This report presents the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20.
Council approves the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts.
Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader – Finance and Property) moved the recommendation and was seconded by Councillor Adrian Warwick who reserved the right to speak. Councillor Butlin explained the process that the Statement of Accounts had followed before reaching Council. He emphasised that the published balance sheet presented a snapshot of the position at 31 March 2020.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) commended the report stating that it was evidence of good housekeeping albeit looking backwards. He highlighted the reported increase in violence stating that this was a cause for concern. Looking forward he observed that the impact of the Pandemic on business rates will be significant as will the outcome of decisions regarding the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review.
Councillor Roodhouse concluded by highlighting the scale of deficits in schools adding that the Pandemic has meant the expected school finance recovery plan has not been delivered as expected.
Referencing page 131 of the agenda pack Councillor Keith Kondakor expressed the view that a 9% variation on property values will have a material impact on the accounts. He suggested that in view of the Pandemic, Brexit and the possibility of negative interest rates it is necessary to closely examine property values.
Councillor Andy Crump (Portfolio Holder for Fire & Rescue and Community Safety) thanked Finance staff for their hard work and added that the reserves set aside previously by the authority were of great use during the Pandemic.
Councillor Bill Gifford commended the accounts as clear and accessible.
Councillor Helen Adkins (Leader of the Labour Group) reminded members that a motion had been agreed at the May 2019 meeting of Council calling for a report on school deficits and the efforts being made by the authority to address them. That report had not been forthcoming and she asked members and officers to deliver it as soon as possible.
A vote was held. The motion was carried with one abstention.
That Council approves the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts.