Agenda and minutes

Budget, Council - Wednesday, 3rd March, 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chambers - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Anne Jenkins  Governance Team Leader


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the last meeting.

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The Minutes of the Council meeting held on 26 January 2021.


Councillor M Evans noted that in his supplementary question to the Leader, it should read International Convention Centre not World Conference Centre.


Resolved: That the Minutes of 26 January 2021 were approved subject to the above.



Appointments pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To consider any proposed appointments.

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To consider the proposed appointments set out in the report


Councillor Harvey moved the appointments set out in the Report, as agreed by the Business Managers, subject to the additional appointments set out below.


Resolved: That the following appointments be agreed.


Internal Appointments


Committee / Appointment

No. of Vacancies / Replacements

Nominations Received

Planning Committee


Councillor Berry to be replaced by Councillor Spencer

Audit Committee


Councillor Lacey to be replaced by Councillor R Hayat

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Place and Corporate


Councillor Critchley to be replaced by Councillor Linton

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)


Councillor Wilcox

Active Travel Champion


Councillor Forsey


Governing Body Appointments


Governing Body

No. of Vacancies / Re-appointments

Nominations Received

Newport High School


Councillor Cockeram

Kimberley Nursery


Remove Councillor Cockeram

Malpas Court Primary School


William Langsford

Monnow Primary School


Emma Ashmead

St Andrews Primary School


Kevin Howells

The John Frost School


Becky Sims

Lliswerry Primary School


Lashanth Vithiyatharan


External Appointments



No. of Vacancies / Replacements

Nominations Received

Newport Transport Board


Councillor J Cleverly


In addition to the above appointments, Councillor Harvey informed Council of the need to agree a further dispensation for Councillor Critchley’s continued absence, due to ill-health in accordance with section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972: 


This was moved by Councillor Harvey and seconded by Councillor Routley.



To approve Councillor Critchley’s continued absence on grounds of ill-health for a further period of 6 months.



Police Issues

30 minutes is allocated for questions to the Gwent Police representative.

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Superintendent Mike Richards provided an update on current local policing priorities, before inviting questions from Members.


The Mayor invited the Leader to say a few words.


The Leader thanked Superintendent M Richards and his fellow officers for their partnership work around enforcement in relation to Covid Regulations, which had educated and informed people rather than penalised them.  Officers had taken appropriate enforcement action however, where necessary, for those who had committed more serious and persistent breaches of the regulations.


The Leader appealed to colleagues in relation to an incident which was under investigation by the IPOC to refrain from raising queries in relation to this.


Finally, at local level, the Leader and Malpas ward colleagues met up with Paul Turner, who was a welcome addition to the policing team and was full of enthusiasm and good ideas.


Questions from Councillors:


Councillor Rahman had raised an issue with Inspector Cawley regarding lack of parking spaces around Harrow Road, Rugby Road and Bedford Road.  Residents had used bins to reserve these spaces; City Services had been addressing this.  It had however become physical, leading to fights and there was concern that it would escalate.  Inspector Cawley suggested a community day; similar to one that took place before lockdown and Councillor Rahman asked if Superintendent Richards would provide the community van along with resources from Maindee Police Station in order to facilitate this.  The Superintendent would get in touch with Inspector Cawley.


Councillor Jeavons thanked the police for their intervention regarding antisocial behaviour in the Cromwell Road area and was looking forward to seeing more police presence in that area.  The Superintendent would ensure appropriate resources would be in place.


Councillor Lacey referred to a recent incident where teenagers broke into Ringland Primary School and set fire to part of the play area, these actions were caught on CCTV.  This followed a similar pattern to other fires started within the Ringland area previously.  Councillor Lacey therefore asked if Inspector Cawley could look into this.  The Superintendent was aware of this incident and would discuss this with Inspector Cawley and get in touch with the councillor regarding identifying the suspects.


Councillor Davies referred to door to door canvassing in January and asked was this acceptable under the Covid Level 4 lockdown arrangements. The Superintendent confirmed that door-to-door political canvassing was not permitted during the current lock-down restrictions and he would get in touch with Councillor Davies regarding this complaint.


Councillor Whitehead mentioned that the field adjacent to Rougemont School was being used by scramblers.  With milder weather approaching, this could occur more frequently and disturb residents as well as disrupting school lessons.  Councillor Whitehead suggested boulders be put at the entrance of the field to deter this antisocial behaviour.  The Superintendent had seen an increase in this kind of behaviour since last weekend.  Operation Harley, was put in place last year and officers would re-commit to this in the coming months. 


Councillor Holyoake congratulated the police on work carried out recently to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Notice of Motion: M4 Relief Road

This Council acknowledges the need for an M4 Relief Road around Newport and calls on the Welsh Government to issue a special directive ordering the implementation of an advisory referendum within the Newport Local Authority boundary area.

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The Council considered the following motion, for which the necessary notice had been given.  The motion was moved by Councillor M Evans and seconded by Councillor Routley.


This Council acknowledges the need for an M4 Relief Road around Newport and calls on the Welsh Government to issue a special directive ordering the implementation of an advisory referendum within the Newport Local Authority boundary area.


Councillor M Evans introduced the motion by advising councillors to consider asking the Welsh Government to implement a referendum.  This would give the Welsh Parliament the opportunity to debate the benefits of engaging with the electorate on an issue that affected everyone across the city.  Councillor M Evans mentioned that after a public enquiry, by the Independent Commission concluded that an M4 relief road should go ahead.  The First Minister however took the decision not to debate this recommendation and therefore did not go ahead with the construction of the relief road.


The new Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act asked councils to find new ways of engaging with the public.


Councillor M Evans mentioned that previous Leaders had supported the M4 relief road.  A non-binding referendum would show the strength of feeling of the residents of Newport, one way or another.  This would be more meaningful than a petition.  It was hoped that this would lead the way for democracy in listening to the voice of Newportonians in a non-political way.


Councillor Routley formally seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak later in the debate.


The Mayor invited members to move an amendment.


In response, Councillor Mudd requested to move an amendment to the motion, which was seconded by Councillor Hughes.


Councillor H Townsend also  indicated that she may wish to move  a further amendment to the motion.


The Monitoring Officer explained that one amendment would be heard at a time, therefore the Leader was invited to speak first.


Before the Leader proceeded, Councillor C Evans asked for a point of order and sought clarification as to the proposed route.  Councillor M Evans confirmed that it was the black route.


The Leader proceeded  to speak to and move the following amendment:

Newport City Council has always acknowledged public opinion regarding an M4 Relief Road around Newport. We recognise that we must act today for a better tomorrow.


This Council asks the Welsh Government to carefully consider any calls for an advisory referendum or other public consultation within the Newport Local Authority boundary area-within the context of social, economic and environmental factors, which underpin the Well Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.


The Leader commented on the amendment advising that most councillors as well as the public had sat in traffic wishing that there was a better way to improve the infrastructure.  There had been plenty of opportunities in the past to respond to the Welsh Government consultation on the M4 relief road proposals.  In the meantime, Covid had changed everyone’s lives, with no going back however we could change our lives for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Capital Strategy and Treasury Management Strategy 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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The Leader presented the report to Council.


The Capital and Treasury Management Strategies were presented to Audit Committee and their comments are included within the report.  Cabinet endorsed the strategies at its latest meeting, and Council were required to approve the strategies including the borrowing limits and prudential and treasury management indicators included within. 


This report included both the Capital and Treasury Management Strategies which, at their core (i) confirm the capital programme, as part of the Capital Strategy and (ii) the various borrowing limits and other indicators which governed the management of the Councils borrowing & investing activities, as part of the Treasury Management Strategy.


Both these strategies were a requirement of CIPFA’s Prudential Code which sets out the requirement for them and ensured, within the frameworks which these document set, that capital expenditure plans were:


§  Affordable - capital spend and programmes were within sustainable limits and can be accommodated within current and forecast future funding levels.


§  Prudent – Councils needed to set borrowing limits -called ‘operational’ and ‘authorised limits’ which reflected the Councils plan for affordable capital plans and their financing costs. On investing activities, Councils needed to consider the balance between security, liquidity and yieldwhich reflected their own risk appetite but which prioritised security and liquidity over yield. 


§  Sustainable – Council’s capital plans and the revenue cost of financing the current and future forecast borrowing/debt taken out for thatneeded to be sustainable in terms of the Councils overall finances and its impact on that. 


Whilst Cabinet made decisions relating to what capital projects and spend to make, it was the full Council that approves the ‘borrowing limits’ that these were kept within. Many projects are funded from capital grants, capital receipts and specific reserves which did not impact on borrowing levels, but where borrowing was required, the programme was required to be set within those limits.


This was an important area of overall financial management governance in that borrowing levels, once taken up, lock in the Council to a long term lability for revenue costs in relation to the provision of the repayment of those loans (MRP costs) and external loan interest costs – together known as ‘capital financing costs’,


Capital programme

The Council’s capital programme went to 2024/25 (this was the original capital 5 year programme to 2022/23 which was extended by 2 years for projects whose completion spanned beyond the 5 years). It was a significant capital programme and included £211.4m of already approved projects and alongside new investments such as the borrowing for Cardiff City Capital Region spend at £17.3m, £19.7m for the new leisure scheme and £4.5m for further uncommitted borrowing for future projects – brings a total investment of £252.9m for the programme ending 2024/25.


This was a large investment for the City’s key infrastructure. Key projects include:


§  Our new leisure scheme in the city centre -£19.7m.   This would also pave the way for the new Coleg Gwent College. Both would bring much  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Revenue Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) Final Proposals pdf icon PDF 178 KB

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The Leader presented the report to Council.  Following recommendation by my Cabinet, the Council needed to review and make a decision on the level of council tax and the resulting total net revenue budget for 2021/22.


The Cabinet met on the 22nd February 2021 and finalised detailed budget recommendations. This report set out the recommended overall 2021/22 budget, resulting service cash limits, council tax increase and the council’s general reserve and contingencies. An increase in council tax of 3.7% (to £1,242.20 per annum at Band D) for Newport City Council was recommended.  A 3.7% increase on council tax was an increase of 66 pence per week, 76 pence per week and 85 pence per week for Band B, C and D properties respectively.


Turning to the budget first, the Leader stated that, although Council was not here to agree the detail of that, as Cabinet were responsible on where and what resources were spent, it was important to mention a few key points:


1. It represented the culmination of about six months hard work, from agreeing the budget assumptions to form the basis of our planning to finalising detailed proposals last week, after a period of consultation on our draft budget which we announced in early January. We’ve done this under difficult conditions, working remotely and with the significant uncertainty of developing budgets in the current challenging times. Many elected members had taken a part in this, from Cabinet members, to those who sat on Scrutiny committees, fairness Commission and many school governors. The Leader thanked everyone who had played a part in this and Council officers who have worked tirelessly on this whilst also dealing with supporting the city and residents through the last 12 months.


2. The Council’s funding was increasing significantly next year and this provided some choices and the opportunity to invest in key services, including prepare the Council and the City for the challenges of ‘recovering’ from the last 12 months. Whilst the Revenue Support Grant accounts for about 76% of our overall funding, Council tax was still an important element. Funding, with a 3.7% Council Tax would increase by just over £15m.


3. The Cabinet were still making savings because the proposed investments were more than  the available budget and therefore savings were needed. The draft budget proposals on savings showed we were on the ‘right track’. Most of the savings would have little to no impact on services and were delegated to Heads of Service to implement.  Of those we consulted on, only two proposals received negative feedback from residents. The Leader said that she would listen and she had by deleting the one saving that was not liked (charging at HWRC) and by reducing the Council Tax increase substantially from that consulted on.


4. The budget investment prioritises ‘people’ in our city and invests in ‘place’.


-         £4.9m would fund the cost increases in our schools, including new and expanding schools. We have kept back the pay increase element and would distribute  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Questions to the Leader of the Council

To provide an opportunity for Councillors to ask questions to the Leader of the Council in accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders.



No more than 15 minutes will be allocated at the Council meeting for questions to the Leader of the Council.


The question must be addressed through the Mayor or the person presiding at the meeting and not directly to the person being questioned.

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The Leader announced the following before proceeding with Questions.


§  Last week, as well as finalising the budget, the cabinet gave the go-ahead to one of the most exciting projects the council would have embarked on in recent years.


A multi-million pound new leisure and well-being centre on a key riverfront site in the city centre would also pave the way for a 21st century city centre campus for Coleg Gwent.


Together, they would mean an investment of more than £100 million in the city centre bringing with them increased footfall and vibrancy. It would cost the council around £4 million, which seemed a small price to pay for what promised to be such a transformation in this part of the city centre; providing first class leisure facilities for residents and an enhanced learning environment in a fantastic new campus for our young people.


We were in challenging times but we could not stand still or stop striving to improve people’s lives. These developments would bring huge benefits for so many people and we looked forward to more engagement with residents as the proposals develop and progress. Our consultation responses had shown these plans have won the backing of so many people in the city.


§  The council was consulting with residents, businesses and community groups on our active travel network map, to help shape the future of active travel in Newport.  We wanted to know where people would like to see new walking and cycling routes developed as well as what could be done to improve existing routes


The leader urged everyone who hasn’t already taken part to get involved as this was an important piece of work for the city and future generations, with a greener, more environmentally friendly and, above all, safer city.


§  The Leader congratulated the planning and regeneration teams who were nominated for a prestigious award for their work on the innovative Central View housing scheme in Commercial Street.


The council was a finalist in the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) awards for planning excellence 2021. It was shortlisted in the excellence in planning to deliver homes small schemes category.  We were one of only two Welsh council to make the final of the awards which attracted entrants from all over the UK in the public and private sector.


Central View was a high quality housing scheme for over-55s in Commercial Street which was developed using funding from housing association Pobl Group, the Council and Welsh Government.  We would find out next month if the entry was chosen as the winner but in such a high quality field from across the country, just being nominated was a huge honour and worthy of recognition.


§  Later this month we would reach an unwelcome milestone, on 23 March it would be a year since the first lockdown was announced because of the Covid 19 pandemic, with few of us thinking that we would still be living under restrictions 12 months later.


It was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.