Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Jaswinder Kaur 01902 550320 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Christopher Haynes, Councillor Milkinderpal Jaspal and Councillor Rupinderjit Kaur.
Declarations of interest
David Pattison, Director of Governance advised that all councillors were eligible to vote in accordance with the legislation and under the Council’s Constitution there was a standing dispensation to all councillors in relation to member allowances, business rates, housing matters and rents.
The following declaration of interest had been made:
Agenda item 6 - Final Budget Report 2021-2022 and Agenda Item 8 – Decisions Made Under Urgent Action Powers
[To receive minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 September 2020.]
The Mayor proposed, the Deputy Mayor seconded, and it was resolved:
That the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 16 September 2020, be agreed as a correct record and signed accordingly by the Mayor.
[To receive the Mayor’s announcements]
The Mayor was saddened to announce the death of former Councillor Pat Burns and former Council Leader Neville Patten.
The Council observed a minutes silence in tribute to the late Pat Burns and Neville Pattern.
The Mayor was delighted to announce that four people with connections to Wolverhampton were recognised as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours:
The Mayor extended her sincere congratulations to Liz, Philip, Joanna and Gregory and confirmed that she had written a letter to all four on behalf of the Council.
The Mayor was delighted to announce that the Wolverhampton Literacy Festival had returned for the fifth year, with more than forty online events and two thousand attendees. The festival featured authors, speakers and poets and attracted a global virtual audience across the world including Australia, America, Germany, Italy and the UK.
The Mayor was delighted to announce that the City of Wolverhampton had welcomed the announcement that the Government had chosen Wolverhampton as the location to house its first ministerial department outside of London. The Mayor added this was a huge vote of confidence for the City and was delighted that the City had been chosen to host this significant move away from Whitehall.
The Mayor was delighted to announce that Star Academies had been given approval by the Department for Education to open a new secondary school in Wolverhampton as part of the Government’s free schools programme. The school was expected to open in 2024.
The Mayor announced that free rapid testing for people without any symptoms of Covid-19 was available at six locations across the City. The Council had worked with local businesses across the City to help them to implement rapid testing within the workplace.
The Mayor added that she was thankful to the entire workforce and community organisations for their hard work to roll out rapid testing widely, especially to harder to reach communities. The Mayor encouraged all people without symptoms to have a regular Covid-19 rapid test.
The Mayor thanked staff and volunteers for their support in making the Covid-19 vaccine roll out a success. The Mayor encouraged all citizens to receive a Covid-19 vaccination to protect themselves and the community. The Mayor added that two of the Council’s leisure centres WV Active Aldersley and WV Active Bilston Bert Williams, were being used as Covid-19 vaccination sites.
State of City Address
[To receive the Leader of the Council’s statement regarding the City.]
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, delivered his State of the City address. He paid tribute to those lost during the pandemic and extended the Council’s condolences to families who had lost loved ones. He was proud how the community had come together to support one another and the Council’s response to the pandemic. He also paid tribute to NHS colleagues.
He highlighted the achievements of the City, actions taken, future significant challenges and opportunities to come.
Councillor Wendy Thompson provided the principle speech in response to the State of the City Address.
[To consider and determine the Council’s budgetary provisions for the forthcoming municipal year:
· Capital Programme 2020-2021 to 2024-2025 quarter three review and 2021- 2022 to 2025-2026 budget strategy
· Treasury Management Strategy 2021-2022
· Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2021-2022 to 2023-2024
· Council Tax Formal Resolutions.]
1. That the revised City of Wolverhampton Council Capital Strategy be approved.
2. That the revised, medium term General Revenue account capital programme of £316.4 million, an increase of £1.6 million from the previously approved programme, and the change in associated resources be approved.
3. That the authorised borrowing limit for 2021-2022 to support the capital strategy as required under Section 3(1) of the Local Government Act 2003 to be set at £1,166.2 million (PI3, Appendix 3 of the Cabinet report); the forecast borrowing is below the authorised borrowing limit.
4. That the Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2021-2022 as set out in Appendix 1 of the Cabinet report be approved.
5. That the Annual Investment Strategy 2021-2022 as set out in Appendix 2 of the Cabinet report be approved.
6. That the Prudential and Treasury Management Indicators as set out in Appendix 3 of the Cabinet report be approved.
7. That the Annual Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement setting out the method used to calculate MRP for 2021-2022 as set out in Appendix 4 of the Cabinet report be approved.
8. That the method used to calculate MRP for 2020-2021 as set out in the Annual MRP Statement approved by Council on 4 March 2020 be amended to the method as set out in Appendix 4 of the Cabinet report.
9. That the Treasury Management Policy Statement and Treasury Management Practices as set out in Appendix 6 of the Cabinet report be approved.
10. That authority continues to be delegated to the Director of Finance to amend the Treasury Management Policy and Practices and any corresponding changes required to the Treasury Management Strategy, the Prudential and Treasury Management Indicators, the Investment Strategy and the Annual MRP Statement to ensure they remain aligned. Any amendments would be reported to the Cabinet Member for Resources and Cabinet (Resources) Panel as appropriate.
11. That authority continues to be delegated to the Director of Finance to lower the minimum sovereign rating in the Annual Investment Strategy, in the event of the UK’s credit rating being downgraded by the third credit rating agency, due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
12. That the net budget requirement for 2021-2022 of £258.5 million for General Fund services (paragraph 10.1 of the Cabinet report) be approved.
13. That the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2021-2022 to 2023-2024 as detailed in Table 4 and the budget preparation parameters underpinning the MTFS as detailed in Appendix 2 of the Cabinet report be approved.
14. That a Council Tax for Council services in 2021-2022 of £1,765.49 for a Band D property, being an increase of 4.99% on 2020-2021 levels, which incorporates the 3% increase in relation to Adult Social Care, in line with Government expectations. (paragraph 8.4, Table 1 of the Cabinet report) be approved.
15. That work starts on developing budget reductions and income generation proposals for 2022-2023 onwards in line with the Five Year Financial Strategy (paragraph 10.5 of the Cabinet report).
16. That revisions to ... view the full decision text for item 6.
Councillor Louise Miles presented the Final Budget Report 2021-2022 which encompassed the Capital Programme 2020-2021 to 2024-2025 quarter three review and 2021- 2022 to 2025-2026 budget strategy, Treasury Management Strategy 2021-2022, Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2021-2022 to 2023-2024, Council Tax Formal Resolutions for approval.
Councillor Louise Miles outlined the recommendations of the report, drawing Councillor’s attention to the challenges that the Council faced. She advised the proposed budget was balanced without the need to make significant or fundamental cuts to services.
Councillor Louise Miles advised that the Final Budget Report was underpinned by the Our Council Plan and Relighting our City Commitment to ensure that resources were aligned with the priorities of the Council.
Councillor Louise Miles advised that the Council was committed to supporting residents, children and young people, more good jobs and investment in the city and the City’s green agenda.
Councillor Louise Miles advised that Council Tax would be increased by 1.99% and adult social care by 3%. She went on to outline the rationale for increasing these taxes.
Councillor Louise Miles thanked residents, partners and the youth Council for their support and contributions towards budget consultations.
Councillor Louise Miles advised that the budget set last year was affected and distorted by the impact of Covid-19. She acknowledged the funding received by central government as a result of the pandemic and provided a breakdown of the funding received and noted it was difficult to confirm the exact costs associated with Covid-19.
Councillor Louise Miles proposed the recommendations and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield seconded the recommendations.
Councillor Wendy Thompson moved the following amendment to the budget:
1) Change to Council Tax Rate
A reduction from 4.99% to 3.99% in the council tax increase; funded from the Budget Strategy Reserve at a cost of £1.069 million.
At Page15 of this report:
At “Council Tax formal resolutions for 2021-2022” make the below changes:
At 2, delete: “£112,251,000” and insert: “£111,182,000.
At 3. (b) delete: “£530,476,000” and insert: “£531,536,000.
At 3. (c) delete: “£112,251,000” and insert: “£111,182,000”.
At 3. (d) delete “£1,765.49” and insert: “£1,748.68”.
At Page 16 of this report:
At 4. Insert: “To note that West Midlands Mayor has not issued a precept to the Council in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 for each category of dwellings in the Council’s area as indicated in the table below.” after “To note that West Midlands Police and Fire Authorities have issued precepts to the Council in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 for each category of dwellings in the Council’s area as indicated in the table below.”
Delete the table at 4. and insert the below:
[To approve the Audit and Risk Committee Annual Report 2019 – 2020.]
That the contents of the 2019-2020 Audit and Risk Committee Annual Report be approved.
Councillor Alan Butt presented the Audit and Risk Committee Annual Report 2019 – 2020 report for approval. He outlined the main areas of work undertaken by the Committee during the year. He outlined the change in style of proceedings following Committee Members feedback. He added that the Audit and Risk Committee had an instrumental role in providing independent and high-level focus on audit, assurance and reporting arrangements that underpin good governance and financial standards.
Councillor Alan Butt also placed on record his thanks to the Members of Audit and Risk Committee in 2019-2020, both internal and external auditors and the Audit and Risk Team for their contributions.
Councillor Alan Butt proposed the recommendation and Councillor Jonathan Yardley second the recommendation and also placed on record his thanks to the Audit Team and auditors.
In response to Councillor Wendy Thompson’s question regarding the three and a half vacancies in the Audit Team, Councillor Alan Butt agreed to provide a written response to Councillor Wendy Thompson on how long these have remained vacant and whether these positions would be filled.
The report was debated by Council.
That the contents of the 2019-202 Audit and Risk Committee Annual Report be approved.
[To receive a report on urgent decisions taken by the Council.]
That the decisions made under the Council’s Urgent Action Powers be noted.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield presented the Decisions Made Under Urgent Action Powers report for noting. The report detailed all the decisions taken under Urgent Action Powers due to Council meetings being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield proposed the recommendation and Councillor Louise Miles seconded the recommendation.
That the decisions made under urgent action powers be noted.