The Committee heard from the Assistant Director, Finance, Business and Property Services with the 2021/2022 quarter four Budget and Treasury Monitoring report, setting out the revenue, capital and treasury management activity from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.
With regard to Revenue, she highlighted that the draft revenue forecast out-turn position for 2021/2022 was currently reflecting a net contribution to reserves of £0.187m relating to business-as-usual activity as of 31 March 2022. When then considering the impact of Covid-19 it was currently forecast that the additional costs and loss of income forecast for the financial year, offset by savings, would total a net pressure of £1.13m. This would leave a balance of £0.399m remaining against the Covid Support funds held to support Covid recovery (total £1.529m). The summary of forecast Covid financial implications were detailed within the report. The forecast General Fund Balance as of 31 March 2022 was £3.981m (excluding carry forwards). This was £1.481m above the minimum working balance of £2.5m agreed by this Committee. The items with significant variances were detailed the report.
With regard to Capital, the Committee heard that the Capital Forecast Out-Turn for 2021/2022 was £7.228m, a variance of £2.603m against the approved budget of £9.831m. Both the revenue and capital figures were subject to change once the actual outturn position was finalised, and the final outturn would be reported to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee in June 2022.
With regard to Treasury, it was explained that total external borrowing was currently £21.5m; however, no additional borrowing would be required this financial year. There had been no breaches of Treasury or Prudential Indicators within the period of this report. Average investments for the period (Jan-Mar) were £22.77m, which achieved an average rate of interest of 0.855% (Oct-Dec was 21.626m, 0.727%).
Members thanked the Assistant Director for the report and for the work of the team in preparing it. A Member of the Committee enquired as to the green home grants and sought clarification regarding the details of the grants, such as how many applications had been received, process and how successful the scheme was overall. It was confirmed this information would be circulated to Members.
There was discussion regarding car parking income levels, which were higher than had been expected, and a question was asked whether there had been consideration given to using reserves to put aside financial assistance for those who may be in need of it through the pandemic recovery and cost of living increases. It was highlighted that earlier in the evening the council tax discretionary fund had been approved and there would be ongoing consideration as price increases such as energy and fuel were set to continue. In the same vein, a Member of the Committee enquired as to the interest rate forecast and whether consideration had been given to a potential rapid increase in rates. It was noted that the annual report would be presented to the Committee in June which would have further updated information and finance Officers were monitoring the situation.
The Chairman reiterated her thanks for the report and also extended a personal thank you to the Assistant Director, who was due to leave the Council. Members joined with the Chairman in expressing heir thanks and best wishes.
Having been moved and seconded, with a unanimous vote it was
a) Members accept the forecast out-turn position of a £0.187m net contribution to reserves as of 31st March 2022 (see Section 2) relating to business-as-usual activity.
b) Members approve the use of Earmarked Reserves (2.4.1).
c) Members accept the use of Earmarked Reserves during the quarter approved by the Chief Finance Officer using delegated powers (2.4.2).
d) Members approve the amendment to the fees and charges schedules (2.3.2), to be effective immediately.
e) Members accept the Revenue budget carry forwards of £0.856m approved in year (Appendix 3).
f) Members accept the current projected Capital Outturn as detailed in 3.1.1.
g) Members approve the capital budget carry forwards of £2.449m, and to bring forward budget of £0.051m from 2022/2023 into 2021/2022, as detailed at 3.1.2.
h) Members accept the report, the treasury activity and the prudential indicators.