To submit the report of the Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer.
The report of the Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer setting out the financial performance of the Council’s services at the end of Quarter 3 of the 2021/22 financial year was presented for the Executive’s consideration.
Councillor Robin Williams, Portfolio Member for Finance reported that on 9 March, 2021 the Council set a budget for 2021/22 with net service expenditure of £147.420m, to be funded from Council Tax income, NDR and general grants. Unlike previous years, the budget for 2021/22 does not include any requirements on the services to make savings. The increase of 3.4% in funding from Welsh Government was a welcome increase. The overall projected financial position for 2021/22 including Corporate Finance and the Council Tax fund is an underspend o £3.528m which is 2.4% of the Council’s net budget for 2021/22. Although there is an increased level of certainty as the end of the financial year approaches, it should be noted that in the current emergency situation, the position can change quickly as the Council continues to respond to the pandemic. Also, rising costs and the potential for increased demand for services during the final quarter may reduce the final revenue position at the end of the financial year. However in light of the projected surplus on the 2021/22 revenue budged he was proposing that an additional £500k be invested in Highway maintenance for the benefit of all the Island’s road users.
Councillor R.G. Parry, OBE, FRAgS, Portfolio Member for Highways, Waste and Property welcomed and supported the proposal saying that although a national report shows that Anglesey’s highways compare very well with those of other councils in Wales, more can be done to improve the Island’s road network and to bring them to a standard which the Council would like to see.
The Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer confirmed that the 2021/22 financial year was exceptional. Funding was built into the budget to address a potential surge in demand as the Council emerged out of the pandemic and Covid 19 pressures have been met by additional grant funding from Welsh Government which has contributed to the positive position in which the Council finds itself. The winter period which historically creates uncertainty in the demand for services has not on the whole been severe weather-wise which has also helped in terms of managing costs. One of the risks identified over the second part of the year in the form of the non-teaching staff pay award has now been eliminated with the acceptance of a 1.75% pay increase. The Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer referred to the position with regard to service budgets and highlighted the main variances within this position. He concluded by saying that although there remains a risk that the final position at the end of the financial year may not be as positive as that projected, the risk is diminishing as the end of the year draws nearer.
It was resolved –
· To note the position set out in Appendices A and B in respect of the Authority’s financial performance to date and expected outturn for 2021/22.This position is dependent on the continued support from Welsh Government to fund the loss of income and the additional costs which the Council faces during the remainder of the financial year as a result of the Coronavirus.
· To note the summary of Contingency budgets for 2021/22 detailed in Appendix C to the report.
· To note the position of the invest to save programmes in Appendix CH to the report.
· To note the monitoring of agency and consultancy costs for 2020/21 in Appendices D and DD to the report.
· That in light of the projected underspend on the 2021/22 Revenue Budget, to recommend that an additional investment of £500k be made in Highway maintenance.