Venue: This meeting will be held remotely. The meeting can be viewed live by pasting this link into browser: https://youtu.be/bwh8qdZaYqA
Declarations of Interest
There were no disclosable pecuniary interests.
(a) To agree the minutes from the meeting of Cabinet on 23rd June 2020
(b) Matters arising
The minutes of the meeting on 23rd June 2020 were agreed. There were no matters arising.
Report of the Director of Finance
The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Finance, that would also be considered by Council at their meeting on 8th September 2020 and the Audit and Procurement Committee at their meeting on 19th October 2020, that outlined the final revenue and capital outturn position for 2019/2020 and reviewed treasury management activity and 2019/2020 Prudential Indicators reported under the Prudential Code for Capital Finance.
The overall financial position included the following headline items:
• A balanced revenue position after a recommended £5.5m is set aside in reserves for the Council’s reset and recovery following the Covid-19 outbreak.
• Capital Programme expenditure of £216m which represents the largest programme in the modern era.
• An increase in the level of Council revenue reserves from £82m to £90m including the Covid funding and the net underspend contribution.
Further detail included:
• A revenue overspend of £3.4m relating to housing and homelessness as a result of demand for temporary accommodation and the associated costs not recoverable from Housing Benefit.
• A revenue overspend of £2.5m across services for children and young people driven principally by the number and cost of children’s placements.
• A net underspend across the rest of the Council and in particular a £12m position within central budgets resulting overwhelmingly from one-off circumstances.
• Identified expenditure and income loss related to the Covid-19 situation in March 2020 of £2.85m funded by Government emergency funding provided for this purpose.
• Receipt of overall Covid-19 funding of £10.4m of which £7.55m is proposed be set aside to deal with Covid costs in 2020/21.
The underlying revenue position had improved by £3.6m since Quarter 3 when an underspend of £1.9 was forecast. In particular, the overall underspend and the improved position related to improvements within Contingency and Central budgets which were set out in the report. In overall terms the favourable outturn position shown must be put in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. The human and public health impacts of this have been widely reported and some of these could be expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Councils had been assessing the estimated additional costs and lost income that had already been incurred or were expected and this task was essential to inform the Government’s pledge to ensure that such costs were fully funded.
Given the huge uncertainties, it was difficult to provide robust estimates of the forward looking financial impact on the Council although even with optimistic forecasts of the lifting of restrictions, the overall cost could exceed £30m. Notwithstanding early Government commitments, there had been subsequent indications that councils may be expected to ‘share the burden’ of these costs. On this basis it was important that the Council continued to maintain a strong financial position to protect itself from what could be a very challenging financial environment which would certainly be felt well beyond financial year 2020/21. The recommended proposals put forward through the Director of Finance, the Council’s Section 151 officer, were reflected in the ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Report of the Director of Transportation and Highways
The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Transportation and Highways on the Coventry Local Air Quality Action Plan to comply with the Environment Act 1995 (Coventry City Council) Air Quality Direction 2020 issued by the Parliamentary Secretary of State for the Environment.
On 12th February 2020, the Parliamentary Secretary of State for the Environment issued the Environment Act 1995 (Coventry City Council) Air Quality Direction 2020. This Direction applied to Coventry City Council and directed the Council to:
• Implement the local plan for NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) compliance for the city;
• Prepare and submit a full business case for the local plan scheme, summarising responses made to the public consultation, outlining any subsequent changes made to the local plan scheme, and confirming that the local plan scheme facilitates the achievement of local transport policies within the city.
The report outlined the steps being taken by the Council to comply with the Direction, including a summary of the local plan scheme, an update on the responses received to the consultation undertaken during March, April and May 2020, and also sought the Cabinet’s approval to proceed with the making of the statutory Traffic Regulation Orders and compulsory purchase powers required to implement the local plan scheme in compliance with the Direction. Appendices to the report provided: the Local Air Quality Action Plan Consultation Report (June 2020); and plans showing the area to be subject to the Compulsory Purchase Order.
The local plan scheme comprised a package of measures that, in combination, achieved compliance with the legal limits for roadside NO2 levels across the city (it was noted that for the purposes of the consultation the term Local Air Quality Action Plan had been adopted rather than local plan scheme, to avoid any local confusion with the Local Plan which was the Council’s core land use planning document).
The three main elements of the package were measures aimed at:
• Reducing the level of car traffic by encouraging modal shift to sustainable and active modes of travel such as walking, cycling and public transport through infrastructure improvements (a new, fully segregated, cycle route linking the city centre with Coundon), and through engagement with schools, businesses and local communities to promote sustainable and active travel, especially for shorter, local, journeys.
• Reducing the number of older, more polluting, vehicles on the transport network by encouraging people and businesses to invest in low emission vehicles through a range of incentive schemes and initiatives. This included the promotion of electric cars, buses, taxis and commercial vehicles.
• Enabling dynamic traffic management on the key routes into the city, notably Holyhead Road and Foleshill Road, by implementing highway improvements on these and parallel corridors to reduce traffic congestion (and therefore vehicle emissions). The specific improvements were focussed on the B4106 at Spon End and Junction 7 on the ring road, the Holyhead Road / Barras Lane / Upper Hill Street area, and on Foleshill Road.
Government had awarded the Council £24.5 million in grant ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
There are no outstanding issues
There were no outstanding issues.
Any other items of public business which the Chair decides to take as a matter of urgency because of the special circumstances involved.
There were no other items of public business.