Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Jo Maloney Governance Officer
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DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members to give notice of any interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.
No declarations were made by Executive Members.
To consider a report of the Executive Member for Finance and Investment and the Corporate Director of Finance and Systems.
The Executive Member for Finance and Investment introduced a report which set out the Executive’s updated three year budget strategy proposals and draft revenue budget proposals for 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the period 2022-24. The Executive Member drew attention to the scale of the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic since the budget for the current year had been set, and the expected ongoing impacts over coming years, not least because of the cumulative effect of the preceding years of financial restraint on the Council’s overall budgetary position. It was noted that the proposals were currently in draft; it was conceivable that the financial position would change before the budget was finally set in February 2021; and that, whilst a range of difficult options had been set out, this report represented the beginning of a conversation and consultation during which a range of views would be sought and taken into account. Thanks were accorded to the officers for their work in developing and bringing forward the current consultation proposals.
Questions on the proposals set out in the report were invited from Members. These centred on: the nature of proposals in relation to Flixton House and Altrincham Town Hall, on which it was clarified that the Executive’s strong preference was for a leasing arrangement; the potential impact of any further Government support on the options now being put forward for consideration; concerns regarding the appropriate usage of assistive technology in social care; the need for effective communications in respect of any waste management changes; options for savings in street lighting energy costs; potential staffing implications of the voluntary severance scheme; and the position in respect of a range of tree planting and replacement initiatives, on which an update on the former would be provided outside the meeting.
It was reiterated that the current report set out initial proposals, in a changing environment, and which were explicitly being published for the purposes of consultation, including with the Council’s Scrutiny Members. The recommendations as set out were approved.
(1) That the 2021/22 to 2023/24 proposed budget strategy, draft revenue budget and MTFS including the income and savings proposals be approved for the purposes of consultation only (where necessary) and that these proposals be referred to the Scrutiny Committee for their consideration.
(2) That the proposal be noted to increase Council Tax by 3.99% in 2021/22 (comprising 2% adult social care precept and 1.99% general increase) and by similar levels for 2022/23 and 2023/24.
(3) That the remaining budget gap for the years 2021/22 to 2023/24 be noted.
(4) That the updated Asset Investment Strategy included at Annex G to the report be adopted and that it be recommended that Council approve the updated Strategy in November 2020.
(5) That it be noted that the draft proposals are subject to various consultation exercises, analysis and impact assessments, movements in core funding, specific grants, costing and robustness assessments.