Agenda item

Capital Programme Monitoring and Additions - July 2021

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report to Cabinet.

 

This report provided the capital monitoring position as at July 2021.

 

The Council set an extensive capital programme that reflected seven years commitments.

 

Table one in the reports showed how that had changed over the financial year and showed the Councils capital commitments and spend in the city now totals £282m over the life of the programme, across all service areas.

 

Cabinet was also being asked to approve, as usual, new capital projects to be added to the overall programme.

 

Table two within the report detailed these new capital projects and how each of the projects were funded.

 

Table three in the report showed the forecast position as at July 21 which was the focus of this report. The current position showed a small expected underspend of £159k and appendix C within report showed the details of those.

 

The table also highlighted that there had been reprofiling undertaken to date of £30.2m. Details of where this reprofiling occurred was also contained within the report.  This however still left a capital programme of £70.4m for 21/22, which was still extremely high. Further work on forecasting and reprofiling would need to continue to ensure that the capital programme reflected a more realistic timescale for the projects to be delivered and officers were asked to continuously review projects and update the project profile as the schemes progressed.

 

In terms of monitoring spend, the report confirmed low spending of just under £11 million on a budget of £70.4m. This pattern was not uncommon, as usual a lot of the cost was predicted in the last half of the year.  This however, brought with it the risk of slippage, but further work, as outlined would help in that respect.  In saying this, progress was being made on a number of projects, in particular the Band B School programme, details of which were noted in the report.

 

The reported capital headroom (budget for which there was currently no committed expenditure), was £7.6m, which included £1.2m of unallocated Joint Venture monies. The demand for capital expenditure in Newport exceeded the level of resource and the Council needed to prioritise carefully where it spent this capital resource accordingly

 

Whilst not addressed in this report, it was helpful to note that the Leader requested some work on the financial and delivery risks on the capital programme resulting from volatility in raw materials/labour costs and supply issues. Mainly as a result of Covid and Brexit, these are clearly having an impact across the UK and officers will assess this for the Councils programme and report back in due course. The work is on-going. 

 

As a cabinet, the report asks us to note and approve

-         the re-profiling which has been undertaken so far this financial year of £30.2m into future years.

-         Approve the new capital projects and amendments to the Council’s Capital Programme, including the use of reserves and capital receipts

-         To note the current available capital resources (‘headroom’),  

 

Comments of Cabinet Members:

 

Councillor Davies looked forward to future Cabinet report regarding the Bassaleg School expansion programme.  Councillor Davies also made reference to the outstanding work undertaken at St Andrews, with excellent support from staff, teachers and governing body.  It was hoped that the school would receive funding from WG soon.

 

Councillor Cockeram advised that there would be over 200 projects completed by end of 2022 to help vulnerable, schools, leisure centre, which was positive to see this being achieved by the administration.

 

Councillor Jeavons attended the connect centre at St Andrews and congratulated the school on a good job well made and thanked everyone for their hard work as well as thanking Lliswerry Primary School who had accepted the year six children of St Andrews.

 

Councillor Rahman mentioned that it was a year like no other, with positive plans going forward as an authority.  The Council was committed to improving City Centre, with the largest market refurbishment in UK.  Active travel was making good strides and the Newport leisure centre was an ambitious project. Newport was leading way in the UK with regeneration projects as well as working with community groups such as Maindee Unlimited.

 

Councillor Mayer commended officers for their hard work behind the scenes.  Investments which were in place enabled service delivery to run efficiently.

 

Councillor Harvey echoed the comments of colleagues and considered that this was the worst time in our generation due to Covid, however the service delivery by the Council was still taking place. Councillor Harvey was proud of Newport City Council and proud of Cabinet

 

Decision:

 

That Cabinet:

 

1.      Approved the additions and amendments to the capital programme (Appendix A), including the use of reserves and capital receipts requested in the report

2.      Approved reprofiling of £30,228k into future years

3.      Noted the update on the remaining capital resources (‘headroom’) up to and including 2022/23

4.      Noted the capital expenditure forecast position as at July 2021

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