Agenda and minutes

Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board - Tuesday, 12th October, 2021 6.30 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 


No. Item


Apologies pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

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Apologies were received from Councillors Hickey, Holden and Knight.


Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest, please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

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There were no disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests declared at the meeting.


Notification of Persons Wishing to Speak pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To note any members of the Council wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Meeting Procedure Rule 18, and which items they wish to speak on.

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There were no visiting Members or members of the public who had registered to speak. 


Minutes of the meeting dated 7 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

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No amendments were proposed.


RESOLVED – That the minutes dated 7 September 2021 be approved as a correct record.


Forward Plan as at 27 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To note forthcoming items as set out in the Forward Plan.

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No amendments were proposed.


RESOLVED – The Forward Plan as at 27 September 2021 be noted.


Budget Update Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 510 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

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Lee Colyer, Director of Finance, Policy and Development introduced the report set out in the agenda.


Discussion and questions from Members included the following:


-       The Council currently spent about £100k a year on gas and £370k a year on electricity.

-       The Council’s energy costs were procured through LASER (Local Authority South East Region) which was a consortium that worked together to go to the market to obtain gas and electricity.  The contracts that were awarded were on 6 monthly intervals that fixed the price for that period.  The prices are fixed in April and October each year. 

-       LASER hedged their pricing which meant there would be a little more time before the effect of any increases would be felt.  The Council had however prepared for a 10% increase. 

-       The Council had no plans currently to undertake any hedging.

-       Cultural services included the Assembly Hall, Sports Centres, TN2 and other similar facilities.  The data included was all pre-pandemic so that the Council could better monitor the impact of the changes in income levels. 

-       The Assembly Theatre team were working very had to bring the audiences back but the effects of the pandemic was still affecting decision making so it was likely to be some time before confidence fully returned. 

-       Potential income from The Amelia had not been included in the budget. 

-       Business Rates for the Council was £1.2m each year.  Of which just under £100k was attributed to the Town Hall itself.   If part of the Town Hall was leased to other users, they would be liable for their proportion of the costs, thus reducing the amount the Council had to pay. 

-       The Town Hall liability amounted to about 10% of the total estate.

-       Current occupancy levels in the main car parks was about 25%.  The Council would normally generate a net return of £3.5m a year.  But based on current levels income was nearer £2m.

-       Car parks came with significant costs in terms of Business Rates, service charges, maintenance and other utility costs.  If income levels were lower, then there wasn’t the income to fund capital costs needed in order to cover the costs of keeping them fit for purpose. 

-       The main opportunity for the Council to increase its income would come from growing the economy by retaining existing businesses and attracting new businesses to the area (increasing car park usage and footfall).  This would generate more Business Rate yield which the Council would receive a share. 

-       The report included an assumption that there would be no year on year increase in car parking income (Appendix A page 47 refers).  It was too early to predict the longer term effects of the pandemic and therefore what would happen in future years. 

-       When a review of Local Government funding takes place (‘Fair Funding’ or ‘Levelling Up’), it tends to disadvantage Councils like Tunbridge Wells who were seen to be in affluent areas.  The Council itself was not  ...  view the full minutes text for item FG45/21


Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To consider any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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There was no urgent business.


Date of the Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the date of the next scheduled meeting is Tuesday 16 November 2021, at 6.30pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Tunbridge Wells.

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The next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday 16 November 2021 at 6:30pm