This included the 2021-2022 revenue budget and council tax, which proved to be the first bone of contention. It was recommended that council tax increases by the maximum allowed amount of 3.5%. Cllr Harpley spoke up against this as a matter of principle and stated that she couldn’t support a budget that included a council tax increase during these difficult times. This was voted on and the recommendatiom passed by the committee 9:4 – the 4 against being 1 Labour and 3 Lib Dem. All Conservatives voted in favour of it, although some did express concerns regarding the council tax increase.
The Capital Strategy and Capital Programme covered Broadland’s investments. Cllr Harpley queried whether the approved countries for investment list was based solely on them meeting the councils financial criteria of being secure and equitable or whether any ethical standards were applied. Some of the approved countries have a considerable history of questionable human and other rights but Cllr Harpley was informed that ethics were not part of the equation when considering approval. She was told that Cllrs could decide to not invest in certain countries if they didn’t want to.
The Greater Norwich Growth Board joint 5 year plan and the Broadland/South Norfolk Delivery Plan both received unanimous support.
The Covid-19 update informed Cllrs of infection rates, trends and work being done by the council in terms of Covid security, business support, enforcement and assistance with the vaccination programme.
A Mutual Aid Agreement has been in place with the Norfolk and Wavendon Health Care Partnership has been on place for around a year now, this has seen some council staff redeployed to the NHS to help with administrative tasks and other covid related assistance. So far over 100 members of both council’s staff have volunteered to help with the NHS efforts. This retrospective agreememt was fully endorsed by the committee.
Other items on the agenda were exempt from press and public, so Cllr Harpley can not report back on those.