Agenda and minutes

Budget Council, County Council - Monday 8 February 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Paul Williams  Democratic Services Team Leader


No. Item



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Apologies for Absence

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Apologies were received from Councillor Andy Wright.


Members’ Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-pecuniary Interests

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Concerning agenda item 2 the following county councillors, as members of town and parish councils (which are in turn members of the Warwickshire and West Midlands Association of Local Councils) declared non-pecuniary interests for noting. Councillors Adrian Warwick, Sarah Boad, Dave Reilly, Bill Gifford, Judy Falp, Jo Barker, Andy Jenns, Dave Parsons, Mark Cargill and Ann Parry.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 345 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2020.

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The minutes of the meeting of Council held on 15 December 2020 were considered by Council. Councillor Keith Kondakor requested a change to page 5 of the minutes. (Page 9 of the document pack). The change was to the statement, “….in June 2019 Etone College missed out on wave funding”. This, he said should say, “….in June 2019 Nuneaton missed out on wave funding”. This change was accepted by Council. Taking account of the requested change the minutes were agreed.


Chair's announcements

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1. Death of Former County Councillor Mota Singh


Councillor Alan Cockburn (Chair of Council) announced the death on 31 January 2021 of former County Councillor Mota Singh. The meeting was  informed that Mota Singh had been elected to the County Council in 1985 being the first Indian to serve on the Council. During his 24 years with the County Council Mota Singh served on the Police Committee and its successor the Police Authority. In 21 years on these bodies he served twice as Chair.


He also had a particular interest in social services and education.


In 1999 Mota became the Vice Chair of Council and in 2000 he became Chair. As Chairman, he met Prince Charles at Stratford Upon Avon, Her Majesty the Queen at a Buckingham Palace garden party, and escorted Prince Philip at the Royal Show at Stoneleigh.


Tributes to Mota Singh were paid by members of Council.


Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi remembered Mota Singh as a staunch socialist who was an inspiration to others through the commitment he demonstrated to the people he served for over 24 years.


Councillor John Holland commented on the length of time that Mota Singh served on the council. He would be remembered for being warm and friendly and always interested in people. Nothing was too much trouble for him. He commenced his working day as a post man and post driver at 4.30 in the morning. Having completed his duties, he would then commence his work for the community. Although he had been unable to complete his education in India, this was not a barrier to him. He would be greatly missed.


Councillor Sarah Boad had known Mota Singh since 1994. Membership of Leamington Town Council meant that they continued to work together until his retirement from politics in 2019. Mota Singh was notable in that he became Deputy Mayor of Leamington on his election to the Town Council. This was unusual and can be attributed to his record with Warwickshire County Council. He was a kind and gentle man who will be greatly missed.


Councillor Maggie O’Rourke knew Mota Singh through their work on equality and inclusion. He worked tirelessly, always finding time to listen. In memory of Mota Singh Councillor O’Rourke quoted Mahatma Gandhi. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.


Councillor Izzi Seccombe (Leader of the Council) remembered Mota Singh on the Police Authority. He was a quiet man who could fill the room with his personality.


Councillor Judy Falp observed that Mota Singh was gentleman. When she was out in Whitnash with the late Bernard Kirton, Mota Singh would always find time to say hello and enquire after them.


Councillor Jonathan Chilvers (Leader of the Green Group) observed that Mota Singh was a breaker of boundaries who was always liked. As time moved on he became ever more popular in his community; Successive elections saw his majority grow. He would always listen and if he thought a cause was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1(4)


2021/22 Budget and 2021-26 Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 365 KB

This report seeks Council approval for the 2021/22 Budget and authorisation for work to continue on ensuring that the 2021-26 Medium Term Financial Strategy is aligned with and supports the delivery of the Council’s ambitions.

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Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property) introduced the item by thanking Virginia Rennie and Andy Felton for their assistance and hard work in developing the budget. He then proceeded to set out the Conservative Group’s budget proposals as contained in the appendix to the published report. In doing so he emphasised the following points.


  • The 2020/21 budget and Medium -Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) were agreed prior to the Pandemic when the Council’s reserves and overall budget were in a healthy condition. Since March 2020 much has changed. The Council has lost three Councillors who are greatly missed, staff have transferred to home working, a shielding programme has been developed and delivered, additional support has been provided to care homes, PPE has been required to be sourced, food vouchers have been delivered to vulnerable children, laptops have been sourced and distributed to assist with children’s education and the wellbeing of the Council’s own staff has been managed.
  • The challenges presented to Warwickshire have been significant. Unemployment levels have risen from 2% to 5%.  Income levels have fallen and costs risen.
  • The Autumn Settlement was delivered on a one-year basis when a three year settlement would have enhanced financial planning.
  • The Council continues to be prudent, assessing risks and reviewing the MTFS on an annual basis.
  • The Pandemic has resulted in delays to the Local Government Review, Fair Funding Review, Social Care reform and the review of business rates.
  • Flexibility around financial management will be required to react to the Pandemic and its aftermath.
  • The key word to focus on is “recovery”. The evolving Warwickshire Property and Development Company along with the Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund are expected to assist with this.
  • A series of funds are to be established. These include a Preventing Vulnerability Investment Fund, a Climate Change Fund and a Place Shaping and Economic Growth Fund.
  • It is proposed that Council Tax is raised by 2.99%
  • There is a need to optimise the use of the Council’s estate.
  • The high needs block is currently exceeding the funding being made available to it. A new facility is being developed at Exhall and high needs hubs are being developed around the county.
  • Reserves will need to be managed carefully with an element of them being used to support recovery. Upskilling of the workforce will be required as will initiative to assist school leavers in finding work.
  • Mental health is a major issue for young and old. Lockdown has had a negative impact and there is a growing need to help residents who are experiencing problems.
  • The value of the County’s country parks is recognised. Future developments for these will include active travel initiatives, and youth provision as well as music and theatre events.
  • Road safety is importance. The wider use of 20mph speed limits is being considered.
  • A review of household waste recycling centres is to be undertaken.


In summary, Councillor Peter Butlin recognised that the Council faces many challenges. It has a duty  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Treasury Management Strategy and Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 545 KB

Following consideration by Cabinet on 28 January 2021 this report is presented to Council for approval.

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Councillor Peter Butlin moved the motion, explaining that unlike previous years when theses documents were agreed, more or less as a matter of course, the Pandemic has led to changes in how the council manages its money.


The motion was seconded by Councillor Izzi Seccombe who reserved her right to speak.


Councillor Keith Kondakor expressed concerns over the projections being used for the Warwickshire property and Development Company. In particular he stated that house prices may drop significantly in line with reductions in demand for housing. In addition, construction inflation is increasing thus reducing profit margins. He suggested that the company could end up making a loss. A sensitivity analysis is required he concluded.


Councillor Seccombe chose not to speak.


Councillor Butlin concluded by stating that borrowing by the council has to date been low. He added that the risks of the project had been clearly set out.




A recorded vote was requested.



Votes for


Councillors Barker, Bell, Singh Birdi, Boad, Brain, Butlin, Caborn, Cargill, Clarke, Cockburn, Cooke, Crump, Dahmash, N. Davies, Falp, Fradgley, Gifford, Gilbert, Golby, Hayfield, Horner, Jenns, Kaur, Morgan, Pandher, Parry, Redford, Reilly, Rickhards, Roberts, Rolfe, Roodhouse, Sargeant, Seccombe, Shilton, Simpson-Vince, Timms, Warwick, C. Williams, P.Williams (40)


Votes against


Councillors Adkins, Chilvers, C. Davies, Dirveiks, Holland, Kondakor, O’Rourke, Parsons, Phillips, Webb (10)






1.       The Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22 (Appendix 2) be approved with effect from 1st April 2021.


2.       The Investment Strategy for 2021/22 (Appendix 3) be approved with effect from 1 April 2021.


3.       The County Council requires the Strategic Director for Resources to ensure that gross borrowing does not exceed the prudential level specified (Appendix 2,Section 3.2, Table 10 “Authorised Borrowing Limit”).


4.       The County Council requires the Strategic Director for Resources to ensure that gross investment in non-Treasury investments does not exceed the prudential levels specified (Appendix 3, Annex 7).


5.       The County Council delegate authority to the Strategic Director for Resources to undertake delegated responsibilities in respect of both strategies (Appendix 2, Annex 7, and Appendix 3, Section 2.5).


6.       The County Council requires the Strategic Director for Resources to implement the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy (Appendix 2, Section 2.4).


Any Other items of Urgent Business

To consider any other items that the Chair considers are urgent.

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