To consider the recommendations of Cabinet for the Revenue Budget and Precept for 2021/22 and the Capital Programme for 2021/22 to 2023/24.
The Leader introduced the Revenue Budget and Precept for 2021/22 and the Capital Programme for the period 2021/22 to 2023/24.
The Leader reflected on the last year and the financial impact of the pandemic and highlighted the flexibility and resilience of the County Council’s reserves strategy that had enabled the Council to use some of its free reserves to take action when needed quickly to support services. The future was unpredictable, with no guarantee that there would not be further Covid-related costs going forward. The Leader highlighted the difficulty of calculating the level of collection of council tax and business rates against the backdrop of the pandemic and the uncertainty of the level of ongoing funding from central Government to cover the County Council’s Covid costs. In terms of specific proposals, the Leader reported the Council would be using the £3m New Homes Bonus to directly support Operation Resilience; providing additional money from the Social Care grant for Children’s services, and £1.2m from the pay award to set aside for IT growth pressures.
The Leader referred to the County Council’s extensive Capital Programme amounting to £0.75 billion and the Council’s success in bidding for and use of Government grants to support the programme.
Finally, the Leader reported that the Council was being asked to agree a 1.99% council tax increase together with a further 3% specifically for social care in line with the Government’s recommendations.
In commending the revenue budget proposals Councillor Stephen Reid, the Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Human Resources and Performance reported the proposals were for a balanced budget in line with the Council’s legal obligations. The Executive Member extended thanks to all officers for their efforts during these very difficult times recognising the pressure on all departments to record Covid-related costs for monthly submissions to MHCLG for the purpose of recovery from the Government and extended thanks to the Director of Corporate Resources and her team for their work in preparing the budget. It was therefore pleasing that the County Council’s Auditors had unconditionally accepted the County Council’s accounts.
Opposition Members responded to the proposals. During the course of a full debate focussing on service delivery and the uncertainty of future Government funding, views in support of, or raising concern, about the proposals were expressed. No Amendments were moved therefore the recommendations were put to the vote in accordance with Standing Order 22.2, the outcome of which was recorded as follows:
FOR - 52
Councillors: Jon Bennison, Martin Boiles, Ray Bolton, Jackie Branson, Ann Briggs, Zilliah Brooks, Graham Burgess, Adam Carew, Fran Carpenter, Chris Carter, Roz Chadd, Charles Choudhary, Rod Cooper, Peter Edgar, Liz Fairhurst, Steve Forster, Andrew Gibson, Jonathan Glen, Judith Grajewski, Marge Harvey, Pal Hayre, Edward Heron, Rob Humby, Gary Hughes, Roger Huxstep, Andrew Joy, David Keast, Mark Kemp-Gee, Peter Latham, Keith Mans, Alexis McEvoy, Anna McNair Scott, David Mellor, Floss Mitchell, Rob Mocatta, Kirsty North, Russell Oppenheimer, Mike Penman, Roy Perry, Stephen Philpott, Lance Quantrill, Stephen Reid, Patricia Stallard, Elaine Still, Robert Taylor, Tom Thacker, Michael Thierry, Rhydian Vaughan, Jan Warwick, Michael White, Bill Withers and Seán Woodward.
AGAINST – 21
Councillors: Peter Chegwyn, Daniel Clarke, Adrian Collett, Mark Cooper, Tonia Craig, Alan Dowden, Jane Frankum, David Harrison, Dominic Hiscock, Keith House, Wayne Irish, Gavin James, Martin Kyrle, Jackie Porter, Roger Price, David Simpson, Bruce Tennent, Mike Thornton, Martin Tod, Malcolm Wade and Michael Westbrook.
ABSTAIN – 1
Councillor Melville Kendal.
A. Revenue Budget and Precept 2021/22
County Council approve:
a) The Treasurer’s
report under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003 (Appendix
8 of the Cabinet report) and take this into account when
determining the budget and precept for 2021/22.
b) The Revised Budget
for 2020/21 set out in Appendix 1 of the Cabinet report.
c) The Revenue Budget for 2021/22 as set out in Appendix 5 of the Cabinet report and Annex 1 to this Part I report.
d) Funding for one off revenue priorities totalling £11.6m as set out in paragraphs 113 to 128 of the Cabinet report.
e) The re-alignment of grant budgets as set out in paragraphs 135 to 141 of the Cabinet report.
f) That the council tax requirement for the County Council for the year beginning 1 April 2021, be £707,383,847.
g) That the County Council’s band D council tax for the year beginning 1 April 2021 be £1,350.45, an increase of 4.99%, of which 3% is specifically for adults’ social care.
h) The County Council’s council tax for the year beginning 1 April 2021 for properties in each tax band be:
Band A 900.30
Band B 1,050.35
Band C 1,200.40
Band D 1,350.45
Band E 1,650.55
Band F 1,950.65
Band G 2,250.75
Band H 2,700.90
i) Precepts be issued totalling £707,383,847 on the billing authorities in Hampshire, requiring the payment in such instalments and on such date set by them previously notified to the County Council, in proportion to the tax base of each billing authority’s area as determined by them and as set out overleaf:
Basingstoke and Deane
East Hampshire 51,407.07
New Forest 71,538.70
Test Valley 50,316.00
j) The Capital & Investment Strategy for 2021/22 (and the remainder of 2020/21) as set out in Appendix 9 of the Cabinet report.
k) The Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22 (and the remainder of 2020/21) as set out in Appendix 10 of the Cabinet report.
l) An increase to the allocation targeting higher yields from £235m to £250m (as set out in the Treasury Management Strategy in Appendix 10) partly to reflect the investments taken out on behalf of Thames Basin Heath and to provide extra flexibility given the added risk of negative interest rates at the short term end of the market.
m) The delegation of authority to the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources to manage the County Council’s investments and borrowing according to the Treasury Management Strategy Statement as appropriate.
B. Capital Programme 2021/22 to 2023/24
County Council approve:
n) The Capital Programme for 2021/22 and the provisional programmes for 2022/23 and 2023/24 as set out in Appendix 1 of the Cabinet report.
o) An increase in the value of the Stubbington Bypass scheme from £34.495m to the value of £39.295m, noting that the increase of £2m associated with the impact of Covid-19 is to be funded from the allocation previously approved for that purpose by the County Council in July 2020, with the balance to be funded from a mix of Section 106 developer contributions and local resources.
p) The addition of
further decarbonisation schemes up to the value of £5.64m to
the Culture, Communities and Business Services capital programme
for 2020/21 funded by grants from the Public Sector Decarbonisation