Issue - meetings

Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS)

Meeting: 15/07/2021 - Executive (Item 8)

8 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) EXE21-056 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

Reporting Person – Julie Fisher

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Councillor Ashall, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Financial Planning and Policy, introduced the report which provided a forecast of the financial position of the Council for the four years to 2024/25 and outlined the approach to aligning the budgets of the Council with the priority outcomes defined within the Corporate Plan.  Councillor Ashall stated that the Council faced significant financial challenges arising from the impact of the Covid pandemic and that there was significant uncertainty around the speed of recovery of the economy and Government funding.  Councillor Ashall reported that the Council had received confirmation this week from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) that it would not support the Council’s request for Exceptional Support for 2020/21 and 2021/22.  It was noted that the reasons that MHCLG was not supporting the Council’s request were that the Council’s overall financial position, including current levels of reserves, did not meet the criteria for support, the Council was not facing an immediate unmanageable cost pressure, and there were a range of actions that the Council could take to help manage its financial position in coming years.

Attention was drawn to the proposal to establish a “Fit for the Future” Programme which would drive out and maximise the benefits from the Council’s investments into the regeneration of Woking, as well as ensuring that the Council remained a lean, efficient and digitally modern Council.  The Fit for the Future Programme would be in support of the Council’s commitment to engage with its communities on establishing priorities and their delivery.  It was noted that the Finance Task Group and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be involved with formulating the details of the Programme.  The Executive heard that the Programme would complement and not duplicate the assurances from the Council’s independent auditors and its statutory Section 151 Officer.  The Portfolio Holder stated that he would ask the Chief Executive to write to the Council’s independent auditors requiring them to commit to a timetable to get their audit of the Council’s accounts back on timetable.  The Executive was reminded that the independent auditors issued an unmodified audit opinion on the financial statements on 26 November 2020.  The Portfolio Holder proposed four additional resolves (ix to xii) which were agreed by the Executive.

Following a question regarding the impact of the reduction in government grants, the Executive was advised that table 7.1 in the report assumed a reduction in general grants and New Homes Bonus of £1.874m by 2024/25.  Regarding the Investment Programme, it was noted that the project list would be part of the programme of reviews and that priorities would be set following engagement with residents in developing the Corporate Plan.  The Director of Finance explained that should the conditions be met for the loan to GolDev to be progressed, the Council would borrow the money from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) and that the margin on the loan to GolDev would provide additional income to the Council for a short period during  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8