Agenda item

Council Fund Budget 2017/18 and 2018/19 - Use of Reserves and Balances


That the report be noted.


The Chief Executive gave a verbal report to advise the Council on the projected out-turn of reserves and balances at the close of the 2017/18 financial year and the possibility of the release of further reserves and balances to supplement the planned schools funding budget for 2019/20.


The Chief Executive referred to the  previous meeting of the Council held on 20 February, and a resolution arising from consideration of the Council Fund  Budget

2018/19, that a report be submitted to the next meeting to provide an update on any

additional one-off funding from Welsh Government (WG) to be used to fund in-year

expenditure and thereby increase levels of reserves at the year-end, with priority to be given to supplementary funding support  for schools.   He said  that the Authority was confident that WG would announce some one-off extra funding specifically for schools in 2017/18 shortly.


The Chief Executive explained that in the past week the WG had announced additional funding for Flintshire of £428K for social services;  specifically for winter service pressures around domiciliary care, residential care, and adaptations at home.

He advised that the funding did not have to be  spent on additionality and would be

allocated to expenditure which had already been committed.  Therefore the allocation

would reduce the Council’s projected overspend for 2017/18 by £428K and would

release a reserve of the same amount for redistribution. 


Following discussion with the Leader of the Council, Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member for Education, and Corporate Finance Manager, the Chief Executive said  it was proposed that Council considered increasing the available £428K to £460K to raise the additional funding for schools for 2018/19 to £1.6M.   He emphasised that the additional 1.71% funding from Council Tax would be included in the base funding for schools year on year but the additional funding from the WG was ‘one-off’ and would not be part of the base funding each year. 


The Chief Executive explained that the Authority would receive a further £1.427M capital from the WG as its share for road schemes and repairs in Wales in year.     The Chief Executive explained that he also expected that the WG would make an announcement soon on additional one-off funding this year which was to be passported to schools via local authorities for spend on next year’s budget.  It was proposed that following any such announcement that any further one-off funding also be awarded to schools.


Councillor Aaron Shotton moved the proposal to top-up the  £428K additionality to £460K which would provide a total of £1.6M additional investment to schools for 2018/19.  He welcomed the positive development from the WG and expressed appreciation it had been recognised there was a need for additional funding by local authorities and the recommendation that £460K be passported to schools which would be welcomed.  Councillor Shotton said the Council would continue through the collective voice of the Welsh Local Government Association to lobby the WG for any further opportunities for budget underspends in the WG to be allocated to local authorities and specifically for the provision for education. 


Councillor Richard Jones welcomed the additional funding but emphasised the need for caution as the £460K and any additional funding received from the WG was one-off and would not be sustainable for schools in the future.


The Chief Executive referred to two unforeseen budget pressures in year.  He

commented on the WG withdrawal of the Minority Ethnic and Language Grant (MEAG)

of around £175K  which supported  English as a Second Language and traveller

learning needs, and advised that this service had to be maintained.  He also

commented on the pressure on the winter maintenance budget and explained that the

base annual winter budget had been spent, with a draw-off from the winter

maintenance reserve required. The Council might also need to access the WG

reserves for salt provision.  He said that the Council would need to re-build for a reserve

for the 2019/20 winter period.


Councillor David Healey welcomed the additional funding for schools but reiterated the view expressed by Councillor Richard Jones that there was a need for schools to be cautious as only part of the additional funding was guaranteed for future years.  He emphasised the need for lobbying to continue to ensure that the WG  produced a ‘fairer deal’ for Flintshire which was a low funded authority.  He also commented on the need to lobby  the UK government on the issue of national pay awards which should be funded nationally and not passported to either  local authorities or to schools,  and for an end to the overarching policy of austerity which was causing distress across the UK.  




That the report be noted.

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