£216m development spend in 2019/20 is highest in years

Published Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The Council’s will be reporting on one of its highest years for capital spending in its outturn report for 2019/20.

The amount spent on city developments in the past year was £216m compared to £147m for 2018/19. Councillors say it is by far the largest expenditure programme for many years.

The most significant capital projects by value in the year include: 

  • developing and equipping to near completion the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre;
  • significant progress on the Whitley South and A46 link road infrastructure projects; 
  • completion of the 50m swimming pool at the Alan Higgs Centre, the ‘The Wave’; destination leisure facility and the Salt Lane multi-storey car park;
  • further investment in the Coventry Station Masterplan;
  • investment in the upper precinct public realm 
  • acquisition of Tom White Waste and of a new commercial property, the B&M store in Walsgrave; 
  • investment in the city’s school estate; 
  • investment in the highways network; and a programme of expenditure on Disabled Facilities Grant schemes.

The report also reveals a revenue outturn underspend of £5.5m. Covid-19 related financial impacts totalling £2.85m in the last few weeks of March have been funded from the specific grant provided by Government.

The underspend of £5.5m will contributed to a Reset and Recovery reserve as the city continues to manage with the threat that Covid-19 poses.

Cllr John Mutton, Cabinet Member for Strategic Finance and Resources, said: “The report highlights our efforts to invest in economic growth and our continued effective financial management of Council funds.
“The amount of capital projects highlights our efforts to support the economic wellbeing of the city.

“At the same time the ongoing Covid-19 crisis remains a cause for concern.

“We are doing all that we can to bolster all aspects of Council services and are diverting funds to support businesses.”

Cllr Mutton said that longer term the Council will need a guarantee that the government will meet the shortfall.

He added: “I will be working with our MPs to ensure that the Government lives up to its commitment to reimburse the Local Authority for additional costs incurred due to Covid-19.

“The human and public health impacts of the pandemic have been widely reported and some of these can be expected to continue for the foreseeable future.”

“Given the huge uncertainties, it is difficult to provide robust estimates of the forward looking financial impact on the Council although even with optimistic forecasts of the lifting of restrictions, the overall cost could exceed £30m in this year alone.” 

“We need to do all we can to maintain a strong financial position for what will be a very challenging financial environment which will certainly be felt well beyond financial year 2020/21. However, our financial management has proved to be efficient and effective in recent years, and that is something the Council should feel proud of.”

The Council’s current estimate of potential overall Covid-19 financial impacts through 2020/21 amount to £35m.

Two areas with the largest overspend across the Council in 2019/20 were in Housing and Homelessness (£3.4m) and Children and Young People (£2.5m).

Cllr Mutton said: “We are aware of the financial pressures within housing and homelessness and children’s services and have reflected that in our medium term financial plans. This Council remains committed to supporting the most vulnerable in the city while continuing to invest in the city’s longer term economic growth.”

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