Contact: Democratic Services, Email: Democraticservices@epsom-ewell.gov.uk tel: 01372 732000
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests in respect of any item of business to be considered at the meeting
No declarations of interest were made by councillors regarding items on the
agenda for the meeting.
The Panel is asked to confirm the Minutes of the Meeting of the Panel held on 29 January 2020 (attached) and to authorise the Chairman to sign them.
Subject to the following amendment to Minute 11 (4), the minutes of the meeting of the Financial Policy Panel held on 29 January 2020 were agreed as a true record to be signed by the Chairman:
· To note that the Council was successful in its attempt to be part of a Surrey Pool for Business Rates income for 2020/21.
This report updates the Council’s financial forecast and recommends financial targets for preparing the draft budget for 2021/22.
The Panel received the report on the proposed budget targets for 2021/22.
The following matters were debated by Councillors:
· The operation of MHCLG’s Income Compensation Scheme
· The margin for error within the forecasts
· The level and purposes for which reserves are earmarked, and whether reserves could be replenished in future
· How the forecasts are derived and linked to Appendices 1 and 2.
· The appropriateness of a CPI pay award in the current climate
· How New Homes Bonus has prudently been set-aside in previous years and could now be used to part fund the Council’s in year budget deficit, via a transfer from the Corporate Projects Reserve.
· How the Council must take an enterprising approach to income generation and delivering services
· That proposed savings must be realistic and deliverable
Following consideration of the above matters and the report’s contents, the Panel agreed to recommend to the Strategy and Resources Committee:-
(1) The following overall revenue budget target for 2021/22:-
i. That estimates be prepared including the delivery of savings already identified in the Financial Plan for 2021/22 totalling £336,000.
ii. That estimates include options to reduce organisational costs by £1,290,000 subject to government grant announcement, in order to minimise the use of working balances and maintain a minimum working balance of £2.5 million in accordance with the medium term financial strategy. The £1,290,000 should be funded as set out in Section 9 of this report.
iii. That at least £210,000 additional revenue is generated from an increase in discretionary fees and charges;
iv. That a provision for pay award is made of £408,000 that would allow for a 2% cost of living increase;
v. That a £950,000 contingency is provided for within the 2021/22 budget to mitigate the potential impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s finances in 2021/22.
(2) That officers are tasked in delivering a list of costed options that can be implemented to address any budget shortfall for 2021/22.
(3) The budget reporting timetable as set out in section 10 of the report.
(4) That 2020/21’s projected deficit be funded as set-out at paragraph 6.7 of the report.