Agenda and minutes

Budget, Council - Tuesday, 28th February, 2023 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chambers - Civic Centre

Contact: Anne Jenkins  Governance Team Leader


No. Item



        i.           To receive any apologies for absence.

      ii.           To receive any declarations of interest.

     iii.           To receive any announcements by the Presiding Member.

Additional documents:


1.i  Apologies


None received.


1.ii  Declarations of Interest


Councillors Horton and Marshall declared an interest under Item 8.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 180 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the last meeting.

Additional documents:


The Minutes of 11 January 2023 were accepted subject to the following:


Item 10 Mayoral Nomination 2023/24

Councillor Evans wanted it noted that it was unanimously voted that Cllr T Watkins be Mayor for 2023/24


Item 12 Leaders Questions

Councillor Evans wanted it recorded that Council Questions had returned to the process of open questions in 2016.



Appointments pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider any proposed appointments.

Additional documents:


To consider the proposed appointments set out in the report


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


Councillor Fouweather seconded the report.


Resolved: That the following appointments be agreed.


Governing Body Appointments


Governing Body

No of Vacancies /


Nominations Received

Langstone Primary


Garrie Tillett

Monnow Primary


Jason Jordan

Lliswerry High

New Appointment

Reverend Father Glen Wilkins

Lliswerry High

New Appointment

Adam Smith

Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael

New Appointment

Joseph Chambers

Caerleon Lodge Hill

New Appointment

Jason Hughes

Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon

New Appointment

Peredur Griffiths

Jubilee Park

New Appointment

Martin Bentley

Marshfield Primary

New Appointment

Suzanne Evans

Milton Primary

New Appointment

Stephen Blewett


Appointment to the Gwent Regional PSB

Councillors Stowell-Corten and Farzina Hussain



Police Issues

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

Additional documents:


The Presiding Member welcomed Chief Superintendent Carl Williams, Local Policing Commander for Newport and Monmouthshire, who provided council members with an update on Police issues within East, West and Central Newport.


The Presiding Member invited the Leader to put questions to Chief Superintendent Williams.


The Leader expressed her thanks to the Chief Superintendent on behalf of all elected members for engaging with councillors and working in partnerships at ward level. It was really productive and helpful and at this time, most welcome.  The Leader also passed on her thanks to Chief Inspector Davies for the information sent out to all colleagues who also found the briefing very helpful.


The Leader referred to hate crimes and that she and colleagues attended a vigil outside the Westgate Hotel to remember and pay tribute to the life of Brianna Ghey. It was profoundly moving to see representatives from all communities but particularly our trans community. To hear them pay tribute but also talk about their fears, that also included mothers talking about the children and young people too.  In light of this, what assurance could the Chief Superintendent give that all communities within Newport were safe. 


The Chief Superintendent mentioned that these were some of the most harrowing incidents.  The stance within Gwent Police is that this behaviour was intolerable. Specialist hate crime support officers were in place when these incidents occurred to provide additional support. Zero tolerance was supported in these incidences to bring those people to justice.  The neighbourhood policing team assurance was crucial to show that the Police stood in solidarity and the strongest action possible would be taken.  The race action plan and an action plan for violence against women and girls was recently put on the strategic policing requirement.  A representative police force that acted appropriately and one that did not tolerate this sort of behaviour was needed in all areas.


Questions to the Police raised by Councillors:


§  Councillor Harvey mentioned that there were a few incidents of attempted burglary within the Alway ward and Somerton.  Councillor Harvey had been in touch with the local policing team, however the inspector was currently away and therefore requested extra teams to patrol Alway, Somerton and outskirts of Ringland ward.  The Chief Superintendent assured Councillor Harvey that the police did not tolerate burglary and would look at putting on extra patrolling for the area.  Whilst the inspector was on leave, there were other officers who could assist in carrying out that role.  There had been a reduction in residential burglaries across Newport, however one was too many.


§  Councillor Routley referred to potholes on A48, Coldra roundabout to Hillcroft.  The Presiding Member asked that this be raised with the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Assets, not the Police.


§  Councillor Cleverly raised the problems around the Bettws in Bloom building.  Since last October vandalism had taken place involving a certain group of young people and it had happened again this weekend.  The Bettws Councillors had got in touch  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


2023/24 Capital Strategy and Treasury Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Additional documents:


The Presiding Member invited the Leader to introduce the report.


This was an annual report focusing on the Council’s capital expenditure plans, the financial impact of those in terms of borrowing, and the investment strategy for the year.


It was important to note that, although Cabinet approved the detail capital programme, full Council ultimately approved the borrowing limits and prudential indicators contained within the report.


The Governance and Audit Committee have also considered the report in their most recent meeting and provided comments. In this case, their comments simply endorsed the proposed strategies, with no concerns raised.


The Council was entering a new capital programme window, with the current programme ending in March this year. A new five-year programme was taking effect from April.


Whilst the programme was reviewed once every five years, it was proposed to move to a rolling approach to capital programme management, meaning that the overall programme, and borrowing affordability, was to be reviewed annually.


The change would introduce more flexibility in managing the programme, accompanied by strengthened governance arrangements, detailed in the report.


Due to the extremely challenging financial context, the proposed programme contained only ongoing and previously approved schemes, which were carried forward from the existing programme, and annual sums, including activities such as annual asset maintenance and fleet renewal.


Because of the affordability challenges, there was no new borrowing headroom included in the strategy, meaning that capital headroom (used to pursue new schemes or address cost increases on existing schemes) was limited. As a result, every opportunity needed to be taken to boost the headroom via one-off sources to continue to respond to emerging pressures as and when they arose.


It was important for Council to note that, whilst there was no new borrowing included in the programme, previously approved borrowing would be incurred over the next few years, this increased the overall Capital Financing Requirement and the Council’s level of debt. The borrowing limits proposed in the report, which Council was required to approve today, took account of this.


In addition, the revenue consequence of additional borrowing (eg interest payable on loans) was already budgeted for, following a budget investment made in 2021/22.


It was vital that the proposed strategy was affordable, prudent, and sustainable. The fact that the revenue budget required to pay capital financing costs confirmed that the strategy was affordable.


Prudence could be achieved by ensuring that the level of capital expenditure being incurred was proportionate in the context of the overall budget.  Additionally, the recommended borrowing limits aligned with the broader capital expenditure plans.


Sustainability was achieved by ensuring that the long-term commitment to incur capital financing costs was reflected within the medium-term financial plan and the necessary revenue funding was in place for the duration of the financial commitment.


In terms of Treasury Management, the report detailed the Council’s approach to borrowing and investing. An internal borrowing strategy would still be pursued by using available cash resources to defer external borrowing for as long as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


2023/24 Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Additional documents:


The Presiding Member introduced the report and mentioned that this was one of the most difficult budgets he had seen and asked that council colleagues deal with this item respectfully.


The Leader presented the report to budget and Council Tax 2023/24 report to colleagues. It was an integral part of the Council’s budget setting processes and followed the detailed budget proposals that the Cabinet agreed at our February meeting, during which we recommended an 8.5% increase in Council Tax.


The Leader reminded everyone, as the ‘Administration’, the Cabinet made decisions on the allocation of resources and Full Council made the final decision on the Council Tax level only. Council was to agree the Council Tax for 2023/24 and via this, the Council’s total net budget.


The detailed recommendations were outlined in the report itself, however, in summary, Council was asked:


To note the extensive consultation exercise that has been completed and taken into account by Cabinet when finalising the detailed budget.


To note the Head of Finance’s recommendations regarding the minimum General Fund balance and the robustness of the overall budget.


Most importantly, to consider and approve a Council Tax increase for Newport City Council of 8.5%, a Band D tax rate of £1,380.13, and the overall revenue budget shown in Appendix 1.


In doing so, to approve the formal Council Tax resolution, which incorporated the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent and Community Council precepts and was detailed in Appendix 3.


As well as this, Council was asked to note the Medium Term Financial Plan and the financial context, note Cabinet’s approval of the plan and the fact that this was subject to ongoing review, and note and approve the Council’s reserve strategy and transformation fund protocol.


The Leader first went through the budget proposals with Council.


This particular budget process was one of the most challenging in recent times. High levels of inflation, which were impacting residents and businesses alike, were also impacting significantly upon the Council’s finances. This was evident in terms of pay awards and energy costs, as well as the payments we make to our service providers. Coupled with a significant increase in demand for services, particularly in certain services, it led to a stark budget position and a significant gap between projected costs and funding to be addressed.  


Addressing that budget gap, and achieving a balanced budget, was done in a number of ways, including additional funding from Welsh Government, savings across a range of services and the recommended Council Tax increase.


Although savings were required to balance the budget, we tried to minimise the impact upon services as much as possible as well as investing significantly in a number of services. These vital investments were set out in February Cabinet meeting, taking account of the feedback received from the public consultation.


The key priorities, as highlighted within the report, would see significant investment as we continued to recover from the last two years include the following:


·        Including the additional funding outlined during the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


National Non-Domestic Rates: Discretionary Rate Relief Schemes 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Additional documents:


The Presiding Member invited the Leader to introduce the next item on the agenda, which dealt with the Welsh Government’s rate relief scheme for 2023/24. This applied to all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses across the city which met their qualifying criteria set out in the report and give a 75% rate reduction. It followed on from similar relief schemes operating since 2020/21.


Council was asked to agree to adopt the Welsh Government's Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rate Relief Scheme for 2023-24 by making the appropriate determinations and decision, included within the report, as required by Sections 47(1)(a) and 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.


As the recommendations suggested, this was a ‘procedural report’ and required as, whilst this was the Welsh Government scheme, it was being implemented by Local Authorities using their own discretionary powers under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988. The use of this discretion was one for full Council to consider and exercise, which was a valuable benefit to those qualifying businesses.


The Scheme was fully funded by Welsh Government and enabled those businesses in retail, leisure or hospitality sector to benefit from 75% reduced business rates in 2023-24. The scheme covered all businesses that occupied business premises operating in these sectors.


Once adopted, the discretionary power would be exercised by the Head of Finance under delegated powers. The formal determination was shown within the report.


The relief operated in a similar way to previous schemes and businesses were required to apply for the rate relief. The same application, for those businesses operating in the city centre, was also used to allow them to access the Council’s own local scheme and this provided 25% rate relief. It would be awarded automatically at the same time as the Welsh Government’s award.  This meant that eligible business would be in receipt of 100% rate relief over the next financial year.  The Leader urged all retailers eligible to apply for this scheme.


Councillor D Davies seconded the report.


Comments from Councillors:


§  Councillor D Davies mentioned that 75% in tax relief would make a huge difference in these difficult times supported by the Welsh Government and Cardiff Capital Region funding but was led by Newport City Council due to its vision and determination.  Councillor D Davies therefore welcomed the report.


§  Councillor Thomas hoped that businesses would take advantage to help them thrive and do well in Newport.  Councillor Thomas was particularly pleased as the city centre was in the Stow Hill ward.


§  Councillor Evans on behalf of the conservative group fully supported the report.




Council agreed unanimously to adopt the Welsh Government's Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rate Relief Scheme for 2023-24 by making the appropriate determinations and decision, included within the report, as required by Sections 47(1)(a) and 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.


Gwent Wellbeing Plan 2023/28 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Additional documents:


The Presiding Member invited the Leader to present update on the development of the Gwent Wellbeing Plan 2023-28 and approve the plan as one of the Statutory Members of the Gwent Public Services Board.


There was a statutory requirement within the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act for Public Services Bodies to produce a Well-being plan setting objectives on how it would improve the economic, social, environmental, and cultural well-being of its area by contributing to the achievement of the seven National Well-being goals.


The Gwent Public Services Board held its first meeting in October 2021 after it was agreed for each of the five local PSBs, including OneNewport, to merge to form a Gwent PSB thus strengthening partnership arrangements across the region.  The wellbeing plan was therefore based upon needs assessments from across Gwent, including the six local areas of Newport.


As Chair of the OneNewport partnership, which became a local delivery group, the Leader informed colleagues that they would be working closely with all partners to deliver the objectives of the final plan both on a regional and local footprint and have started to develop a local delivery plan.


The analysis of the needs assessments highlighted key themes residents wanted to prioritise. These themes formed the basis of a draft plan published for a statutory consultation period between October and December 2022. 


Following feedback gained from the consultation from both stakeholders and members of the public, the Plan was amended, and this new plan was now shared with Members.


The Leader drew Council colleagues attention to the two Well-being Objectives:


o   We want to create a fairer, more equitable and inclusive Gwent for all


o   We want a climate-ready Gwent, where our environment is valued and protected, benefitting our well-being now and for future generations


These were supported by the five steps contained within the plan.  Following approval by all statutory partners, the Gwent PSB would provide final sign off in mid-April with publication in May 2023.


A more detailed regional delivery plan would be developed following publication, along with a performance management framework


Newport was working with OneNewport partners and other key stakeholders to develop a local action plan to address the particular needs for our communities across the city.




Council reviewed and accepted the Gwent Well-Being Plan.



The Presiding Member closed the meeting at this point.