Agenda and minutes
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Decision that the minutes of the Council meeting held on 26 January 2021 be approved as a correct record for signature by the Mayor, subject to the correction of 21.C.10 Establishment of a Climate Change Working Group to remove the word (Chair) after Councillor Peter Wilson.
Declarations of Any Interests
Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.
If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.
There were no declarations of interests received.
The Mayor thanked key workers and all those involved in supporting people through these difficult times, particularly those currently supporting the vaccination programme.
Members of the public who have requested the opportunity to ask question(s) on any item(s) on the agenda will have three minutes to put their question(s) to the relevant Councillor. Members of the public will be allowed to ask one short supplementary question.
There were no public questions for consideration.
To seek approval to recommendations from the Executive contained in the attached report of the Chief Finance Officer (Introduced by the Executive Member for Resources) and within the appendices listed below.
The Deputy Leader and Executive Member (Resources), Councillor Peter Wilson, presented the Executive's General Fund Revenue and Capital Budget and Council Tax 2021/22.
Councillor Wilson thanked the officers and the Labour Group for their hard work and input into the proposed budget. He thanked all the staff working for the council for their contributions in delivering services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There continues to be uncertainty regarding the council’s funding streams with the Government announcing a one-year financial settlement for 2021/22 rather than the expected multi-year settlement. There are also anticipated changes to the Business Rate Retention system and reforms to the New Homes Bonus. Due to the this there is a proposed 1.99% increase in council tax in 2021/22.
Councillor Wilson referred to the achievements of the council in recent years, and the plans within the Corporate Strategy, which will be delivered by this proposed budget.
The council has been ambitious in its approach to meeting the budget deficit through generating efficiency savings and additional income. The council recognised that reductions in funding and ongoing expenditure budget pressures have resulted in a forecast budget gap of £0.881m in 2021/22 increasing to £4.168m in 2023/24. To bridge this budget gap the Executive Cabinet has achieved forecast cumulative budget savings and additional income of £1.228m over the medium-term.
The council has a strong track record of investing in assets that enable improvements to local infrastructure and deliver new services to residents within the borough, including
· Market Walk Shopping Centre extension
· Strawberry Fields Digital Office Park
· Primrose Gardens
· purchase of the Logistics House site
Despite the budget savings identified there remain large forecast budget deficits of £1.749m in 2022/23 and £2.794m in 2023/24. To achieve a sufficient reduction in net expenditure the council’s strategy will be:
1. To make the council more financially self-sufficient with specific emphasis on creating investment that provides benefits to residents and businesses whilst also generating income.
2. To realise savings through the procurement of its contracts including joint contractual arrangements with South Ribble Council.
3. To identify efficiencies through investment in infrastructure, ICT and through exploring alternative delivery models that will enable the council to balance the budget whilst seeking to minimise the impact on front line service users
In summary, the proposals will:
Involving residents in improving their local area and equality of access for all
· £100,000 to support future planning applications and enable us to, if needed, defend locally made decisions.
· £60,000 to continue to support vulnerable individuals through funding for the social prescribing team – as well as securing more investment from the NHS.
Clean, safe and healthy homes and communities
· £500,000 including the removal of asbestos and for the demolition of bingo hall to make way for public realm works in the town centre making the town centre an even better place to live and work.
· £100,000 per year to improve the services from Chorley Bus Station.
A strong local economy
· £400,000 to fund our large commissions which enable third sector organisations to ... view the full minutes text for item 21.C.19
To consider a report of the Conservative Group.
The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor John Walker, expressed his thanks to all the medical staff and support staff engaged in delivering the vaccination programme.
Reference was made to the grants made available by the Government relating to supporting businesses and residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councillor Walker advised that the Conservative group had agreed to put opposition to the budget aside and focus on looking to the future.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Debra Platt, thanked NHS and all workers for their contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Members then debated the General Fund Revenue and Capital Budget and Council Tax 2021/22.
Councillor Martin Boardman, supported the approach of the Conservative group, but queried the need to increase council tax. Councillor Wilson noted the cumulative effect of not increasing council tax and the unknown impact of the fair funding review. He acknowledged increasing council tax was a difficult decision, but it was the right thing to do in the circumstances.
The motion, as indicated in Agenda Items 5 was proposed by the Deputy Leader and Executive Member (Resources), Councillor Peter Wilson, and seconded by the Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, was then put to the vote.
In line with the legal requirement for all budget decisions to be recorded, this proposal was put to the vote and recorded as follows:
For: Councillor Steve Holgate (Mayor), Councillor Julia Berry (Deputy Mayor) and Councillors Aaron Beaver, Alistair Bradley, Terry Brown, Mark Clifford, Christopher France, Gordon France, Margaret France, Peter Gabbott, Anthony Gee, Danny Gee, Tom Gray, Yvonne Hargreaves, Alex Hilton, Hasina Khan, Zara Khan, Margaret Lees, Roy Lees, Laura Lennox, Sheila Long, Adrian Lowe, Marion Lowe, Matthew Lynch, June Molyneaux, Alistair Morwood, Steve Murfitt, Beverley Murray, Gillian Sharples, Paul Sloan, Joyce Snape, Kim Snape, Neville Whitham, Alan Whittaker, Peter Wilson
Abstain: Martin Boardman, Val Caunce, Keith Iddon, Debra Platt, John Walker,
The vote was carried by majority, and it was therefore a Decision
That the budget and proposals as set out in the report in item 5 and supporting appendices be approved to include:
a) Approve the budget and proposals set out in this report including:
· Council Tax set out in the resolutions (at Appendix A)
b) Note Special Expenses and Parish Precepts (at Appendix B)
c) Approve the Council’s Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) (Appendix C)
d) Note the Council’s forecast cumulative budget deficit & budget strategy 2021-22 to 2023-24 (Appendix D)
e) Note significant budget movements from the 2020/21 budget (at Appendix E)
f) Note the general fund forecast assumptions (at Appendix F)
g) Approve the capital programme for 2020/21 to 2023/24 (Appendices G1, G2 & G3)
h) Approve the Capital Strategy (Appendix H)
i) Approve the Treasury Management Strategy (Appendix I) and note the advice of the treasury management consultants (Appendix I1)
j) Approve the Council’s Pay Policy (at Appendix J) and publication on the Council’s website from April 2021
k) Note the advice of the Statutory Finance Officer in relation to the robustness of the ... view the full minutes text for item 21.C.20
To consider any changes to Committee appointments.
Councillor Alistair Bradley proposed, Councillor Peter Wilson seconded the Decision to approve the following changes to Committee places:
1. Councillor Graham Dunn to be the council’s representative on the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership Joint Scrutiny Committee.
2. The following members be appointed as reserves on the Climate Change Working Group
1. Julia Berry
2. Paul Sloan
3. John Dalton
4. Debra Platt
Alker Lane Development
To consider and receive the report of the Director of Commercial.
The Mayor noted that this item had been withdrawn from the agenda.