Council’s Provisional Financial Outturn 2020/21

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The Cabinet received the provisional Outturn 2020/21 at their meeting on the 21 July which provides an overview of the Council’s financial performance over the previous year.

The Council has been monitoring closely the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic in terms of both additional expenditure being incurred and income shortfalls. There was great uncertainty during the early part of the year until additional government funding was provided to local authorities. Whilst the government support was significant it has not covered all financial impacts, but the Council has mitigated any shortfall by proactively identifying in-year savings from non-priority areas. This enabled it to fully respond to the pandemic whilst still remaining financially stable.

With regard to the General Fund, which is the main account used to provide services to Council Tax payers, due to the in-year savings identified and the diversion of resources to prioritising community and business support throughout the pandemic, even with the financial challenges, the Council has managed to underspend against its approved budget and maintain its financial health and sustainability.

Whilst this is good news, there continues to be budgetary pressures on the Council’s finances moving forward and the anticipated increase in vulnerability is expected to increase demand and the pressure on council resources.

Due to the pandemic, there are still some uncertainties in relation to the Council’s main revenue streams for the coming year. It is unclear how smaller businesses are going to fare during the recovery phase, specifically how they will cope once the central government support network is phased out completely. There is also a backlog of work arising from the early savings that were identified and staff being redeployed on to support the coronavirus response work as opposed to planned and routine work. More crucially, the outcome of the government’s review into how local councils are financed is still to be published, and therefore it is not yet known what the implications of that will be on Melton Borough Council.

Whilst the Council continues to make good progress on our Housing Improvement Plan, the Council’s Housing Revenue Account, which accounts for the Council’s spend on its council housing as a landlord, was also underspent due to a number of key work streams being delayed and moved into 2021/22 as result of the works restrictions due to the pandemic.

The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Resources, Cllr Ronnie de Burle said: “The Council has again demonstrated it has a good grip on its finances by ending the financial year with an underspend against its budget, whilst having managed a huge response to the pandemic. However, like many in our community we face significant financial challenges ahead as a result of the ongoing financial implications of the pandemic. We need to continue to exercise patience and restraint until we are more certain of our financial future. As we develop our financial sustainability plans we need to think about what savings could be made and what additional income could be generated. We must continue to manage a strong hold on the finances as we move forward if we are to maintain our future financial sustainability.”





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22 July 2021