposed to improve the position, where significant variances had been identified;

 

2.         The Committee noted the General Fund capital position at the end of Quarter 1 (30th June 2021) for 2021/22;

 

3.         The Committee noted the Housing Revenue Account revenue position at the end of Quarter 1 (30th June 2021) for 2021/22, including actions proposed to ameliorate the position, where significant variances had been identified; and

 

4.         The Committee noted the Housing Revenue Account capital position at the end of Quarter 1 (30th June 2021) for 2021/22.

 

 

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