With the committees consent the
Chair moved this item on the agenda.
It was highlighted that the
data in the report was from September. Updates to this are
unavailable due to the Assistant Director Financial Services &
Revenues unable to attend the meeting due to ongoing Budget
The current deficit has reduced
from £195,000 to £159,000. The Councils current funding
settlement amount from national government should be known soon.
There are other factors contributing to the Councils final sum that
would need consideration. The budget will be published in January
but may be subject to change before the budget council meeting
Councillors commented that the
reduction in deficit had been through the use of funds from the
transitional reserves and asked if they would run out. The officers
advised that when councillors voted on the budget in February they
agreed to transition reserves. They suspect that they would need to
be used again next year but when they would eventually run
Councillors commented that a
lot of the savings were one off salary savings. They enquired about
departmental efficiency savings for the long term. Officers
responded that the salary saving were a combination of not needing
to recruit or not being able to. Efficiencies savings were being
continued to try to be found. Previous efficiencies had been used
in budgets to prevent redundancies but the council now needs to
consider this option in order to save money.
There was a significant
overspend in the homelessness of £355,263. This was due to
the significant demand for bed and breakfast temporary
accommodation and a lack of affordable social housing properties
for people to move into. Councillors asked when this would reach a
saturation point. Officers agreed that it was
To help with this situation the
council has brought a batch of properties intended for temporary
accommodation use. The council intends to buy a second batch. This
will allow us to save on costs and also control the standard of
accommodation people are receiving. There is still a need to
strengthen structures that help homeless people external to the
council. At a later date an expert will be brought in review what
we are currently doing to make sure we are doing everything
The Assistant Director Housing
& Built Environment is exploring a number of options including
the Councillors suggestion of setting up a Housing Revenue Account
to help acquire homes.
The Councillors spoke about how
we have spent £65,000 on Cliff railways which generates
revenue for the council. They questioned why £11,000 had been
spent on Happy Harold (open topped tram bus), as it doesn’t
make any revenue. Should the funding be stopped and Happy Harold
retired to a museum.
Officers responded that the
repairs to the Cliff railways were more complicated than
anticipated and became more expensive. The decision to fund Happy
Harold is a political one.
Councillor Rogers declared an
interest as she is currently helping to coordinate Happy Harold
events. The £11,000 was needed as running ...
view the full minutes text for item 32.