Contact: Lisa Richards
To receive apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence.
To consider the report of the Head of Finance.
· Initial Financial Impact on the Council’s Revenue Budget 2020/21 Arising from the Covid 19 Pandemic
· The report under consideration had been considered by Cabinet on Tuesday 5 May 2020
· The information provided was an initial forecast and it was noted that there was uncertainty going forward
· The report identified areas where income was being lost, costs were increasing due to increased demand and new costs that are arising
· A reduction in the collection of Council Tax and non-domestic rates has already been noted but it is not yet clear if these payments are delayed or lost
· The agreed 2020/21 budget also required £10.7M cost reductions and these are at risk as services are diverted during the pandemic
· Cost reductions are being achieved in some areas with materials not being purchased. This is likely to be temporary.
· Transport payments are being made at 75% to maintain sustainability
· There is a significant impact on the capital programme and slippage here will have a positive impact on the revenue budget
· Grants are a cause of concern – some are being maintained, some withdrawn and some redirected. Additional grants are likely in relation to Covid 19.
· Cost pressures are predicted to be in excess of £10M by the end of June. It was acknowledged that this was based on one month’s expenditure and would undoubtedly change
· Reserves would only be able to cover these additional costs for four months. Specific reserves are being reviewed to assess whether they could be diverted but there would be an impact on services if such action were taken.
· In order to mitigate against potential losses, consideration will be given to furloughing staff particularly where those officers are employed in income generating services. However, this is a complex area with some roles having a mix of business-based work in addition to income generating work. The Portfolio Holder noted that advice from the Welsh Government indicated that income generating roles should be considered for furlough. Gold Command would be considering furlough during the next week. The Portfolio Holder noted that whether staff were furloughed or continued to work, the costs fell to the public purse. He was of the opinion that staff should continue to work to enable day to day business to be carried out wherever possible and keep the economy working. There was some debate that it seemed as if the lower paid were being singled out for furlough and that this was not equitable, nor did it send out the right message regarding the value of jobs. The Portfolio Holder confirmed that this was not the case and that all staff engaged in Income Generation could be considered.
· Members noted that furlough could be backdated but asked that those decisions be made sooner rather than later so that staff could be provided with some clarity.
· Would the Council second staff to assist with Track and Trace? The Head of Finance informed the Panel that the Authority would be expected to participate in Track and Trace ... view the full minutes text for item 2.