Agenda and minutes

Venue: Warspite Room, Council House

Contact: Hannah Whiting  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Councillors will be asked to make any declarations of interest in respect of items on the agenda.


No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2023.


The following issues were raised in relation to the minutes of the previous meeting:


a)    Councillor Stoneman questioned the wording of his declaration of interest, and it was agreed the minutes would be edited to make it clear the family member was in the team concerned at the time of the meeting;

b)    Councillor Tuohy questioned her being listed as apologies for the previous meeting, as she believed she was in attendance, but having reviewed the YouTube footage of the meeting, it was concluded she had not attended.


After the amendment was made, the minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2023 were agreed as a correct record.


Chair's Urgent Business

To receive reports on business which in the opinion of the Chair, should be brought forward for urgent consideration.


There were no items of Chair’s urgent business.


Financial Monitoring Report Month 6 pdf icon PDF 667 KB


Councillor Mark Lowry (Cabinet Member for Finance) introduced the report and highlighted the following points:


a)    The report covered 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023;

b)    There had been a reduction in the overspend from £7.5 million to £4.76 million;

c)    Most of the issues reported at the previous meeting still existed, particularly within Children’s Services where there was a projected overspend of £6 million, equating to 10% of the original budget, and it was not sustainable, but work was being done with improvement partners to better understand the issues and to get some assurance that the measures in place were the best to contain the overspend;

d)    Other areas of overspend included homelessness and school transport for children with special educational needs;

e)    The capital monitoring position revised budget reflected an additional £18.6 million in 2023/24 financial year and a further £18.2 million for 2024/25 to 2027/28;

f)     He was working with officers on a review of the capital programme to ensure its affordability due to increases in interest rates.


The Chair added:


g)    The outturn report would be considered at the City Council meeting the following week;

h)    The report would also help inform the Budget Scrutiny Select Committee Review, scheduled for 6 and 7 December 2023.


In response to questions, supported by David Northey (Interim Section 151 Officer), it was explained:


i)     As a consequence of the COVID19 pandemic, a large number of businesses were unable to pay business rates, and the Government paid that money to the Council instead, but there was an outstanding deficit to the Council of £900,000, which the Council wrote to Government about and had now had paid;

j)     Future reports would include details on the changes that had been made since previous reports so show the variance in different budgets, not just the forecast net variance;

k)    £500,000 had been moved from revenue to capital following review of projects and finding parts of projects that could be included as capital and a detailed explanation of what had been moved would be provided to members;

l)     The Council tried to optimise the money it had in advance for the year to get the highest interest rate possible, and did the same for its reserves, and the treasury management team had overachieved and had been able to release £500,000 to the revenue budget, which would be detailed in the Treasury Management Half-Year Report which would be published shortly for the November meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee;

m)  An external commissioner had been appointed to assist the Council with regards to managing the Children’s Services budget and there had been a tremendous amount of progress, but there were still issues to resolve and there was a possibility that the area would see worsening overspend before the end of the financial year;

n)    David Northey was confident that the Council would reached a balanced budget by the end of the financial year.


The Committee agreed to;


1.   Note the forecast revenue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Homelessness pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Chris Penberthy (Cabinet Member for Housing, Cooperative Development and Communities) introduced the report and highlighted the following points:


a)    Homelessness in Plymouth was at an all-time high with record numbers of people approaching the council for housing support;

b)    There were more families than ever before living in temporary accommodation, and the length families were without a permanent home, was increasing;

c)    The increase had been attributed to the cost of living crisis, high interest rates and the long term economic impacts of the COVID19 pandemic;

d)    There was a national housing crisis;

e)    The team at Plymouth had been working hard to increase the provision of resource and temporary accommodation in the city, and although this was beginning to have a positive impact, lead-in times for building homes etc, were lengthy;

f)     The Homelessness Recovery Board had been set up to work with partners with the aim of ending homelessness, and to get people out of temporary accommodation and into permanent homes;

g)    Prevention work was also important, but difficult as the local housing allowance had been frozen since 2020, something senior government members were lobbying to change, as it should mean that a third of private rented sector properties were within reach of people in receipt of benefits, but it seemed that there were no rented properties in the city within the local housing allowance framework;

h)    Housing providers needed the local housing allowance in order to get mortgages to develop new properties, and without the local housing allowance increase, there was a viability gap because providers were not able to borrow against the difference in their rental income and so new affordable housing provision had slowed at a time where it needed to be increased;

i)     He had set up a Housing Task Force with Tracey Lee (Chief Executive) to involved senior officers from across Plymouth City Council from community connections, finance, commissioning, planning, public health, policy and more to try and provide solutions to the housing crisis within Plymouth;

j)     The team were working with providers to create specialist emergency accommodation to meet different needs for single people, couples, young people and families, providing the right support for people at a challenging time;

k)    Loans had been provided to PATH and Young Devon to enable them to develop temporary housing stock;

l)     There were more than 40 housing developments being supported by council officers, with 3,000 homes, to include provision of affordable homes;

m)  There was more in the pipeline that would be announced in the coming months, including a decision due to be taken at the December 2023 meeting of Cabinet.


Jackie Kings (Community Connections Strategic Manager) added:


n)    The impact of the COVID19 pandemic, could not be underestimated; it had had a significant impact on unemployment as well as health and well-being, and other reasons people had been listing as the reason for becoming homeless included increased in utility costs and increase mortgages rates and rents;

o)    In Plymouth there was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 108 KB


The Committee agreed to note its Work Programme.


Tracking Decisions pdf icon PDF 184 KB


The Committee agreed to note its tracking decisions document.