Council services by letter

Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Mwim Chellah, Senior Democratic and Electoral Services Officer  Tel: 020 8420 9262 E-mail:  mwimanji.chellah@harrow.gov.uk

Link: View the meeting online

Media

Items
No. Item

7.

Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

 

Reserve Members may attend meetings:-

 

(i)            to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)          where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)         the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)         if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Member:

 

Ordinary Member

 

Reserve Member

 

Councillor Bharat Thakker

Councillor Susan Hall

 

8.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:

 

(a)          all Members of the Panel;

(b)          all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that the Declarations of Interests published in advance of the meeting on the Council’s website were taken as read.

9.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 127 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2019 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January  2019 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

10.

Public Questions

To receive any public questions received in accordance with paragraph 16 of the Executive Procedure Rules.

 

Questions will be asked in the order in which they were received. There will be a time limit of 15 minutes for the asking and answering of public questions.

 

[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm, 19 January 2021. Questions should be sent to publicquestions@harrow.gov.uk  

No person may submit more than one question].

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were none.

11.

Petitions

To receive petitions (if any) submitted by members of the public/Councillors under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 47 (Part 4D of the Constitution).

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were none.

12.

Deputations

To receive deputations (if any) under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 48 (Part 4D of the Constitution).

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were none.

Resolved Items

13.

Draft Revenue Budget 2021/22 and Draft Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021/22 to 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 568 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received two reports of the Director of Finance which set out the Council’s proposed Draft Revenue Budget 2021/22 and the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021/22 to 2023/24.

 

The Chair welcomed Members and representatives of the business community to the virtual meeting.  He explained that the Council had a statutory duty to consult the business community before setting the Budget and Council Tax for the forthcoming year.

 

Following comments and questions from Members, the Director of Finance advised that:

 

§     the Council had a statutory obligation to agree and publish the budget for 2021/22, and approval for this would be sought in February 2021.  In preparing the 2021/22 budget and rolling forward the MTFS to cover the three-year period 2021/22 to 2023/24, the current MTFS (approved by Council in 2020); 

 

§     the MTFS approved in February 2020 assumed a budget gap of £11.414m for 2021/22 and £11.178m for 2022/23.  This assumed achieving existing directorate savings of £2.947m in 2021/22;

 

§     there was provision of £150 000 for a climate change advisor in the draft budget.  However, there was no funding provided for Black Lives Matter (BLM) activities, whose costs would be covered by contingency monies;

 

§     £100m was approved by Cabinet in July 2019 as an addition to the Capital Programme for Commercial Investments.  The basis of the inclusion was that this £100m would generate a minimum net return of £2.5m after repaying the capital financing costs.  One property had been bought from the £100m which was generating a net return of £150 000, which was built into the 2020/21 budget. The net return from the balance of £94m was reflected in the MTFS equally over 2021/22 and 2022/23.

 

§     The decision had been made not to continue with the strategy of commercial investment due to the challenges of securing properties which met the investment criteria and the decision of the Government to stop the use of Public Loans Works Board for investment in property bought primarily for yield.  The remaining net return within the MTFS of £2.350m had now been removed.

 

A representative from the business sector queried how the Council was faring with the collection of business rates in the view of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, if benchmarked against other London local authorities.  What was the expected loss from business rates?

 

It was advised that Harrow Council, had on average, fared better than other local authorities in London, and had endeavoured to collect business rates to balance its books. However, business rates income would be impacted by: ratepayers ability to pay due to the Covid-19 pandemic; loss of commercial property because of permitted developments and change of use to domestic property; and potential reductions in office space due to appeals.  These were national risks as well, and not only specific to Harrow.  The loss of revenue from business rates was yet to be determined.