Agenda item

Budget Monitoring Report

The budget monitoring report appended to this report sets out the Capital, Housing Revenue and General Fund Revenue budget performance to the end of June 2022.


The Interim Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer presented the first budget monitoring report for the first quarter of 2022/23. It detailed three main sections. The first was the General Fund summary which showed a projected spend of £56k over profiled budget which was a minor variation and took into account major under and overspends and agreed additional spending. The main area of concern currently was nightly paid accommodation. As stated in the report, any decline in the General Fund balance below £5m would be replaced by transfer from the resilience reserve to maintain the General Fund balance of £5m. The Funding Resilience Reserve was anticipated to be £8m by end of financial year as planned.


The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) balance was projected to decline below its recommended minimum of £2m by 31 March 2023. Finance staff were in liaison with the Housing Team to compile a revised HRA Business Plan and proposals for the budget which would be presented to this Committee at its meeting to be held on 8 December 2022. 


The Capital and Asset Management Plan Budget for 2022/23 had initially been set at £17.471 m but due to commitments brought forward the budget had increased to £55.286m and the main changes were highlighted but would be reviewed as part of the 2023/24 budget preparation process.


The Chair asked a question on the HRA stating that the current forecast did not take into account any planned changes for the housing service. He asked if the report to this Committee in December would focus on this. It was confirmed that it would.


A non-Committee Member asked some questions on the HRA account and expressed concern that the balance could drop well below the minimum £2m balance agreed by Full Council. He wanted to know if the costs of the new IT system spend had been taken out and he also asked about another £3m that would need to be spent on the council’s decarbonisation strategy. If the HRA balance was also to be used for this project, the HRA reserve account would become worryingly below what Full Council had agreed it should be. Councillors were referred to Section 8.1 of the report which showed the projected HRA balance. It was highlighted that this excluded any supplementary requests and that this was why the HRA Business Plan was being reprofiled.


Further questions were asked relating to the HRA account and why Members were not being given details of the reserve account funding the HRA at this stage. Concerns were expressed over the great use of temporary staff adding enormous agency costs to the budget. Reassurance was required that this was being addressed and would be covered as part of the reprofiling of the HRA Business Plan that would be presented to the Committee in December 2022.



            Following further debate and having been proposed by Councillor Pendleton and seconded by Councillor Cooper,



The Committee


            RESOLVED – That


(1)  Any specific project related Grant Fund revenue underspend continues to be transferred to earmarked reserves as per previous policy to allow projects to be completed;


(2)  As it is forecast that the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) balance will decline below the £2m recommended minimum balance approved by the Council, a report updating the budget be prepared and presented to this Committee on 8 December 2022 and reported to Full Council if appropriate; and


(3)  The Capital, Asset Management and Projects programme be reviewed to determine future projections, schemes to be included or removed and deliverability of current projects.


Supporting documents: