Agenda item

COVID19 Emergency Budget


The Council considered the Chief Finance Officer’s report on the need for the Council to approve an emergency budget due to the COVID 19 crisis. 


Councillors noted that Guildford Borough Council was a category 1 responder to civil emergencies under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.  This meant that the Council had a vitally important role in responding locally to COVID19, to save lives, protect the NHS, and ensure our residents were protected wherever possible.  We also had a duty to ensure that crucial council services continued to operate in these unprecedented times.


The purpose of the report was to set out the Council’s response so far to COVID-19, and the impact on services, for which an emergency budget was sought in order to support the response.


The report noted that the Council’s response to the pandemic had been intense and wide ranging across a number of critical services. Officers had predicted a range of financial implications for the Council depending on how long the government restrictions were in place.  The financial implications could be between £5million and £13.8million (10% to 31% of the Council’s Net budget requirement).  


Councillors were informed that the Council had received two general non-ringfenced grants totalling £1.523million.  Whilst this covered the majority of the costs being incurred, it did not cover the projected loss of income. The availability of further funding from government remained uncertain. 


Consequently, officers had recommended that the Council puts in place an emergency budget of up to £13.8million funded from reserves to cover both the costs being incurred and the potential loss of income from the COVID19 Pandemic.


Upon the motion of Councillor Joss Bigmore, seconded by Councillor Caroline Reeves, the Council:




(1)    That the Council’s duties and response so far in dealing with the COVID19 pandemic be noted.


(2)    That the initial assessment of the impact on Guildford Borough Council’s short-term financial position be noted.


(3)    That a revenue supplementary estimate of £13.8million to be funded from general fund reserves, be approved and that such funding be drawn down only if further government support is not forthcoming or is insufficient to cover the financial impact of COVID19 on the Council and sufficient cost savings cannot be found.


(4)    That the advice of the Chief Finance Officer in paragraph 5.18 of her report regarding the level of reserves and the potential need to rebuild reserves to a sufficient level if government grant support falls short, be noted.


(5)    That the changes to Local Authority powers and duties introduced by the Coronavirus Act 2020 be noted and that the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, be authorised to amend service provision in accordance with the Council’s statutory duties as these may be varied by the Act, regulations and guidance made thereunder.



To enable the Council to continue to respond to the COVID19 emergency.


Under the Remote Meetings Protocol, a roll call was taken to record the vote on this matter, the results of which were 43 councillors voting in favour, none against, and one abstention, as follows:


For the motion

Against the motion


Cllr Paul Abbey


Cllr Richard Billington

Cllr Tim Anderson



Cllr Jon Askew



Cllr Christopher Barrass



Cllr Joss Bigmore



Cllr David Bilbé



Cllr Chris Blow



Cllr Dennis Booth



Cllr Ruth Brothwell



Cllr Colin Cross



Cllr Graham Eyre



Cllr Andrew Gomm



Cllr Angela Goodwin



Cllr David Goodwin



Cllr Gillian Harwood



Cllr Jan Harwood



Cllr Liz Hogger



Cllr Tom Hunt



Cllr Gordon Jackson



Cllr Diana Jones



Cllr Steven Lee



Cllr Nigel Manning



Cllr Julia McShane



Cllr Ann McShee



Cllr Bob McShee



Cllr Masuk Miah



Cllr Marsha Moseley



Cllr Ramsey Nagaty



Cllr Susan Parker



Cllr George Potter



Cllr Jo Randall



Cllr John Redpath



Cllr Maddy Redpath



Cllr Caroline Reeves



Cllr John Rigg



Cllr Deborah Seabrook



Cllr Pauline Searle



Cllr Patrick Sheard



Cllr Paul Spooner



Cllr James Steel



Cllr James Walsh



Cllr Fiona White



Cllr Catherine Young




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