The Interim Section 151 Officer presented the Financial Outturn Report 2020/21.
The Committee was informed that an underspend of £291,000 was anticipated for the end of the 2020/21 financial year. This was mainly due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on expenditure and project delivery. The Council had received in excess of £1 million in Covid grant funding during the financial year in a number of different tranches. This had helped to achieve a balanced position, although there had been pressures arising from the pay award to staff. Earmarked reserves had increased to £11.4 million, which was higher than had originally been anticipated, mainly due to the impact of the Covid pandemic. An additional £5.8 million had also been carried forward in the capital programme. The Council’s Corporate Management Team (CMT) was reviewing both the earmarked reserves and the capital programme to ensure that these were rationalised as part of the 2023/4 budget process.
In the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) there had been an underspend of £1.9 million and in addition, the HRA capital programme had been underspent by £7 million. Again, the underspends had generally occurred due to the impact of Covid-19 on project delivery.
Following the presentation of the report, Members commented that Covid-19 had had a major impact on expenditure during the 2020/21 financial year. Whilst it was acknowledged that this was unavoidable, Members commented that it was important to ensure that Council staff did not assume that this represented a standard pattern of expenditure, as the situation by 2022/23 had changed significantly and inflation was placing a lot of pressure on the costs of service delivery. Officers clarified that the report related to the 2020/21 financial year. CMT was ensuring that current expenditure was managed carefully and the reprofiling of earmarked reserves had already resulted in the allocation of funding to help support an anticipated increase in the cost of utilities services for the Council moving forward.
1) the revenue outturn position, which was reported as an underspent of £373,954.05 is corrected to a position of an underspend of £290,309;
2) the final C-19 Grant position is £580,000 at 31st March;
3) the final level of General Fund and Earmarked Reserves are £1,889k and £11,473k respectively; and
4) the final capital position for the year is a £0.266m underspend against approved budget.