Agenda item

FIVE YEAR CAPITAL PROGRAMME (COUNCIL FUND) - 2021/22 TO 2025/26

Minutes:

(NOTE:

1.     Councillors S.J.G Gilasbey, R. James and E. Dole having earlier made declarations on this item repeated those declarations;

2.     Councillor A.D.T. Speake in response to a statement made during the meeting to him having been thrown out of the Plaid Cymru Group clarified that was not the position and he had left on his own volition)

 

The Executive Board Member for Resources presented to the Council, on behalf of the Executive Board, the Five-Year Capital Programme (Council Fund) 2021/22 to 2025/26, which took into account the consultation exercise undertaken and the Welsh Government settlement. The Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 22nd February, 2020 [minute 7 refers] had considered the Programme and had made a number of recommendations for Council’s consideration.

 

The Executive Board Member for Resources stated that the proposed capital programme which anticipated a spend of nearly £258m over the five years from 2021/22 to 2025/26, optimised funding opportunities and maximised funding from potential external sources. A combination of existing and new schemes would develop the local economy, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for our residents.

 

The detailed provisional capital programme had been presented to the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on 3rd February for consultation and no matters of concern were raised during that consultation.  An extract from the relevant minute of the meeting was included in Appendix C to the report.

 

He advised that County Council funding available for the programme was estimated to be £122.5m and included borrowing; both supported and unsupported, capital receipts, reserves, and direct revenue funding, with a further £135m anticipated from external grant funding bodies. While the final settlement from the Welsh Government for 2021/22 was received on the 2nd March 2021, no additional general capital funding had been awarded to that set out in the provisional settlement - detailed in the main report. Furthermore, the Welsh Government had not provided any forward indicators in respect of general capital funding beyond 2021/22, and, therefore the proposed capital programme had been based on future years supported borrowing and general grant being at the same level as 2021/22. 

 

The Executive Board Member for Resources further advised of additional currently unallocated funding capacity totalling £4m between years 4 and 5 of the programme which would remain unallocated for the time being and utilised as other costs and funding sources crystalised as time progressed.

 

The Executive Board Member advised while many of the investments in the report were familiar, including the 21st century schools programme, Highways, Regeneration and Housing, it had been possible to add investment to schemes considered to be important for the county to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those included:-

 

·       Economic Regeneration – Targeted regeneration Investment (£1.2m); Commercial Property Development Fund (£1m); Rural Enterprise Fund (£500k) and £1m for the ‘Ten Towns’ growth plan enabling the authority to draw in considerable private sector investment to the county (Appendix B to the report). Additionally, the £500k approved in 2020/21 for decarbonisation of the council’s estate would be repurposed for Renewal Energy Initiative Grants to business to act as a catalyst for private investment in that area and reduce the county’s carbon footprint;

·       Infrastructure – Trebeddrod Reservoir (£1m), Morfa Bacas coastal path (£300k); public lighting column replacement (£400k p.a. from 2024/25) and a £300k commitment to invest in council owned farms for 2024/25;

·       Community Services – ongoing commitment to supporting investment in culture at Oriel Myrddin and continued support for private sector housing in 2024/25 for Disabled Facilities Grants;

·       Environment Department – continued support for Highways Improvements, Bridge Maintenance and Road safety schemes into 2025/26. Council funding on Highway maintenance would continue to be bolstered in 2021/22 via the Welsh Government Road Refurbishment Grant ;

·       Council Estate – additional funding for essential works to County Hall (£500k) and health and safety works to Ty Elwyn (£700k) on top of the ongoing programme of capital maintenance across the wider estate;

·       Education Department – although no new monies had been awarded at the present time, the Council’s commitment to its 21st Century Schools investment programme was unwavering

·       In addition to the recovery package in 2021/22, the Regeneration budget was supported with further additional investment in the Transformation Strategy Project Fund in 2025/26 which had the potential to attract significant external funding to match the council’s investment

 

The Executive Board Member advised that comprehensive details of the proposed programme was set out in Appendix A to the report and officers would continue to monitor individual schemes and funding availability. Whilst both those factors would need to be closely managed to ensure the schemes were delivered in full, the current programme was fully funded for the five years and included potential for further investments in years 4 and 5, given the yet unallocated £4m of funds available for those years.

 

He advised that Appendix D to the report detailed the council’s Capital Strategy document, which was required by the prudential code of capital finance and set out the long-term context in which capital expenditure and investment decisions were made and gave due consideration to both risk and reward and the impact on achievement of priority outcomes.

 

The Executive Board Member for Resources advised that it was believed the proposed Capital Programme sought to maximise opportunities, was comprehensive and ambitious but above all, in these uncertain times, focussed on economic stimulation and recovery.  He therefore, on behalf of Executive Board, commended the Capital Programme, as presented, for County Council for final approval.

 

Reference was made to the proposed fully funded capital programme and to the current unallocated sum of £4m for years 4 and 5 of the programme. The  following amendment was therefore proposed, and seconded, that a proportion of that money be allocated as follows:-

 

·       MEP school building programme - £2.5m

·       Carbon Neutral Investment - Tree Planting on council land £200k and provision of electric vehicle charging points £250k

·       Flood Defence works - £300k

·       Changing places toilet provision - £100k

 

The Proposer outlined the rationale for the amendment

 

Following consideration, it was

 

RESOLVED that the Amendment to the Motion be not supported

 

DURATION OF MEETING

During the consideration of this item the Council’s attention was drawn to Corporate Procedure Rule 9 – Duration of meeting and the fact the meeting had been underway for nearly three hours. It was therefore

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that Corporate Procedure Rule 9 be suspended to enable the remaining items on the agenda to be considered.

 

Council thereupon proceeded to vote on the substantive Motion and it was

 

RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be accepted:-

 

“7.1

The Five-Year Capital Programme and its funding detailed in Appendix A to the report with 2021/22 being a hard budget and 2022/23 to 2025/26 soft/indicative budgets be approved;

7.2

The programme be reviewed, as usual, if anticipated external or County Council funding did not materialise;

7.3

The Capital Strategy, as detailed in Appendix D be approved.”

 

At 12.53 p.m. the meeting was adjourned for a comfort break and reconvened at 1.00 p.m.

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