Agenda and minutes

Business and Finance Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 18 January 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Kieran Robinson  01952 382061

Media

Items
No. Item

BFSC22

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

C Mason-Morris, Co-optee, declared an interest as she was a casual employee of Telford and Wrekin Council.

BFSC23

Service & Financial Planning Proposals 2021/22 - 2023/24

To consider elements of the draft budget proposals determined by the Committee at its meeting on 13 January 2021.

 

Minutes:

The Director Finance & HR updated Members on the questions raised at the previous meeting and submitted prior to the meeting.  A hard copy document had been circulated prior to the meeting which gave details of his answers for their information.

 

Was there an ability to obtain information from HMRC on how many people are on furlough in the borough?

 

The data was dated as at the end of October 2020.  At that point there were 4,800 people in the borough that were still on furlough which was 5.8 % of the workforce.  That figure was lower than anywhere else in the Midlands with the West Midlands average being 7.4% and 7.2% being the England average.  This figure had changed over time.  At the end of July 2020 12,700 people were on furlough, at the end of August 2020 8,800 and 6,200 at the end of September 2020.  At the peak in July 2020 this was 15% of the workforce and this was now currently 5.8%.

 

 

 

Was is possible to get information on the unemployment position within the Borough?

 

The unemployment rate in 2020 was fairly stable between January and March 2020 before the pandemic started, with a significant increase in April 2020 and a slightly smaller increase in May 2020 and then there was a fairly rapid increase but then levelled up with some movement.  It was noted that, although there has been a decrease in the number of people on furlough, it did not seem to have impacted on the unemployment figures.  The most up to date figure with regards to unemployment available was November 2020 and the rate within Telford and Wrekin was 6.1% with the England average of 6.4% and for the West Midlands 7.3%.   Although unemployment rates were higher these were in line with the comparators elsewhere in the country.  

 

What had happened to people’s pay during the pandemic.

 

With regards to earnings within Great Britain, there had been a dip in earnings between May- July 2020 but this had now come back up to a higher level than it was at the start of 2020.  The manufacturing sector earnings were set out in the replies tabled at the meeting for the country as a whole, as local figures were only published once a year.

 

What is behind the Borough’s lower figure for furlough and unemployment – was it the nature of the companies and industry locally.

 

Locally there is a higher proportion of manufacturing jobs compared to regionally and nationally so this may be a contributing factor.

 

The budget contained a general contingency of £3.2m, why £3.2m? What was the reasoning?

 

The contingency for the current year was £3.2m.   Next year’s budget had an increased level of contingency of £750,000 due to the uncertainty around the pandemic bringing the total contingency to £3.95m.  The level had been set at around £3m-£3.2m for approximately the last four years.   The outturn position was within budget despite the recent pressures and that level of contingency had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item BFSC23