Venue: Customer Service Centre, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter
Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer Tel: 01392 265115 or email email@example.com
Note: Postponed from 12 October 2021
Appointment of Chair
Members were invited to confirm Councillor Vizard as the Chair for the meeting and indicated their affirmation by a show of hands.
RESOLVED that Councillor Vizard be appointed Chair of the meeting of the Combined Strategic and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item. Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.
No declarations of discloseable pecuniary interest by Members were made.
Presentation by the Director Finance
The Director Finance presented an update on the current progress in the development of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) which was either as the result of a Council decision or due to elements outside of the Council’s control, such as decisions governed by Central Government. He reported the reductions required to form a balanced budget over the MTFP which had increased from the previous figure of £6 million to £7.5 million up to the period 2024/25. The increase was made up of a £600,000 expectation prior to Covid in relation to the Leisure budget, and a £900,000 budget in respect of the decision taken by improving the waste collection service and the introduction of a food waste collection service.
The Director Finance further explained the important influences on the process which included the following:-
· challenges projected outside the Council’s control in terms of the Business Rate re-set, New Homes Bonus and additional income;
· the given projected challenges of inflation, additional services pressures and additional debt repayment; and
· Year by year total pressures.
The pressures were offset by a potential £1.1 million of additional income.
· Business Rate re-set £2.4 million
the Government’s intention was to reset the rates with the £2.4 million potentially shared out across the rest of the country, and an anticipated share of around £300,000 for Exeter. It was anticipated the Government reset would take place within the period of the Council’s MTFP and tie in with the revaluation of business rates for businesses around the country in 2023.
· New Homes Bonus £1.9 million
the Government had announced the end of New Homes Bonus (NHB) and despite consulting on a replacement scheme, have not announced its replacement or of the future opportunities for generating future income.
· Inflation £1.5 million
Inflation was a significant pressure, driven by the rising fuel prices as part of the goods and supplies needed for service delivery and was likely to impact on the Council’s budget.
· Additional Services costs £1.7 million
additional services costs such as the decision to bring back Leisure in-house in the middle of a Pandemic has resulted in income having been significantly impacted, but as the service seeks to recover, it will be part of the solution as well. The additional cost of delivering a new waste service with food collection in the city was also included.
· Additional debt repayment £1.1 million
the debt repayment process included repaying borrowing for historic decisions when money was set aside from the NHB so as to minimise service reductions.
In addition, the following savings would be made over the next three years which included an additional £2 million in 2022/23; £3.6 m in 23/24 and £1.9m in 24/25 (reserves of £600k will reduce the impact of the £3.6m figure)
The following was also highlighted –