Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report by the Head of Finance and Property (copy attached).



At this juncture, Councillor Meirick Lloyd Davies declared a personal interest as he was a member of the Fire Authority Board.


The Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets, Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, introduced the Budget 2021/22 – Final Proposals report (previously circulated).


The Council was legally required to set a balanced and deliverable budget before the start of each financial year and to set the resulting level of Council Tax to allow bills to be sent to residents.


The Draft Local Government Settlement for 2021/22 was received by the council on 21st December and had resulted in a positive settlement of +3.6%, compared to the Welsh average of 3.8%. The Final Settlement was expected on the 2nd March but Welsh Government (WG) had indicated that there should be very few changes.


As part of the settlement there were ‘transfers in’ of £1.280m which had been passported to the relevant service areas as in previous years:

·         2020/21 Teachers' Pay Grant - £0.135m

·         Coastal Risk Management Programme £1.145m


The final proposals to balance the 2021/22 budget were shown in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) in Appendix 1. The main areas of growth and pressures were:

·         Pay pressures of £0.870m

·         Price and energy inflation of £250k

·         Fire Service Charge of £162k

·         Allowance for increase in Council Tax Reduction Scheme of £350k

·         Schools inflationary pressures are recognised amounting to £1.205m

·         Schools investment in Additional Learning Needs £1.192m

·         Schools investment in small schools’ sustainability £161k

·         Schools demographic pressure of £718k

·         £2.4m to recognise demand pressures and forecasts in Community Support Services as part of the council’s long term strategy to manage care budgets

·         £0.750m to recognise existing pressures in Education and Children’s Services relating to Out of County Placements and Recoupment.

·         £250k pressures in Waste Services had been recognised based on estimates of ongoing year pressures

·         Impact of previous decisions by Council/Cabinet (eg Rhyl Flood Scheme, North Wales Economic Ambition Board): £0.276m

·         £389k pressure for investment in Carbon Zero Target required in order to meet the 2030 target agreed by Council.

·         Investment of £250k in the Ash Die-Back problem. This would make permanent the one-off funding identified in last year’s budget.

·         In light of the scale of the pressures and the Covid and Brexit impact still unresolved, a contingency of £683k had been included


The pressures identified above amounted to £9.903m. The impact of using £685k of cash in 20/21 (which had the effect of just delaying the need to identify savings) meant that the total shortfall amounted to £10.588m. A draft settlement of around 8% would have been required in order to fund all these pressures. The net +3.6% settlement generated £5.42m additional revenue leaving a funding gap of £5.167m.  The following items were included in the proposals in order to bridge that gap:

·         Fees and Charges Income Budgets had been inflated in line with agreed Fees and Charges policy which increased external income by £0.462m.

·         Operational efficiencies amounted to £690k mostly identified by services throughout the year and within Head Service delegated responsibility in consultation with Lead Members.

·         Savings of £0.781m had also been identified which changed service provision in some way and which were shared in detail with Cabinet and Council in the December briefings.

·         1% (£0.733m) Schools efficiency target from Schools Delegated Budgets. As school budgets were devolved, it would be for each governing body to determine how the savings would be delivered.

·         It was recommended that the Council Tax increased by 3.8% which would generate £2.132m additional revenue. This compared to last year’s increase of 4.3% and 6.35% the year before that.

·         Finally, the Council Tax Base had increased more than expected this year which meant that additional Council Tax of £369k was projected.


During discussions, the following points were raised:

·         Councillor Mabon ap Gwynfor expressed his concerns as, in his opinion, there had been a lack of consultation and transparency with all councillors.  A budget paper had been presented at a Budget Briefing on 21 December 2020 and also presented at Cabinet which, Councillor ap Gwynfor stated did not allow time to fully discuss details.  Therefore, Councillor ap Gwynfor confirmed he would not support the Budget Report. 

·         Councillor Glenn Swingler expressed his agreement with Councillor Mabon ap Gwynfor.  Councillor Swingler also expressed his concern regarding the amount of increase of Council Tax and did not agree with the proposal for schools to make 1% savings. 

·         Councillor Paul Penlington expressed his agreement with Councillor Mabon ap Gwynfor.  Councillor Penlington then asked what the impact of Brexit would be.  The Lead Member for Finance confirmed that the impact of Brexit, if any, was unknown at the current time.

·         The Head of Finance and Property confirmed he had attended the School Budget Forum and provided full information regarding savings required.


Following discussion, Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill proposed the Budget recommendation, seconded by Councillor Richard Mainon.


At this juncture, Councillor Paul Penlington requested a recorded vote.  More than one sixth of those present were required to enable a recorded vote to take place and eight members indicated their preference for a recorded vote.


Therefore, a recorded vote took place.


Those who voted in favour of the Budget Report were as follows:


Councillors – Jeanette Chamberlain-Jones, Ellie Chard, Ann Davies, Gareth Lloyd Davies, Hugh Evans, Peter Evans, Bobby Feeley, Tony Flynn, Rachel Flynn, Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Martyn Holland, Hugh Irving, Alan James, Brian Jones, Tina Jones, Geraint Lloyd Williams, Richard Mainon, Christine Marston,  Barry Mellor, Melvyn Mile, Merfyn Parry, Anton Sampson, Peter Scott, Tony Thomas, Andrew Thomas, Julian Thompson-Hill, Joe Welch, Cheryl Williams, Huw Williams and Mark Young.


Those who voted against the Budget Report were as follows:


Councillors – Mabon ap Gwynfor, Paul Penlington, Arwel Roberts, Glenn Swingler, Rhys Thomas and Emrys Wynne


Those who abstained from the vote were as follows:


Councillors – Meirick Lloyd Davies and Eryl Williams


RESOLVED that Council:

·         note the impact of the Draft Local Government Settlement 2021/22.

·         approves the proposals outlined in Appendix 1, and detailed in Section 4, in order to finalise the budget for 2021/22.

·         approve the average Council Tax rise of 3.8% proposed.

·         delegate authority to the Head of Finance and Property in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance to adjust the use of cash included in the budget proposals by up to £500k if there is movement between the draft and final settlement figures in order to allow the setting of Council Tax in a timely manner.

·         confirms that it has read, understood and taken account of the Well-being Impact Assessment.


Supporting documents: