The Revenue and Capital Budget Report was introduced by Councillor Andy Wilson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance who advised Cabinet of the Following:
· The Council was planning for next year’s budget in a state of continued uncertainty from central government around the pandemic, the future of local government finance and the long-term funding pressures of essential services.
· Council Tax and the Adult Social Care precept were temporary measures and long-term pressures required longer term funding solutions and no clear plan on the future of social care and how we would pay for it had been forthcoming from this government. As a result, local authorities were forced by central government to raise Council Tax in order to achieve a sustainable financial footing.
· Despite the uncertainty, and the significant spending to support residents through this crisis, the prudent financial management meant the Council was able to set a balanced Medium-Term Financial Strategy, through a mixture of income generation, savings and use of reserves.
· The Council was committed to helping the most vulnerable, and had expanded the welfare safety net for people in financial difficulty so that more people could access the support they needed.
· An extra £500,000 in emergency financial support for residents at immediate risk of financial hardship.
· An extra £1million to the budget for discretionary housing payments to support residents who may struggle to pay their housing costs due to the virus.
· Additional funding for local advice surgeries to ensure that help was at hand to assist residents in finding the support they needed.
· The Council was considering what further support could be given to those who needed to self-isolate, which had been the major gap in the government’s flawed Covid-19 response.
· Expanded support for vulnerable people who struggled to pay their Council Tax by increasing the scope and funding for our Council Tax Support scheme.
· The administration’s budget reflected its values, supporting people at a time of hardship and rebuilding the welfare safety net removed by central government.
· Support to vulnerable people in our communities would continue, but central government needed to ensure the promise of funding for local authorities in full for the work and resources used to fight Covid-19 was honoured.
Councillor Jonathan Bartley addressed Cabinet and made the following points:
· He looked forward to the Council debate, and felt that there was a wide range of support measures for local people.
· It would have been better if the Council Tax Support Scheme could have been brought forward to this year.
· It was concerning that some level of enforcement had begun to be taken against those who were receiving Council Tax support, and he wanted reassurance that would not be the case
Cabinet Members made the following comments and ... view the full minutes text for item 4