Agenda item


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The Financial Services Manager presented the Budget Monitoring Report for Quarter 2 and drew the Committee’s attention to the following sections of the report:


·        Summary.

·        Revenue Budget 2023/2024.

·        Turnover Savings.

·        Opportunities/Risks.

·        Grants.

·        Capital Budget and Spend 2023/2024.

·        Reserves.

·        Age Debt Analysis.

·        Council Tax and Business Rates.

·        Treasury Management 2023/2024.

·        Prudential Indicators.

·        Loans.

·        Investments as at 30 September 2023.

·        Conclusion.


The Financial Services Manager highlighted the following sections of the report as set out below:


·        Table at page 71 which set out the contribution from General Fund Reserves – the original budget was £2,641,520 and the forecast at 30 September 2023 was £3,145, 260 and a variance of £503,749 was reported.  The Financial Services outlined the reasons why a variance was being reported.

·        Capital Programme original budget £67m, the spend as at 30 September 2023 £12.7m and a revised capital programme of £36m.

·        Sect 2.4 Risk and Opportunities.

·        Appendix A – Budget Monitoring Variances 30 September 2023.

·        Appendix B – Capital Programme.

·        Appendix C – Age Debt Analysis 30 September 2023


The Chair, Councillor Ryves thanked the Financial Services Manager for the report and invited questions and comments from the Committee, a summary of which is set out below:


Councillor Morley, Portfolio for Finance responded to questions from Councillor Dark in relation to the expenditure on the Council’s car parks and gave assurance that the Car Parking Strategy would be taken into account following receipt of the consultant’s report.


The Financial Services Manager responded to questions from Councillor de Winton on the reduced level of planning income and volumes of planning applications received.


The Portfolio Holder, Finance responded to questions from Councillor de Winton on the planning income, solar panels and solar parks.


The Assistant Director, Resources advised that the planning income was expected to be £2m and it was around £1.1- £1.2 expected to achieve and there had been some turnover savings which had offset it.


The Portfolio Holder for Finance commented that there was an issue with planning revenue and also with Alive West Norfolk in the consuming levels of energy at the three swimming pools which presented a big risk to the Borough Council. 


The Assistant Director Resources and Financial Services Manager responded to questions from the Chair in relation to the deficit of West Norfolk Property and the arrangement for the leases as an interim measure until the later part of 2024 when the loan facility would be in place.


The Chair referred to the electricity costs incurred and asked if the figures included leisure.  The Financial Services Manager commented that he echoed the comments made by the Finance Portfolio Holder in relation to the costs incurred heating three swimming pools.  The Committee was informed that there was pressure on the Council last year to increase the budget for utility costs and that consumption figures were being monitored.  The best forecast was therefore £2.1m an increase of £90,000.


The Assistant Director responded to questions from Councillor Bearshaw on the Council’s build and construction programme and loan arrangements available to the Council.


Following questions from Councillor Bearshaw on net zero and price increases, the Assistant Director, Resources referred to the Refit programme which looked at both air and ground source heat pumps and an increase had been factored in to the utility costs with the potential to make a saving in the longer term.  The Assistant Director explained that the utilities were procured and forward purchased under a contract with Crown Commercial Services and have indicated that it is expected that the cost would reduce by 30% from 1 April 2024.


Under Standing Order 34, Councillor Beales addressed the Committee and in relation to the comments made by the Portfolio Holder for Finance that the capital programme was optimistic but the build was not market driven and was an accelerated construction programme and that there was no issue with immediate funding.  Currently 74 properties were available to provide rental income and some revenue would also be generated from the Florence Fields development.


The Financial Services Manager responded to questions from the Chair on the Council’s 100% subsidiary companies and how the deficits were reflected in the budget and accounts.


RESOLVED:  The Committee noted the contents of the Budget Monitoring Report of 30 September 2023.


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