Agenda item

2021/2022 Budget and Council Tax - (Recommendation 5)


The Full Council considered report FIN/514of the Head of Corporate Finance, which set out the Budget and level of Council Tax for the year 2021/22. It was noted that the report detailed each of the Revenue, Capital and Housing Revenue Accounts that combine together to formulate ‘The Budget’. The proposed Budget had been produced based on the principles set in the Budget Strategy which was approved by Full Council on 16 December 2020.


The Council had a statutory responsibility to set a Council Tax and Budget in advance of the commencement of the new financial year, with the Council Tax having to be set by 11 March 2021. In proposing the level of Council Tax for the Financial Year 2021/22, each of those accounts identified had been considered. The proposed Council Tax for 2021/22 was to be increased by 2.37%.


The Leader of the Council Councillor Lamb presented and moved the Budget commented that the global pandemic had a significant impact on the Council’s finance. This budget included the first substantial cuts that the Council has had to make to services for a number of years. The Council’s three main sources of income, have all been hit hard over the past year with income from retained business rates reduced as business struggle, Council Tax income reduced as unemployment increases and Council’s services that generated income (fees and charges and rent) were not able to bring in the revenue that they previously had. Crawley’s economy has had been hit harder than any other across the country.


This year’s budget for the first time was a collective approach by the Labour and Conservative Parties respectively, working together for the best interest of our residents during this difficult time. We’ve considered all the options and alternative and then we went out to the public to hear their views and received the largest ever response to a Council consultation. Two third of the savings proposed were from back office functions and the remaining were based on the priorities set by residents in feedback from the consultation.


However, the Council will be investing in further Council housing as it funded differently and investing £77 million (which can’t be used on revenue schemes) in capital improvements including the Town’s infrastructure projects.


The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Crow then seconded the recommendations and spoken on the report. He commented that it was unusual for the opposition Leader to second the Administration’s budget report, but this is probably the single most important thing I do at this Council in this exceptional year. Covid-19 has been devastating on so many levels across the country, with thousands of death and impact on the economy and local services, but Crawley has been hit hard with job losses and highest furloughing due to the impact on Gatwick airport and this has impacted on us as a Council.


When in July 2020 the Council unexpectedly went into no overall control, the two main politically Groups acted like adults and agreed to work together to put Crawley and our residents first. That is exactly what we have done throughout the year especially with this budget. Members have been engaged throughout the process and we undertook a public consultation to ensure we were making the right decisions for our residents, whist ensuring we remain on a sound financial footing.


The item had been previously considered at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and Cabinet on 1 February 2021 and Cabinet on 3 February 2021. Councillor Lamb moved the recommendation which was seconded by Councillor Crow.


Councillors Lunnon, Lanzer, Purdy, P. Smith and Sudan also spoke during the Budget debate.


At the conclusion of the discussion, Councillors expressed their thanks and

appreciation for the work carried out by Karen Hayes (Head of Corporate Finance),

and her finance division during such a difficult and challenging year.


The Full Council was reminded that regulations required all Councils at their annual budget meetings to adopt the practice of recorded votes - that is, recording in the minutes of the meeting how each member present voted on any decision relating to the Annual Budget and Council Tax. This applied not only to substantive budget motions to agree the Budget and setting Council Taxes, including precepts, but also on any amendments should they be proposed.


Following the conclusion of the debate, the Mayor invited the Democratic Services Manager to commence the recorded voting process on the 2020/21 Budget and Council Tax.


The names of the Councillors voting for and against Recommendation 5 were recorded as set out below:


For the recommendation: Councillors Ascough, Ayling, A Belben, T Belben,

B Burgess, R Burgess, Burrett, Crow, Eade, Fiveash, Flack, Guidera, Hart, Irvine, Jaggard, Jhans, Jones, Lamb, Lanzer, Lunnon, McAleney, McCarthy, Malik,

Millar-Smith, Mullins, Mwagale, Peck, Pendlington, Pickett, Purdy, Rana, B Smith, and P Smith


Against the recommendation: Councillors Fiveash and Sudan (2)


Abstentions: (0)


The Mayor declared the recommendation was carried votes in favour 32, and votes against 2 with 0 abstentions.





That the Full Council approves


a)         the proposed 2021/22 General Fund Budget including savings and growth as set out in paragraph 6.4 of the report FIN/514,


b)         the proposed 2021/22 Housing Revenue Account Budget as set out in section 10 and Appendix 3 of the report FIN/514,


c)         to ringfence £435,000 of useable capital receipts for investment in the Town Centre as a result of using Government funding on the Heat Network to avoid having to repay the grant,


d)         to increase the capital budget for 2021/22 for temporary accommodation acquisition by £826,300 to be funded from the earmarked homelessness acquisition reserve,


e)         the 2020/21 and future years Capital Programme and funding as set out in paragraph 11.6 of the report FIN/514, 


f)          t that the Council’s share of Council Tax for 2021/22 be increased by 2.37% (£4.95) from £208.89 to £213.84 for a band D property as set out in paragraph 13.3 of the report FIN/514,


g)         the Pay Policy Statement for 2021/2022 as outlined in paragraph 16.3 and Appendix 6 of the report FIN/514,


h)         the CBC Pricing Strategy as outlined in Appendix 7 of the report FIN/514.