Johnson, Cabinet Member for Resources presented a report seeking
feedback from Scrutiny Board in relation to the Draft Budget and
Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 that had been approved as
the basis of consultation by Cabinet on 19 October 2016. Cllr
Johnson confirmed that the public consultation was on going until
14 January 2017 and that there had been a good response so far with
over 2000 online responses being received.
confirmed that the Council needed to achieve Budget Reduction and
Income Generation amounting to £13.5 million and £10.0
million of Base Budget Revisions for 2017/18. Cllr Johnson stated
that £10 million of savings had already been identified which
left a remaining deficit of £13,539,000.
concern that additional money needed to be found to fund social
care and queried whether there was any additional information
regarding whether this would need to be achieved by raising the
Council Tax precept or whether money form the Better Care Fund
might be made available sooner that preciously expected. Cllr
Johnson stated that this was still an unknown but that the
preference would be to bring forward money from the Better Care
Fund. The Chair suggested that that once the final details had been
received that there might be scope for a piece of joint working
with the Health Scrutiny Panel and representatives from the CCG and
Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
A question was
raised in relation to items on page 11 of the first supplementary
agenda regarding revisions to assumptions on pension auto-enrolment
and further pension contributions. The Finance Director confirmed
that the City Council was currently in a position where additional
payments could be made to avoid significant interest costs. The
Panel queried why other Councils were not doing this and the
Cabinet Member stated that management of the pension fund was a
matter for each individual authority and that the City of
Wolverhampton Council was able to make the additional payments due
to careful management of it’s savings.
The Board agreed
that it was vital that the Council maintained a clear understanding
of the situation regarding the Pension Fund. The Cabinet Member
agreed and stated that the Council was currently doing an excellent
job and that many issues had arisen due to staff taking redundancy
and then their pensions and this not being balanced out by the
contributions from the remaining reduced workforce. However the
Council had budgeted for this and was now in a position where the
aforementioned advance payments could be made.
that a presentation be provided to the Board at a future meeting in
relation to the Pension Fund.
Members queried how
the projected savings of £1,000,000 listed on page 16 of the
first supplementary agenda in relation to the use of public health
funding would be made. The Cabinet Member stated that this came
from a strictly ring fenced budget but that the rules did allow for
some adjustments to be made as long as the funding was used
view the full minutes text for item 5.