Agenda and minutes

Economy and Development Select Committee - Thursday, 3rd February, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: County Hall, Usk - Remote Attendance


No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Public Open Forum

Select Committee Public Open Forum ~ Guidance


Our Select Committee meetings are live streamed and a link to the live stream will be available on the meeting page of the Monmouthshire County Council website


If you would like to share your thoughts on any proposals being discussed by Select Committees, you can submit your representation via this form


·      Please share your views by uploading a video or audio file (maximum of 4 minutes) or;

·      Please submit a written representation (via Microsoft Word, maximum of 500 words)


You will need to register for a My Monmouthshire account in order to submit the representation or use your log in, if you have registered previously.


The deadline for submitting representations to the Council is 5pm three clear working days in advance of the meeting.


If representations received exceed 30 minutes, a selection of these based on theme will be shared at the Select Committee meeting.  All representations received will be made available to councillors prior to the meeting.

If you would like to suggest future topics for scrutiny by one of our Select Committees, please do so by emailing



No public submissions were received.


Budget Scrutiny: Scrutiny of the budget proposals for 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Please use this link to access the papers for this item - available as part of the 19th January 2022 Cabinet agenda.



Cabinet Member Phil Murphy delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions with Ian Saunders, Jonathan Davies, Frances O’Brien, Mark Hand and Cath Fallon.




Could we have an overview of the status of our reserves and how to potentially increase them in the future?


We managed to increase our reserves over the last two years. They are approximately £7m. This administration has managed to stay within its budget throughout, and we hope to have a surplus by 31st March – if that is the case then we will be able to continue supporting our reserves. The big VAT return a few years ago did that, and there was a substantial surplus on the budget last year, putting in £4.6m. So, the reserves are holding up well, but it doesn’t take much to put a large dent in them.


Is MonLife providing an appropriate return on investment? Is it a sound financial decision?


The problem with MonLife at the moment is that with Covid restrictions they are not able to get the normal footfall. With the improvements we are making to our leisure centres we’re finding that memberships are going up substantially; Monmouth was already doing very well, Abergavenny is getting good reviews and Caldicot will have a substantial increase if the levelling up bid is successful in the second round. If we maintain those increases in footfall, they will cover themselves, which should provide comfort in terms of the long-term picture.


The purpose of MonLife is wider than leisure centres, and the aspirations of health, well-being, mental wellness, etc. The future of these services was decided less than two years ago, the result of which was that the Council wanted an in-house model – examining the various models was a 4-year process. The return on investment from MonLife is notable, given the huge benefits it brings. Other councils that have outsourced have lost control of pricing options, whereas we are mostly able to keep our prices attainable for Monmouthshire families.


Which fees are being increased and by how much?


It is a huge list. Fees have been increased by as little as possible, where possible; 2.5% is the average. But some are set externally, so we have no choice regarding them. The full list is in the Cabinet papers linked on the agenda. The only areas where we are looking to increase fees are in Enterprise and Social Care.


The commitment to climate emergency and environmental issues was mentioned – can we have details as to what that covers?

There is a wide range of things, such as electric cars, trials with hydrogen, the possibility of a second solar farm, the profits from reuse shops going to planting trees, etc. Over the next few years, we aim to transition our fleet – this is one of the key things – but also things like investments in grounds and biodiversity. Promoting and encouraging walking and cycling as part of Active Travel is also very important. Promotion is particularly important  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Confirmation of Minutes:


Economy and Development Select Committee dated 9th December 2021 pdf icon PDF 351 KB


The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record.


Special Meeting - Economy and Development Select Committee dated 14th December 2021


The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record.


Economy and Development Select Committee Work Programme. pdf icon PDF 504 KB


Council and Cabinet Forward Work Plan. pdf icon PDF 202 KB


Next Meeting


Tuesday 15th March 2022 at 10.00am.