Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Alexander Murray  Governance Officer

Items
No. Item

15.

MINUTES

To receive and, if so determined, to approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2020.

Minutes:

The Chair informed the Committee that the minutes of the meeting held 15 June 2020 would be tabled at the next meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held 15 June 2020 be tabled at the meeting 29th July 2020.

16.

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.

Minutes:

No additional declarations were made.

17.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC

A maximum of 15 minutes will be allocated to public questions submitted in writing to Democratic Services (democratic.services@trafford.gov.uk) by 4pm, two working days prior to the meeting. Questions must be within the remit of the Committee or be relevant to items appearing on the agenda and will be submitted in the order in which they were received.

Minutes:

No questions were received.

18.

IMPACT OF COVID 19 UPON THE COUNCIL'S BUDGET, INVESTMENT, AND THE TRAFFORD ECONOMY pdf icon PDF 433 KB

To receive an update of the position in Trafford from the Executive Member for Finance and to discuss the boroughs continued response to COVID 19.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance gave a brief update on the Council situation. Local authority finance had been in the news recently due to the increase in costs and decrease in expected income. The Council had calculated that with existing pressure for the 2020/21 financial year plus the impact of COVID 19 the Council’s in year deficit was £42.1m. Grants from government had covered £11.2m and £4.7m had been identified from the Council’s reserves. This left a gap of around 26.1m that the Council needed to address. The Executive had been looking at all options to bridge the gap, including potentially issuing a section 114 notice. The Committee were informed that issuing a 114 Notice was for the section 151 officer to decide rather than the Executive.

 

The Deputy Director of Finance added that in February the Council set a balanced budget prior to the COVID 19 pandemic. All councils had been hit by the pandemic differently in Trafford the Council’s budget for 2021 was around £175m of which £100m came from Council tax with the remainder mainly coming through attained business rates. The Council’s position was under constant review with new estimates being generated as to the overall impact as new information became available. The Council submitted updates to MHCLG on a monthly basis and MHCLG were collating data from all councils to build up the national picture.

 

The Council had received grants of £12.5 million from the Government but some of this had been used in the previous financial year as COVID 19 had started at the end of the 2019/20 fiscal year. The Government were looking at possibly providing funding but they were looking at other options as well. Councils were expected to help themselves as much as possible to share the financial burden. The first annual budget monitoring report was being written for the executive on the 20th July. Extra funding was being provided to aid in COVID 19 specific work, for example track and trace, but that funding could not be used to reduce the £42m deficit.

 

 

The Director of Finance then moved onto answering the questions that had been provided by the Committee. The First question related to council tax reduction by 5% which may increase as furlough came to an end. The director stated that in April council tax was down by 6% and just over 5% in May. The Council had seen an increase in take up of the council tax support scheme and there was funding available from Government for that uptake. The Council were monitoring the situation month by month. The Executive Member for Finance added that Trafford had a large number of self-employed people and many of them had to apply for universal credit due to the impact of COVID 19, which had led to them claiming council tax support.

 

The Executive Member for Finance moved onto the question relating to the Council’s reserves. The Committee were informed that a line by line review of the Council’s reserves  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

WORK PROGRAMME REPORT pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive a report from the Statutory Scrutiny Officer.

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the work programme report and asked Committee Members if they had any comments or amendments that they wanted to make. No comments or comments were made and the report was noted.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

20.

ITEMS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

To suggest and agree items, relating to the COVID 19 Pandemic, to be on the agenda for future meetings of the Committee.

Minutes:

The Chair opened the item by asking all Committee Members whether there were any items they wanted to add to the Committee work programme. The Vice Chair stated that the Committee would continue to have interest in the Council’s work around the budget. In particular the Vice Chair felt that the Committee should focus on how to ensure Trafford was open for business and provide value by looking at coming up with views that the Executive may not have thought of.

 

Councillor Anstee added that everything was currently very uncertain and felt that the Committee could aid the executive in turning that uncertainty into certainty. It was suggested that this be done through pre-decision scrutiny and asking the Executive to bring plans to the Committee as they were being developed so that the Committee could help to shape them.

 

The Chair agreed with both Councillors’ suggestions and asked that they be added to the work programme along with the continued review of the Council’s overall budgetary position.

 

RESOLVED: That the topics raised be added to the Committee work programme