Agenda and decisions

Cabinet
Wednesday, 20th January, 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Online

Contact: Dereck Francis  Tel: 01902 555835 or Email: dereck.francis@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Note: Please note this meeting will be conducted in line with the The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

2.

Declaration of interests

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 309 KB

[For approval]

4.

Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting]

5.

Housing Revenue Account Business Plan 2021-2022 Including Rents and Service Charges pdf icon PDF 205 KB

[To recommend that Council approves the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan 2021-2022 including rents and service charges]

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council be recommended to:

1.    Adopt the Business Plan set out at Appendix 1 to the report as the approved Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan including:

 

a.    The revenue budget for 2021-2022 at Appendix 1 to the report.

b.    The Capital Programme for 2021-2022 to 2025-2026 at Appendix 2 to the report that includes the following among the proposed investment plans;

·        £134.0 million for new build development

·        £41.3 million provision for Estate Remodelling

·        £3.6 million for a new programme for low and mid-rise infrastructure replacement

·        £2.0 million budget provision for conversion of commercial property to residential to provide additional homes

·        £44.5 million to complete the refurbishment of the Heath Town estate

·        £86.5 million for programmes to high rise estates to include fire safety improvements, infrastructure replacement, retrofitting of sprinklers and external works.

 

2.    Approve the implementation of an increase of 1.5% to social housing rents in accordance with the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 and to give 28 days notice to all secure and introductory tenants of the rent increase from 1 April 2021.

 

3.    Approve the rates for garage rents and service charges set out in Appendix 3 to the report and formally notifies tenants.

 

4.    Approve Management Allowances for Managing Agents as follows;

·        Wolverhampton Homes   - £39,425,000

·        Bushbury Hill Estate Management Board - £1,720,000

·        New Park Village Tenants Management Organisation - £383,000

·        Springfield Horseshoe Tenants Management Organisation - £360,000

·        Dovecotes Tenants Management Organisation - £1,113,000

 

That Cabinetnotes:

1.    The consultation responses as outlined at Appendix 3 to the report. The issues raised during the consultation have been communicated to the managing agents and would also be provided to tenants as areas for possible tenant scrutiny during 2021-2022.

 

2.    From 1 April 2020 the Regulator of Social Housing has regulated social rents charged by Local Authorities. The Rent increase at 1.5% is chargeable in line with Government policy set out in the Rent Standard 2020.

 

3.    The issues discussed in the 2018 Social Housing Green Paper which sets out five principles for a new fairer deal for social housing residents focusing on the provision of safe and decent homes, resolving complaints, empowering tenants, tackling stigma and building new homes.

 

4.    The National Building Safety Programme of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Grenfell Inquiry pending its full outcomes, would impact upon future building safety planning. The Hackett Review 2018 makes recommendations for residential building safety and improvements to be considered as part of all future HRA asset management and improvement planning and the Building Safety Bill introduces regulation seeking greater assurance on the safety of multi-occupied buildings.

 

5.    Asset planning in 2020-2021 would look at the future management and asset planning for non-traditional homes, including high-rise homes.

 

 

6.

Council Tax Base and Business Rates (NDR) Net Rate Yield 2021-2022, Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement Update and Outcome of Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 434 KB

[To approve the Council Tax Base and Business Rates (NDR) Net Yield 2021-2022 and to consider the responses from the scrutiny review process in relation to the Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-2022 to 2023-2024][report to follow]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That the Collection Fund Council Tax Base for 2021-2022 be set at 63,580.55 Band D equivalents.

 

2.      That the Collection Fund Business Rates, also referred to as Non-Domestic (NDR), Net Rate Yield for 2021-2022 be set at £68.9 million.

 

3.      That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources in consultation with the Director of Finance to approve amendments to:

 

a.      The final Business Rates Net Yield as required as a result of changes to the NNDR 1 form (National Non-Domestic Rates return) by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government or data revisions and changes in projections;

 

b.      The Council Tax Base as a result of any data revisions and changes in projections.

 

4.      That the responses from the Scrutiny Board in relation to the Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-2022 to 2023-2024 be received and noted.

 

5.      That the outcome of the 2021-2022 Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement be noted.

 

6.      That it be noted that the budget engagement process forms part of the continuous dialogue throughout the year with residents and key stakeholders on council priorities and the budget.

 

7.      That it be noted that the final budget report presented to Cabinet in February 2021 would reflect the outcome of the settlement and detailed budget work for 2021-2022, including a review of all budget reduction proposals and the risks associated with their delivery. 

 

 

7.

Collection Fund Estimated Outturn 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 424 KB

[To approve the Collection Fund estimated outturn 2020-2021][report to follow]

Decision:

1.      That the payments to the precepting authorities of their share of the Council Tax deficit in equal instalments be approved.

 

The estimated outturn in 2020-2021 is a cumulative deficit of approximately £7.8 million after accounting for the Hardship Fund grant to compensate for council tax reliefs but prior to funding for 75% of irrecoverable losses. Based on their proportion of the 2020-2021 council tax bill, as approved by Council in March 2020 the amounts are as follows:

 

    City of Wolverhampton Council £6.8 million

    West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner £660,000

     West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority £251,000

 

2.      That the apportionment of the payments from the precepting authority of their share of the Business Rates deficit, also referred to as Non-Domestic Rates, in equal instalments be approved.

 

The estimated outturn in 2020-2021 is a cumulative deficit of approximately £9.0 million after accounting for the forecast additional Covid-19 business rates reliefs funded by Section 31 grant but prior to funding for 75% of irrecoverable losses; this is as a result of a cumulative deficit totalling £818,000 brought forward from 2019-2020 and an estimated deficit in 2020-2021 totalling approximately £8.2 million. As prescribed by legislation the amounts are as follows:

 

    City of Wolverhampton Council £8.9 million

    West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority £90,000

 

3.      That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to confirm any final changes to the forecast outturn reflecting any further information received ahead of the statutory deadline of 31 January 2021.

 

 

 

8.

Wolverhampton Pound: Spend Local for More Jobs and Opportunities pdf icon PDF 534 KB

[To present the Council's commitment to work with partners to support the City’s economic growth and recovery]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That the approach to maximise the Wolverhampton Pound, including the vision, objectives and priority areas for action for the next 12 months to increase local spend, creating more jobs and opportunities set out in appendix 1 to the report be approved.

 

2.      That Cabinet endorse and support the delivery of the action plan through the Wolverhampton Anchor Network to take forward the actions and recommendations of the report.

 

3.      That the allocation of £56,000 from the Recovery Reserve, to fund the costs associated with the delivery of the 12 month action plan to progress with the priority actions identified in the report be approved.

 

4.      That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources in consultation with the Director of Finance, to accept external funding and approve supplementary budgets necessary to reflect external funding offered by The Health Foundation as part of their Economies for Healthier Lives fund as a result of a successful grant funding application.

 

5.    That it be noted that the Wolverhampton Pound vision, principles and action plan were co-produced after extensive engagement with city partners, businesses and the voluntary and community sector.

 

9.

City of Wolverhampton Education Place Planning 2020-2022 pdf icon PDF 479 KB

[To provide the outcome of the external consultation exercise and to approve the strategic policy document]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That the ‘City of Wolverhampton Education Place Planning 2020-2022’ strategic policy document be approved.

 

2.      That the outcome of external consultation in relation to ‘City of Wolverhampton Education Place Planning 2020-2022’ strategic policy document be noted.

 

3.      That the summary of discussions from the Extraordinary Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel on 5 January 2021, regarding the ‘City of Wolverhampton Education Place Planning 2020-2022’ strategic policy document be noted.

 

4.      That the impact of the demographic uplift on demand for schools in the City be noted.

 

5.      That the need to identify and develop appropriate solutions to meet anticipated demand for primary and secondary educational provision in the future be noted.

 

6.      That it be noted that the Regional Schools Commissioner is responsible for determining if academies can expand. The Council is not in full control of all the factors relating to the effective and timely supply of school places.

10.

Exclusion of press and public

[To pass the following resolution:

 

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business as it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information on the grounds shown below.]

Decision:

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business as it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information.]

 

11.

The Marches Help to Own Project

[To consider a proposal on the Help to Own project]

Decision:

That Council be recommended to approve:

1.    An equity investment of up to £5.7 million alongside a West Midlands Combined Authority (“WMCA”) investment of up to £4.78 million in a pilot for a new affordable housing product called ‘Help to Own’ (“H2O”) and that the entering into of any agreements or documents arising out of equity investment be delegated to the Cabinet Members for City Assets and Housing and Resources in conjunction with the Director of Governance and the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer).

 

The Cabinet approves that:

1.    Authority be delegated to the Cabinet Members for City Assets and Housing and Resources in conjunction with the Director of Governance and the Director of Finance to approve detailed agreements necessary to establish the H2O scheme and purchase the 100 units at The Marches.

 

2.    A further report identifying the ongoing governance structure for the scheme be brought to Cabinet for approval.

 

The Cabinet notes that:

1.    The WMCA Board would be asked to approve their investment in the project on 15 January 2021.

 

2.    The scheme requires creation of a new Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) or other suitable structure to acquire the units and manage the scheme. The final structure would depend upon results of detailed accounting, taxation and legal advice which is to be jointly commissioned by the WMCA and CWC.

 

3.    The scheme requires additional debt funding of £12.7 million which would be sourced from a third party lender. The scheme is dependent upon the availability of this funding on the terms within the proposal.

 

4.    Under the initial terms discussed it is proposed that WMCA assumes the responsibility for any losses arising for CWC from the scheme up to a capped level to be agreed and subject to due diligence.

 

5.    The 100 units are to be purchased from WV Living, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Council, for £20.9 million at a discount to current sales prices of £1.2 million for bulk off plan purchase.

 

6.    The pilot would be subject to ongoing evaluation with six monthly reports of progress to Cabinet.