Issue - meetings

Council Fund Revenue Budget 2020/21 Stage Three Post-Settlement

Meeting: 18/02/2020 - Cabinet (Item 140)

140 Council Fund Revenue Budget 2020/21 Stage Three Post-Settlement pdf icon PDF 152 KB

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As detailed in the recommendations, with recommendations number 5 and 6 to be amended as:


(5)       That Cabinet recommends to Council a legal and balanced budget based on the calculations within this report and taking into full account (1) the contribution the additional national government funding will make (2) the Stage Three proposals for corporate financing solutions and (3) the expected uplift in the specific grant for social services of £0.426M;


(6)       That Cabinet recommends an annual increase in Council Tax of 4.5% for Council needs.  Once the levy of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority is added the full Council Tax increase will be 4.75%.


The Chief Executive introduced the Council Fund Revenue Budget 2020/21 Stage Three Post Settlement report which set out how the Council could achieve a legal and balanced budget for 2020/21 for stage three of the budget setting process.  The calculations were based on a maximum annual Council Tax rise of 5%.


            The forecast for 2020/21 had been revised to take into account those ‘open risks’ for which financial provision needed to be made for the budget to be prudent.  The work in hand on the remaining corporate financing options had since been completed and the outcomes were set out within the report.  The report also explained the remaining ‘open risks’ for 2020/21.  Copies of slides that would be presented to all Members at the meeting of County Council later that day were provided.


            The Corporate Finance Manager explained that the teacher pay awards were to be paid from the overall uplift in funding announced in the Provisional Settlement.  Therefore, provision for a 2% uplift had been included in the budget at an additional cost of £0.726M.  Additional pressures for Out of County Placements, the Coroner Service, and for the reduction in the Welsh Government Sustainable Waste Grant had been included together with an adjustment to the pressure for both the North Wales Fire and Rescue Levy.  The cost pressure for SEN of £0.400M was removed from the forecast pending further information on the specific Welsh Government Grant and would be considered as an open risk in 2020/21.  The adjustment to those pressures reduced the forecast gap from £15.629M which was reported to Council in December to £16.315M and he provided details of the budget solutions, as set out in the report, to close the gap.  These included employer pension contributions, social care commissioning, and single person discount – review of entitlement.  Having taken all of them into account, a gap of £0.246M remained.


            Councillor Roberts read out a statement on behalf of himself, the Cabinet Member for Finance, the Chief Executive and the Corporate Finance Manager:


“Cabinet is both pleased and relieved to be able to recommend to Council a legal and balanced Council Fund Revenue Budget for 2020/21. Faced with having to bridge another large budget gap, this year in the region of £16m, the budget-setting process has once again been a monumental task.


As our report sets out, we have a remaining budget gap of £0.246m to close against the revised budget forecast of £16.315m.


To close this remaining gap at Stage Three of budget-setting, and based on officer advice (as set out in 1.42 of the report), we are prepared to bring into play the expected uplift in the social services specific grant. We estimate that the uplift in this grant for Flintshire will be £0.426m. Based on the latest national advice we are confident that we should be able to allocate this grant against pre-planned expenditure for social care for 2020/21. We will use £0.246m of this grant to close the reported gap.


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