The Committee was reminded that, the Strategic Policy and Resources at its meeting on 31st July, had received an update on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s financial position and a strategy to address the forecast deficit and the mitigation measures, which had and would be taken as the situation evolved. It had agreed to continue to provide Members with a monthly update on the financial position and that the same report would be presented to the subsequent standing Committees for noting and to provide further information on ongoing work in the following areas:
1. Updated forecasts
2. The financial impact of recovery plans
3. The financial impact of the member agreed decision to invoice rents for all tenants from Quarter 2
4. Employee savings arising from the review of vacant posts
The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee had also agreed at its July Committee meeting to receive the Quarter 1 financial report in August. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the quarterly finance reports to Committee incorporated both the quarterly financial performance and the year-end forecasts. With the requirement for monthly forecast updates as part of the financial strategy agreed with Members in June, the Quarter 1 finance report had also been included as an appendix to this report rather than a separate report, providing a comprehensive overview of the overall financial position in one report.
The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised the Members that, as updated at the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee at its July meeting, further funding from the Department for Communities (DfC) had been predicted through the local Council Community Support Fund to support the COVID-19 response. The Members were reminded that had been agreed, also at this meeting, that it would be allocated to the Micro Grant Scheme. The Director advised that the Council was now in receipt of the letter of offer and the amount allocated to Belfast was significantly more than had been anticipated, a further £485,700 of funding was to be released to Belfast to support communities in the COVID-19 response, with the same general themes as before food, connectivity and finance. He advised that, whilst a percentage of this funding would be allocated to the Micro Grant Scheme, officers now intended to submit to the October People and Communities Committee a more detailed report, which would include proposals in relation to the additional funding. In the meantime, officers would engage with the relevant community and voluntary stakeholders in respect of the proposals.
Additionally, he also advised that DfC were in the process of providing further financial assistance which was to be ring fenced to two work programmes around Financial Inclusion and Access to Food, the Council was currently exploring how this funding could be delivered/allocated.
· noted the contents of the report, including the August forecast update and Quarter 1 finance report; and
· noted that an update report would be submitted to the October People and Communities Committee which would provide further proposals in respect of the additional funding from DfC.