Agenda item

To receive the report of the Interim s151 Officer




That following consideration of the financial impact of Covid-19 upon the Council, the necessity for the Council to maximise its income streams where ever possible be agreed




The Interim s151 Officer gave a slide presentation which highlighted the financial impact of Covid-19 on Torridge Council, and updated the assessment of the Council as a “going concern”.  It also highlighted the potential impact of Covid-19 on the Councils’ Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).


The key points highlighted included:


      Additional Expenditure – PPE,  Agency back filling for staff self isolating, Support for Community Groups, Homelessness and ICT Remote Working


      Significantly Reduced Income – impact on the vast majority of the Council’s income streams (apart from Garden Waste). 


      Impact will be long lasting, potentially lasting for years, won’t disappear with easing of lockdown


      Potentially the greatest challenge ever faced by Torridge Council

      Sources of Funding for Torridge – impact on Council Tax, Business Rates, Fees and Charges


      Positive - Torridge has no immediate cash flow issues, mainly due to having reserves set aside for future capital projects.  The cash balances of the Council will decline during 2020/21 for two prime reasons:


      Paying over Council Tax to its preceptors based upon pre Covid-19 estimates of Collectable Council Tax

      Reduced income from Fees and Charges


During the debate the following issues/concerns were raised and responded to by the relevant Officers:


·         Replacement of vehicle fleet which is a major expenditure on capital equipment – to lease vehicles - although it is an option it would be a pressure on the finances (Revenue budget)


·         Consideration to be given to abandoning certain of the major projects.  All the projects in the capital programme to be looked at going forward.  Officers are lobbying the Government for additional financial support.


·         Returns – Government accepted returns from Torridge Council as being realistic.   The Government had asked for a list of projects that could be accelerated in order for them to be used to boost the economy.  A list of those projects in the pipeline had been submitted – these included Future High Street project, acquiring additional land at Caddsdown, finance for Environmental centre.    Council Tax collection - contact to be made with council tax payers to ensure payments start coming in.  Help to be provided to those payers facing hardship.


·         Allocation of Government Grants received.


·         In the event of a local lockdown, Management Plans are in place – DCC being the upper tier authority responsible for the Plan.


·         Governments position with regard to additional funding to the Authority and processes/procedures involved.   The requirement for this Council to consider and to decide on how to manage its global services should the Government not provide additional funding.


·         Regular contact meetings are held with the MP and Simon Clarke, Local Government Minister.   Government are now expecting the Council to start looking at income streams wherever possible.  Guidance from Government is they are prepared to look at expenditure the Council are unable to recoup.  They are looking at providing funding for projects to drive the economy forward, not reserves.


Councillor Bright referred to the Special Community & Resources Committee meeting which had been scheduled to consider Councillor McGeoughs Notice of Motion for free car parking, and stated he thought it contradictory to the recommendations in this report.   The Interim s151 Officer clarified that the report had been written before the Notice of Motion had been put forward.


The Committee thanked the Interim s151 Officer for an excellent presentation.


It was proposed by Councillor James, seconded by Councillor Lock and -




That following consideration of the financial impact of Covid-19 upon the Council, the necessity for the Council to maximise its income streams where ever possible be agreed



A recorded vote was taken.







Brenton, D




Bright, C




Bushby, D




Christie, P




Dart, A




Hicks, R




Hodson, C




Hutchings, J




James, K




Laws, N




Lock, R




McGeough, D




Wiseman, R











(Vote:  For – Unanimous)



Supporting documents: