Report of the Director of Finance.
(1) the draft budget for 2021/22 and the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2021/22 to 2023/24 as set out in Appendices 1 and 2 to the report be approved for general consultation and subsequently reviewed in light of the consultation responses and the equality impact assessments before it was referred to Council in February 2021;
(2) the Spending Review 2020 confirmed broad plans for public spending for 2021/22, which would impact on local government be noted , and the draft budget updated when the detail was announced in the Indicative Financial Settlement expected mid to late December followed by the Final Settlement no later than January 2021;
(3) the balanced budget position for 2021/22, and the budget gaps of £25.754m and £5.098m for 2022/23 and 2023/24 respectively based on the scenario of a total Council Tax increase of 4.99% in 2021/22 and 1.99% in 2022/23 , as set out in Table 2 of the officer report, be noted;
(4) the proposal to increase core Council Tax by 1.99% in 2021/22 and in 2022/23, as set out in Table 2 and paragraph 1.21 of the officer report, be noted;.
(5) the proposal to increase Council Tax by 3.0% in 2021/22 in respect of the Adult Social Care Precept, as set out in Table 2 and paragraph 1.21 of the officer report, be noted;
(6) the requirement to develop a fully costed budget and implementation plan to support the estimated financial challenges over the MTFS for presentation to Cabinet in summer / autumn, as set out in paragraph 1.50 of the officer report, be noted;
(7) it be noted that no structured changes to the schools funding formula for 2021/22 were proposed;
(8) the draft Public Health budget for 2021/22, as set out in Appendix 4 to the officer report, be noted;
(9) the assumed funding for the protection of social care 2021/22 through the Better Care Fund (BCF), as set out in paragraph 1.65 of the report, be noted;
(10) the Director of Finance and Assurance be authorised, following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources, to agree Harrow’s 2021/22 contribution to the London Borough’s Grant Scheme;
(11) it be noted that the London 75% Business Rate Retention Pilot would not apply in 2021/22 but the London Boroughs Leaders’ Committee had agreed to continue to informally post business rates across all London authorities in 2021/22 (as occurred in 2020/21), subject to no London Authority withdrawing before the cooling off period lapsed in mid-January;
(12) the Director of Finance and Assurance be authorised, following consultation with the Leader of the Council, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources and the Monitoring Officer to respond on behalf of the authority with regard to any recommendations from the informal business rates pool from 2021/22 noting that final approval would be sought from Cabinet and Council in February 2021.
Reason for Decision: To ensure that the Council published a draft budget for 2021/22 and a draft 3 Year MTFS to 2023/24.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected: As set out in the report.
Conflict of Interest relating to the matter declared by Cabinet Member/Dispensation Granted: None.