September 20, 2021
The Cheshire East Council is expected to discuss its year-end financial performance at a meeting of its finance subcommittee on September 22.
The financial result – which shows the board’s balance for the end of the year – was calculated by looking at how much money was spent and received between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
It reflects an unprecedented year of pressures and challenges due to Covid-19. There has been a high degree of uncertainty throughout the year. This included funding from the Covid government, which effectively doubled the council’s agreed budget, received at various times throughout the year. The council has taken responsibility for a whole new set of services related to Covid-19, such as shielding, business grants and infection control in nursing homes. Many municipal services had to be provided in different ways to ensure the continuity of essential services while others were closed and then reopened as government restrictions changed.
Despite these challenges, the board has managed its finances carefully to avoid overspending and add Â£ 1.2million to its reserves to advance the board’s priorities.
The council received around Â£ 280million in additional government grants due to Covid-19, most of which were later allocated to help businesses, individuals and local service providers deal with lockdowns and other national restrictions .
As the pandemic continues, financial pressures on the board also continue as it strives to deliver essential services and the ambitions set out in its business plan.
NeckCouncilor Amanda Stott, Chair of the Finance Subcommittee, said, âThere has never been a more difficult year to forecast and control financial budgets. Covid-19 has had a significant effect on our community and the services we provide, as well as the funding for those services.
âAs we put in place a sustainable financial plan, our Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) shows that we have significant continuing pressures and challenges ahead, especially when it comes to financing social care and healthcare. .
âWe have a responsibility to be financially prudent. Considering the many uncertainties encountered throughout the year, the fact that our overall year-end balance is less than 0.4% of the initial budget is remarkable.
“Although we were not able to complete all of the projects we had planned at the start of the year due to various Covid restrictions and additional responsibilities, we only had to defer 4% of our planned spending It shows that we have planned well and re-prioritized It is positive that we are in this financial situation.
âFinancial figures such as under-spending and reserves show that we have improved the financial control the board has over its finances. The numbers shown in the council’s results are for a certain point in time, and although they indicate a âsurplusâ of funds for the year, much of that money is already committed to various council priorities and projects that have not been spent. could not progress due to the pandemic.
âCareful management has kept the board on budget, which is helpful. However, we are living in unprecedented times and the financial challenges ahead mean that we must continue to be careful, especially as we wait for more details on the government’s funding plans for social protection and local government. “
The board will now consider the continued impact of the pandemic when reviewing current spending against the current year’s budget (2021/22) and updating the proposals in the MTFS which defines revenue and planned council spending over the next four years. This includes proposals for investment, savings and efficiency, the level of housing tax payable by residents, subsidies and other income.
The finance sub-committee meeting is on September 22 at 2 p.m. and the agenda and outcome can be viewed on the council’s website on the finance sub-committee pages.