Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Neil Barnett Scrutiny Adviser
Councillors Graham Berry, Malcolm Linton, Ibrahim Hayat and Mark Whitcutt.
Declaration of Interest
The minutes of the meetings held on 29th November 2021 were approved as a true and accurate record.
It was noted that information requested on tree planting throughout the City was still awaited. The Scrutiny Adviser will chase up with the Service Manager – Environment and Leisure.
- Meirion Rushworth – Head of Finance
- Robert Green – Assistant Head of Finance
- Paul Jones – Strategic Director – Environment and Sustainability
- Rhys Cornwall – Strategic Director – Transformation and Corporate Centre
- Gareth Price – Head of Law and Regulation
- Tracey Brooks – Head of Regeneration Investment and Housing
- Amie Garwood-Pask – Service Manager Accountancy – Finance Business Partnering
- Alistair Hopkins – Senior Finance Business Partner – Place and Corporate
The Head of Finance gave a brief overview of the report and said that it had been a different budget process this year. Having received a relatively generous settlement this year the proposed budget was more optimistic to that of previous years, with no need to find significant savings. A more bullish approach had been taken and the medium term financial plan had been worked through and it had been reasonably prudent to assume that there would be no need to identify significant budget savings. Total funding for the following year was due to be increased by a little over £27 million, however, the Minister had highlighted a number of areas to be dealt with which included paying care providers an amount in order for them to pay their staff the living wage as opposed to the minimum wage. National Insurance would also be rising for employers, together with some pension scheme increases.
There would be no new budget proposals to scrutinise in this report but the Committee were tasked rather with focussing on proposed budget investments, proposed Council Tax increase, and proposed fees and charges. The key priorities for investment were highlighted as being:
- School’s funding
- Early Intervention and Prevention activities / services
- The City Centre
Members made the following comments and asked the following questions:-
· It was pleasing to Members that this year they were not having to discuss any necessary cut backs to services. Clarity was sought on the accelerated contributions made towards the Cardiff City Regional deal and the reference to advanced manufacturing capability throughout the region.
The Head of Finance stated that we contributed just under 10 % the City Deal’s costs alongside the other Councils and the treasury. The City Growth Deal was an ambitious one both in terms of investment and economic growth. The business plan in place meant that the Cabinet accelerated its investments and so all the councils had to increase their contributions in order to cover the short term cash flow and were therefore funding the projects until the treasury money was received. As part of the settlement for Wales there was also increased funding for the City Deal.
In relation to the advanced manufacturing capability, this went above and beyond the Semi- Conductor facility in the region. The Head of Regeneration Investment and Housingexplained that this was one of the drivers for general growth in the region. Alongside some of the established businesses currently in Newport and the rest of the region, it was very much ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
a) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)
b) Actions Plan (Appendix 2)
- Neil Barnett – Scrutiny Adviser
a)Forward Work Programme Update
The Scrutiny Adviser presented the Forward Work Programme, and informed the Committee of the topics due to be discussed at the next committee meeting:
Monday 13th November 2021 at 4pm, the agenda items; -
- Economic Growth Strategy and Economic Recovery Plan – Recommendations Monitoring
- Carbon Management Plan – Progress Monitoring
The Scrutiny Adviser told the Committee that the comments and recommendations made at the previous meeting held on 29th November 2021 were forwarded onto Heads of Service and Cabinet on 30th November 2021.