Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 15th February, 2024 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Newport, Isle of WIght

Contact: Sarah MacDonald  Email: democratic.services@iow.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

175.

Minutes

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 February 2024 had been published after publication of the agenda, therefore these would be approved at the next meeting.

 

176.

Declarations of Interest

To invite Members to declare any interest they might have in the matters on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest, but it was noted that Cabinet Members had a general dispensation to consider budget matters.

177.

Public Question Time - Maximum 15 Minutes for Written Questions and 15 Minutes for Oral Questions

Questions may be asked without notice but to guarantee a full reply at the meeting, a question must be put including the name and address of the questioner by delivery in writing or by electronic mail to Democratic Services at democratic.services@iow.gov.uk, no later than two clear working days before the start of the meeting. The deadline for written questions will be Monday 12 February 2024.

Minutes:

No public questions were received.

178.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman had no announcements to make.

179.

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Finance

179a

Budget and Council Tax Setting 2024-2025 and Future Years' Forecasts pdf icon PDF 524 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

196.    It is recommended that the Cabinet endorse the following:

 

(a)      The recommendations to the Council set out below.

 

197.    It is recommended that the Council approve the following:

 

(a)            The revised Revenue Budget for the financial year 2023/24 and the Revenue Budget for the financial year 2024/25 as set out in the General Fund Summary (Appendix 1) which includes:

 

(i)              Additional spending in Adult Social Care of £6.3m and Children's Services of £5.0m

(ii)             A Covid Contingency of £5m

(iii)           No Revenue Contribution to Capital in 2023/24 or 2024/25

 

(b)            Any variation arising from the Local Government Finance Settlement 2024/25 or any further savings made in 2023/24 arising at the year-end (after allowing for specific carry forward requests) be transferred to the Revenue Reserve for Capital, Transformation Reserve, and General Reserves with the level of each transfer to be determined by the S.151 Officer.

 

(c)             That the level of Council Tax be increased by 2.99% for general purposes in accordance with the referendum threshold5or 2024/25 announced by Government (as calculated in Appendix 2)

 

(d)            That the level of Council Tax be increased by a further 2.0% beyond the referendum threshold (as calculated in Appendix 2) to take advantage of the flexibility offered by Government to implement a "Social Care Precept"; and that in accordance with the conditions of that flexibility, the full amount of the associated sum generated of £1,977,705 is passported direct to Adult Social Care.

 

(e)            That the amounts set out in Appendix 2 be now calculated by the Council for the financial year 2024/25 in accordance with Section 31 and Sections 34 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

 

(f)              The S.151 Officer be given delegated authority to implement any variation to the overall level of Council Tax arising from the final notification of the Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Authority and Parish and Town Council precepts, and amend the calculations set out in Appendix 2 accordingly.

 

(g)            The savings proposals for each Portfolio amounting, in total, to £2.75m for 2024/25 and continuing into future years as set out on the next page:

 

 

Portfolio

Controllable Budget

Savings Proposal

 

£

£

%

 

Adult Social Care & Public Health*

57,782,000

919,900

1.6%

 

Children's Services, Education & Corporate Functions*

41,238,000

207,000

0.5%

 

Climate Change, Biosphere & Waste

6,777,000

68,000

1.0%

 

Deputy Leader - Housing & Finance

8,292,000

107,100

1.3%

 

Economy, Regeneration, Culture & Leisure

3,052,000

24,000

0.8%

 

Leader - Transport Infrastructure, Highways PFI and Transport Strategy, Strategic Oversight and External Partnerships**

13,658,000

1,167,000

8.5%

 

Planning, Coastal Protection & Flooding

2,361,000

0

0.0%

 

Regulatory Services, Community Protection & ICT

11,340,000

257,000

2.3%

 

Grand Total

144,500,000

2,750,000

1.9%

 

* Excludes the additional funding passported through to Adult Social Care of £6.3m (which if included would result in an overall increase of 9.4%) and the additional funding for Children's Services, Education & Lifelong Skills of £5.0m (which if included would result in an overall increase of 15.3%)

 

** Excludes £19.4m of PFI grant funding, on a gross expenditure basis the saving  ...  view the full decision text for item 179a

Minutes:

Cuts and savings had been made across all services to reach a balanced budget, with difficult decisions having to be made. At the end of January assurance had been given of a further £3 million from government and Cabinet members had tried to use it to benefit the community with no increase in parking and floating bridge fees, some community funding and match funding for small businesses, £1.9 million towards providing affordable housing and the continuation of cross-Solent ferry funding. A motion was to be put forward to Full Council to reinstate the exceptional hardship fund. There was no guarantee that similar extra funding would be received in subsequent years, therefore it would be assumed that the extra funding was only for the coming financial year, although the relevant minister had offered a meeting to discuss possible future extra funding and the Leader confirmed he would continue to argue for more.

 

Other highlights included extra capital funding of £250,000 for the Community Fund for Town Parish and Community Councils and community stakeholders,

£200,000 place plan/business grant funding to help local businesses.

Extra funding for social care

Funding for Rights of Way to address deterioration of footpaths as a result of recent bad weather.

 

The S.151 officer explained the impact of the structural deficit and why it was important to address it now. The additional funding had helped to reduce the deficit to £1.2 million, which would be met from General Reserves. It was hoped that in 2025/26 the council could potentially move to a surplus.

 

Concerns were raised by Cllr Garratt regarding the proposed cutting of the Contact Centre service on Saturday and the Leader confirmed that he would look at this further along with any other suggestions.

 

Concerns were also raised regarding the ending of the Household Support Fund and it was requested that a way of reinstating the funding be sought. Confirmation was given that an anti-poverty strategy was being developed with a draft action plan emerging, and that a range of options was being considered to enable the community pantries to continue.

 

Other Cabinet members highlighted various aspects of their portfolios, including more money allocated for highways drainage to help those affected by flooding, and more investment in coastal protection which would attract match funding from the Environment Agency.

 

In response to rumours that had been circulating, the Leader clarified that, following discussions between Cabinet members and Directors which had commenced after the summer break, a potential list of savings was drawn up with potential submissions from each cabinet member. Officers had not worked on the budget alone and had not provided the list as a ‘fait accompli’ and they should be respected and not subject to undue behaviours by any member.  Working documents had remained confidential as they had always been and would remain so until the decision came to be made. Other members would not be prevented from accessing other information. Legal advice had supported this position. It was further confirmed that those members who  ...  view the full minutes text for item 179a

180.

Cabinet Member Announcements

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration, Culture and Leisure reported that funding from the Arts Council for culture projects had been extended from four years to five years. An expression of interest was to be submitted for funding from the MEND fund for Newport Guildhall. News regarding funding for Dinosaur Isle was expected at the end of March. Bids had also been submitted to the Libraries Improvement Fund for Ryde and Cowes libraries.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, Community Protection and ICT reported that the crematorium had been refurbished, and the old pews had been passed to a local charity to raise funds.

181.

Consideration of the Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minutes:

The Forward Plan had been republished and members were asked to note the changes.

182.

Members' Question Time pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To guarantee a reply to a question, a question  must be submitted in writing or by electronic mail to democratic.services@iow.gov.uk no later than 5pm on Tuesday 13 February 2024. A question may be asked at the meeting without prior notice but in these circumstances there is no guarantee that a full reply will be given at the meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A written question had been received from Cllr Garratt (MQ 09-24) regarding traffic flow which may be affected by future developments and the importance of getting the infrastructure right.

The Chairman provided a written response and thanked Cllr Garratt for his contribution to the preparation of some upcoming Supplementary Planning Documents.

 

Cllr Jarman asked whether Cabinet members would be attending the further public meeting planned regarding the Military Road. The Chairman requested that the dates for future meetings be forwarded to him.

 

Cllr Jarman stated that at the Corporate Scrutiny Committee meeting on 12 February the Leader had undertaken to forward an email to the Chairman of that Committee, and asked when the email might arrive.

 

The Leader responded that he had not given a timescale for forwarding the email as there may be some redactions necessary as it contained references which did not relate to the issue of concern, but that he would deal with it as soon he could.