Agenda and minutes

Full Council - Tuesday, 19th July, 2022 2.10 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall, Portsmouth. View directions

Contact: Stewart Agland  Email: stewart.agland@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

67.

Declaration of Members' Interests

Minutes:

Councillor

Minute Number

 

Nature of Interest

Cllr Tom Coles

 

75

Personal, employed by Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust

 

Cllr Cal Corkery

 

75

Personal, employed by the NHS

Cllr Charlotte Gerada

 

80

Personal, employed by the Unite Union

Cllr Simon Bosher

 

86

Personal - Council appointed Non-Executive Director of Portico

 

Cllr Asghar Shah

 

75

Volunteer organiser at Peace Centre Food Hub

 

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson

 

86

Prejudicial - Director of Portico

Cllr Kimberly Barrett

 

83

Personal, works at a Community Centre

 

68.

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 17 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 648 KB

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson

Seconded by Councillor Simon Bosher

 

That the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 17 May 2022 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

These were agreed by assent.

69.

To receive such communications as the Lord Mayor may desire to lay before the Council, including apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received on behalf of Councillor Matthew Atkins, Councillor Ian Holder, Councillor Abdul Kadir, Councillor Robert New, Councillor Linda Symes and Councillor Daniel Wemyss.

 

Apologies for lateness had been received from Councillor Lynne Stagg.

 

The Lord Mayor announced the sad news of the passing of former councillor Alexander Charles Mos, who was a member of the council for Nelson Ward between 1973 and 1990.

 

The Lord Mayor also announced that Jenny Burnett, Hon. Alderman Dr Alan Burnett's wife and Lady Mayoress of the Council in 1994/95 had also sadly passed away.

 

On behalf of the Council he offered sincere condolences.

70.

Deputations from the Public under Standing Order No 24

Deputations by members of the public may be made on any item where a decision is going to be taken. The request should be made in writing to the contact officer (stewart.agland@portsmouthcc.gov.uk) by 12 noon of the working day before the meeting (so Monday 18 July for this meeting), and must include the purpose of the deputation (for example, for or against the recommendations). Email requests are accepted

Minutes:

The City Solicitor advised that five verbal deputation requests had been made for this meeting. 

 

The first was from Honorary Alderman Attrill in respect of Minute 85.

 

The second was from Paula Savage in respect of Minute 82.

 

The third was from Helen King in respect of Minute 79.

 

The fourth was from John Stevenson in respect of Minute 88.

 

The fifth was from Hannah Brent in respect of Minute 88.

 

At the invitation of the City Solicitor, Honorary Alderman Attrill, Paula Savage, Helen King, John Stevenson and Hannah Brent delivered their deputations to Council.

 

In addition, the City Solicitor drew attention to the two written deputations that had been circulated in respect of Minute 88 which had been received from Mrs J Hutchings and Sharon Hill.

71.

Questions from the Public under Standing Order 25 (none received)

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor advised that no public questions had been received under the provisions of this Standing Order.

72.

Appointments

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following appointments to vacant Liberal Democrat group seats be AGREED

 

Scrutiny Management Panel

 

Councillor Mark Jeffery as a committee member.

 

Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel

 

Councillor Mark Jeffery as a committee member.

 

Traffic, Environment and Community Safety Scrutiny Panel

 

Councillor Mark Jeffery as a committee member.

 

Governance and Audit and Standards Committee, (Standing Deputy)

 

Councillor Mark Jeffery as a Standing Deputy.

 

Economic Development, Culture and Leisure Scrutiny Panel

 

Councillor Mark Jeffery as a Standing Deputy.

 

Education, Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel

 

Councillor Mark Jeffery as a Standing Deputy.

73.

Urgent Business - To receive and consider any urgent and important business from Members of the Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order No 26

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor advised that he had not been made aware of any urgent business for this meeting.

 

74.

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To receive and consider the attached report and recommendation to note for information only from Cabinet held on 21 June.

 

Appendix 3 can be viewed via this link or available upon request:

 

Unseen-Helpline-Annual-Assessment_2021-FINAL.pdf (unseenuk.org)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council Agenda item 8 (Cabinet Minute 80)

 

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement.

 

The recommendations contained in minute 80 of the Cabinet meeting held on 21 June 2022 were approved unopposed.

 

RESOLVED that Full Council notes for information only the Cabinet decisions to approve -

 

(a) The Modern Slavery Transparency and Human Trafficking Statement for publication on the council's website (see appendix 1 of the report); and

 

(b) The programme of work set out in item 10 of the report.

75.

Queen Alexandra (QA) Hospital Emergency Ward Support pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive and consider the attached report from Cabinet held on 21 June (recommendation also attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council Agenda item 9 (Cabinet Minute 83)

 

Queen Alexandra (QA) Hospital Emergency Ward Support.

 

The recommendations contained in minute 83 of the Cabinet meeting held on 21 June 2022 were approved unopposed.

 

RESOLVED that granting of £864,354.26 from Community Infrastructure Funding to Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust for the provision of infrastructure in accordance with the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (as amended) ("CIL Regs") to be funded from Capital Infrastructure CIL be APPROVED.

76.

Forward Plan Omission pdf icon PDF 12 KB

The Low Carbon Projects Fund report by the Director of Housing Neighbourhoods and Building Services, was omitted from the Forward Plan covering 20 May 2022 to 20 August 2022, published on 20 May 2022.  The Chair of the City Council's Scrutiny Management Panel has been notified of the decision being made and a public notice published.

 

RECOMMENDED that

 

(1)          the omission to the Forward Plan be noted and

 

(2)          that publication of the omission notice be noted.

Minutes:

The Low Carbon Projects Fund report by the Director of Housing Neighbourhoods and Building Services, had been omitted from the Forward Plan covering 20 May 2022 to 20 August 2022, published on 20 May 2022.  

 

The Chair of the City Council's Scrutiny Management Panel had been notified of the decision being made and a public notice published.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(i)          the omission to the Forward Plan be NOTED; and

 

(ii)          that publication of the omission notice be NOTED.

77.

Low Carbon Projects Fund pdf icon PDF 172 KB

To receive and consider the attached report from the Climate Change and Environment Portfolio meeting held on 18 July (recommendation to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council Agenda item 11 (Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Environment minute 5)

 

Low Carbon Projects Fund.

 

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson indicated under Standing Order 28 to allow the Climate Change & Environment minute 5 to be debated.

 

Proposed by Councillor Kimberly Barrett

 

Seconded by Councillor Suzy Horton

 

That the recommendations in Climate Change & Environment minute 5 be approved

 

The recommendations contained in minute 5 of the Climate Change & Environment meeting held on 18 July 2022 were approved.

 

RESOLVED that Full Council:

 

1.    Approved the aims of this borrowing facility in the context of the climate emergency and the council's net zero carbon ambition;

 

2.    Approved, subject to a satisfactory financial appraisal, that delegated authority is given to the Director of Housing, Neighbourhoods and Building Services and the Section 151 Officer, in consultation with the City Solicitor and Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Environment to use unsupported borrowing to:

 

·       Approve the financing of projects associated with renewable energy

·       Approve the financing of projects associated with energy efficiency

·       Approve the financing of projects associated with other climate change mitigation where there is a clear financial rationale for their implementation

 

3.    Approved a borrowing facility of up to £30 million to be invested in such projects, subject to financial feasibility and the Council's limit of indebtedness;

 

4.    Noted that these energy and climate projects may be implemented upon the Council's portfolio of buildings and land; or may be implemented upon the buildings and assets of other organisations in the city; and

 

5.    Noted the Energy Services team will continue to identify and seek external funding opportunities to contribute to these initiatives to reduce the reliance on unsupported borrowing. 

 

Councillor Lynne Stagg joined the meeting at 3.20pm

78.

Notices of Motion

79.

North End Bank

Proposed by Councillor Lee Hunt

Seconded by Councillor Jason Fazackarley

 

This Council notes there is no bank serving North End local shopping area.  The nearest bank is at Cosham or Commercial Road. Not everyone can use online and cashpoint services.

 

This Council is advised and notes that there is currently a petition being organised by local residents, which has already attracted significant support, campaigning to get a bank into North End local shopping centre to serve surrounding homes and businesses and that this petition is likely to be submitted to the Council in due course.

 

In the meantime, in recognition of this demonstration of  public feeling on the issue, Council agrees to ask Cabinet to write to the main banks urging them to send representatives to a meeting with local councillors,  trade representatives and city regeneration officers to discuss ways to get a counter service back into North End shopping centre; furthermore this Council urges the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North to raise this matter with ministers and cordially invites her to attend the above meetings to be arranged by the Cabinet.

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Lee Hunt

Seconded by Councillor Jason Fazackarley

 

That notice of motion (a) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

Upon being put to a vote the notice of motion was CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

This Council notes there is no bank serving North End local shopping area. The nearest bank is at Cosham or Commercial Road. Not everyone can use online and cashpoint services.

 

This Council is advised and notes that there is currently a petition being organised by local residents, which has already attracted significant support, campaigning to get a bank into North End local shopping centre to serve surrounding homes and businesses and that this petition is likely to be submitted to the Council in due course.

 

In the meantime, in recognition of this demonstration of public feeling on the issue, Council agrees to ask Cabinet to write to the main banks urging them to send representatives to a meeting with local councillors, trade representatives and city regeneration officers to discuss ways to get a counter service back into North End shopping centre; furthermore this Council urges the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North to raise this matter with ministers and cordially invites her to attend the above meetings to be arranged by the Cabinet.

 

80.

Cost of Living Emergency pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Proposed by Councillor Suzy Horton

Seconded by Councillor Steve Pitt

 

This Council Declares a Cost of Living Emergency

 

Thousands of people here in Portsmouth are facing impossible choices as energy and food prices spiral out of control. This isn't just making it difficult for local people to make ends meet, in many cases it is making it impossible.

 

This Council notes that:

 

This government has consistently failed to address the cost of living crisis, at the scale required:

 

Fuel:

 

On 1 April 2022, Ofgem increased the energy price cap by 54 per cent.

 

In light of the increased energy price cap, the average standard tariff energy bill will increase by £693 per year. The average pre-pay meter energy bill will increase by £708 per year (Ofgem, 2022)

 

Tax reliefs announced by the government are only for investing in "UK extraction", ie. fossil fuels. This move is encouraging more investment in North Sea oil and gas extraction, while not accelerating energy decarbonisation plans.

 

In June petrol prices inched towards £2 per litre, affecting many families and front line workers as well as local businesses

 

Household income:

 

On 6 April 2022, the Government increased National Insurance by 1.25 percentage points, which is projected to cost the average Portsmouth family an additional £108 per year

 

The Government has suspended the pensions 'triple lock' for 2022/3, meaning that Portsmouth's 31,000 pensioners will see a rise of 3.1 per cent this year (instead of 8.3 per cent under the triple lock formula). This year, this will cost an average of £487 to someone on the full new state pension and an average of £373 to someone on the full basis state pension (TUC, 2022)

 

In the face of rising prices and reduced income, from June 2021- June 22 Portsmouth foodbanks distributed over 5,000 food parcels to feed 10,000 people, with a continuing upward trend in demand

 

Council welcomes the steps the Lib Dem administration is taking to deal with this crisis, for instance by offering

 

      £75 for every child eligible for free school meals, 2 year old childcare funding or early years pupil premium this term

      £100 for every pensioner household on council tax support and/or Pension Credit and helping the voluntary sector support those missing out

      Grants for foodbanks, community meals, larders and pantries so they can help people in need

      Help for those who need food, face unaffordable rent costs or rent arrears or are in the rough sleeping pathway

      Grants for voluntary groups helping those in need

 

In particular, Council welcomes the financial and other support given by the Lib Dem administration, HIVE Portsmouth, local churches and Penny Mordaunt MP to foodbanks, community larders and pantries across the city.

 

Despite these measures, this Council declares a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and calls on the Government to immediately:

 

Impose a windfall tax on the super profits of oil and gas companies and to use this to take an average of £600 off the cost of Portsmouth residents' energy bills this year.

 

Urgently review the energy cap regime in order to provide much greater protection to consumers, as other European countries have done.

 

Undertake an investigation into forecourt fuel prices, and put in place transparency on fuel taxes and independent regulation for solid fuels/ petrol and diesel.

 

Demonstrate a real and immediate investment in U.K. renewables and decarbonise the energy sector.

 

Immediately reduce the standard rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year, saving the average Portsmouth household a further £600 this year which would

 

1.            Reduce inflationary pressure.

2.            Reduce pressure on strained household budgets.

3.            Help businesses to be better placed to adjust.

 

Immediately reintroduce the pensions triple lock to support Portsmouth's pensioners

 

Immediately re-introduce the £20 a week uplift for Universal Credit claimant

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Suzy Horton

Seconded by Councillor Steve Pitt

 

That notice of motion (b) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor George Fielding

Seconded by Councillor Yinka Adeniran

 

To remove paragraph 11 and replace with:

“In particular, Council welcomes the financial and other support given by the Council, HIVE Portsmouth, local churches and politicians and supporters of all parties and none to foodbanks, community larders and pantries across the city.”

After paragraph 9 add:

 In the face of rising prices and reduced income, from June 2021- June 22 Portsmouth foodbanks distributed over 5,000 food parcels to feed 10,000 people, with a continuing upward trend in demand” and insert:

“Pay:

Workers in the UK have already faced the longest squeeze on wages since the Napoleonic era and this is set to continue. Analysis of figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), published by the TUC last week, found that average real wages in the UK are set to plummet by £1,750 between 2022 and 2023.

This is clearly an unsustainable trend which will plunge many people working in this authority into financial hardship.

Later this month local government employers are set to discuss the NJC pay claim submitted by the joint trade unions. The claim calls for the following;

  • A substantial increase with a minimum of £2,000 or the current rate of RPI - whichever is greater - on all spinal column points. In addition:
  • A Covid-19 recognition payment
  • A national minimum agreement on homeworking policies for all councils and the introduction of a home working allowance
  • An urgent review of all mileage rates currently applying
  • A review and update of NJC terms for family leave and pay
  • A review of term time only contracts and consideration of retainers
  • Reduction in the working week (without loss of pay) to 35 hours (34 in London) plus one additional day of annual leave

 

In Portsmouth local workers and their trade unions have been calling for the council to become an accredited Living Wage employer which would result in a pay rise for thousands of workers in outsourced and privatised services. This is one practical way the council could make a real difference to many local families and individuals struggling to get by on low wages."

After paragraph 12: insert:

“Set an emergency budget to tackle the impact of inflation and the rising cost of living.

Immediately cut VAT on home energy bills and invest in insulating homes.

Cut business rates to support businesses through the cost of living crisis.

Bring Universal Credit in line with inflation and increase Universal Credit work allowances to help our poorest families.

Announce a long-term financial settlement for Local Authorities to help them support residents with the cost of living crisis.”

Paragraph 19, after "Immediately re-introduce the £20 a week uplift for Universal Credit claimant" insert:

"Council calls on the LGA to lobby government for additional funding ring fenced for the purpose of providing a significant pay award to Local Government workers to help them address the cost of living crisis and keep pace with inflation.

Council further reasserts its commitment, as expressed in the July 2020 Full Council meeting, to become an accredited Living Wage employer and expresses the wish to see plans for how this could be funded included in the council budget to be agreed later this municipal year"

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor Simon Bosher

Seconded by Councillor Lewis Gosling

 

Replace paragraph 2 with:

 

'This Council notes that the Conservative Government

  • Has Launched a Plan for Jobs, helping people earn more and gain the skills our economy needs, through our £2 billion Kickstart Scheme; £2.9 billion Restart Scheme; and our Lifetime Skills Guarantee, we are helping people into work. And our Way to Work campaign which helped over 500,000 people into work.
  • Increased the National Living Wage by 6.6 per cent to £9.50 an hour, meaning an extra £1,000 a year for a full-time worker. 
  • Delivered a £1,000 effective tax cut for nearly 2 million families to make sure work always pays, through our cut to the Universal Credit taper rate and increase to work allowances.
  • Is cutting the basic rate of Income Tax to 19p from 2024, delivering a £5 billion tax cut for over 30 million workers, savers and pensioners, the first Income Tax cut for 16 years.
  • Cutting business employment taxes now, delivering a tax cut worth £1,000 for half a million businesses, by raising the Employment Allowance to £5,000.
  • Delivering a non-repayable £150 cash rebate for homes in Council Tax bands A-D – equivalent to 80 per cent of all households, helping both lower and middle-income families.'

 

Add the following to the end of paragraph 4:

 

'This Council acknowledges the doubling of the October £200 rebate on energy bills for all households to £400 and turning it into a grant, supporting all hard-working families with their energy bills with a non-repayable grant.'

 

Add the following to the beginning of paragraph 6:

 

'Notwithstanding the cutting fuel duty by 5 pence'

 

Following debate, the proposer of the original motion, Councillor Suzy Horton agreed to subsume the amendments put by Councillor George Fielding and Councillor Simon Bosher into the motion.

 

Following a vote, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that: This Council Declares a Cost of Living Emergency

 

Thousands of people here in Portsmouth are facing impossible choices as energy and food prices spiral out of control. This isn't just making it difficult for local people to make ends meet, in many cases it is making it impossible.

 

 This Council notes that the Conservative Government

 

·     Has Launched a Plan for Jobs, helping people earn more and gain the skills our economy needs, through our £2 billion Kickstart Scheme; £2.9 billion Restart Scheme; and our Lifetime Skills Guarantee, we are helping people into work. And our Way to Work campaign which helped over 500,000 people into work.

 

·     Increased the National Living Wage by 6.6 per cent to £9.50 an hour, meaning an extra £1,000 a year for a full-time worker.

 

·     Delivered a £1,000 effective tax cut for nearly 2 million families to make sure work always pays, through our cut to the Universal Credit taper rate and increase to work allowances.

 

·     Is cutting the basic rate of Income Tax to 19p from 2024, delivering a £5 billion tax cut for over 30 million workers, savers and pensioners, the first Income Tax cut for 16 years.

 

·     Cutting business employment taxes now, delivering a tax cut worth £1,000 for half a million businesses, by raising the Employment Allowance to £5,000.

 

·     Delivering a non-repayable £150 cash rebate for homes in Council Tax bands A-D – equivalent to 80 per cent of all households, helping both lower and middle-income families.

 

Fuel

 

On 1 April 2022, Ofgem increased the energy price cap by 54 per cent.

 

In light of the increased energy price cap, the average standard tariff energy bill will increase by £693 per year. The average pre-pay meter energy bill will increase by £708 per year (Ofgem, 2022). This Council acknowledges the doubling of the October £200 rebate on energy bills for all households to £400 and turning it into a grant, supporting all hard-working families with their energy bills with a non-repayable grant.'

 

Tax reliefs announced by the government are only for investing in "UK extraction", ie. fossil fuels. This move is encouraging more investment in North Sea oil and gas extraction, while not accelerating energy decarbonisation plans.

 

Notwithstanding the cutting of fuel duty by 5 pence in June petrol prices inched towards £2 per litre, affecting many families and front line workers as well as local businesses

 

Household income

 

On 6 April 2022, the Government increased National Insurance by 1.25 percentage points, which is projected to cost the average Portsmouth family an additional £108 per year

 

The Government has suspended the pensions 'triple lock' for 2022/3, meaning that Portsmouth's 31,000 pensioners will see a rise of 3.1 per cent this year (instead of 8.3 per cent under the triple lock formula). This year, this will cost an average of £487 to someone on the full new state pension and an average of £373 to someone on the full basis state pension (TUC, 2022)

 

In the face of rising prices and reduced income, from June 2021- June 22 Portsmouth foodbanks distributed over 5,000 food parcels to feed 10,000 people, with a continuing upward trend in demand

 

Pay

Workers in the UK have already faced the longest squeeze on wages since the Napoleonic era and this is set to continue. Analysis of figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), published by the TUC last week, found that average real wages in the UK are set to plummet by £1,750 between 2022 and 2023.

This is clearly an unsustainable trend which will plunge many people working in this authority into financial hardship.

Later this month local government employers are set to discuss the NJC pay claim submitted by the joint trade unions. The claim calls for the following;

  • A substantial increase with a minimum of £2,000 or the current rate of RPI - whichever is greater - on all spinal column points. In addition:
  • A Covid-19 recognition payment
  • A national minimum agreement on homeworking policies for all councils and the introduction of a home working allowance
  • An urgent review of all mileage rates currently applying
  • A review and update of NJC terms for family leave and pay
  • A review of term time only contracts and consideration of retainers
  • Reduction in the working week (without loss of pay) to 35 hours (34 in London) plus one additional day of annual leave”

 

In Portsmouth local workers and their trade unions have been calling for the council to become an accredited Living Wage employer which would result in a pay rise for thousands of workers in outsourced and privatised services. This is one practical way the council could make a real difference to many local families and individuals struggling to get by on low wages.

Council welcomes the steps the Lib Dem administration is taking to deal with this crisis, for instance by offering

 

      £75 for every child eligible for free school meals, 2 year old childcare funding or early years pupil premium this term

      £100 for every pensioner household on council tax support and/or Pension Credit and helping the voluntary sector support those missing out

      Grants for foodbanks, community meals, larders and pantries so they can help people in need

      Help for those who need food, face unaffordable rent costs or rent arrears or are in the rough sleeping pathway

      Grants for voluntary groups helping those in need

 

In particular, Council welcomes the financial and other support given by the Council, Lib Dem Administration, HIVE Portsmouth, local churches, politicians, including Penny Mordaunt MP, and supporters of all parties and none, to foodbanks, community larders and pantries across the city.

 

Despite these measures, this Council declares a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and calls on the Government to immediately:

 

Set an emergency budget to tackle the impact of inflation and the rising cost of living.

Immediately cut VAT on home energy bills and invest in insulating homes.

Cut business rates to support businesses through the cost of living crisis.

Bring Universal Credit in line with inflation and increase Universal Credit work allowances to help our poorest families.

Announce a long-term financial settlement for Local Authorities to help them support residents with the cost of living crisis.

 

Impose a windfall tax on the super profits of oil and gas companies and to use this to take an average of £600 off the cost of Portsmouth residents' energy bills this year.

 

Urgently review the energy cap regime in order to provide much greater protection to consumers, as other European countries have done.

 

Undertake an investigation into forecourt fuel prices, and put in place transparency on fuel taxes and independent regulation for solid fuels/ petrol and diesel.

 

Demonstrate a real and immediate investment in U.K. renewables and decarbonise the energy sector.

 

Immediately reduce the standard rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year, saving the average Portsmouth household a further £600 this year which would

 

1.      Reduce inflationary pressure.

2.      Reduce pressure on strained household budgets.

3.      Help businesses to be better placed to adjust.

 

Immediately reintroduce the pensions triple lock to support Portsmouth's pensioners

 

Immediately re-introduce the £20 a week uplift for Universal Credit claimant

 

Council calls on the LGA to lobby government for additional funding ring fenced for the purpose of providing a significant pay award to Local Government workers to help them address the cost of living crisis and keep pace with inflation

Council further reasserts its commitment, as expressed in the July 2020 Full Council meeting, to become an accredited Living Wage employer and expresses the wish to see plans for how this could be funded included in the council budget to be agreed later this municipal year.

81.

Review of the cross border licensing legislation and its negative impact on local authorities pdf icon PDF 20 KB

Proposed by Councillor George Madgwick

Seconded by Councillor Brian Madgwick

 

A local extract from the recent LGA Councillor Handbook on HG/PH highlighted the issues relating to licensed vehicles. Councils have a wide range of powers that can be used to regulate taxis and PHVs, protecting the public and supporting local economies; but there are also some anomalies within the existing system.

 

Local councils have the power to attach conditions to the licences of operators, taxis (vehicles), PHVs, and PHV drivers, but not the licences of taxi drivers. They can also influence the local context in which vehicles operate, and a range of licensing policies have been developed to do this by councils. However, over time this has led to a variety of different standards being applied and a lack of consistency.

 

Many licensing authorities have reviewed and strengthened their licensing policies following high profile cases. However, these efforts have been undermined by out of area working by drivers who have been licensed in other areas where the licensing requirements may not be as strict. For example, some councils have introduced a mandatory CCTV policy which drivers licensed with them are required to comply with, but out of area drivers can continue to operate without CCTV because they are subject to different licensing conditions.

 

This has caused huge frustration to councils and local drivers who have complied with more rigorous standards, and the LGA has argued that this could be addressed by the introduction of greater national consistency through national minimum standards. Whilst it is good that the Government has published new statutory standards which may go some way to raising standards, this does not negate the need for wider reform.

 

Out of area working has increased significantly partly due to new app-based models which make it easier for individuals to book a PHV that is licensed elsewhere. As well as varying driver and vehicle standards, another key issue for councils is the limited enforcement powers they have to take action against PHVs that are licensed by another authority.

 

First and foremost, councils have no ability to stop vehicles, which leaves them only able to intervene when a vehicle is stationary, and unable to prevent it being driven off - only the police may stop a vehicle.

 

Secondly, a council may only take action against a vehicle or driver that it has licensed, meaning that there is absolutely nothing that a council can do if a vehicle or driver licensed elsewhere is operating in their area, other than complain to the 'home' authority.

 

It's been argued that enforcement officers should be able to take action against any PHV operating in their area. Councils have explored and started to implement the use of joint enforcement or joint warranting agreements at a regional level, which allow licensing enforcement officers to enforce against vehicles which have been licensed in other areas, an approach that is recommended in the statutory standards. However, these agreements only extend to those authorities who agree this at the local level.

 

The issues above highlight how outdated legislation is no longer fit for purpose and we need to call for new legislation to be brought forward as soon as possible. Whilst in the short term there is no commitment to a complete overhaul of the licensing regime, new statutory standards should address at least some of the key issues facing councils.

 

In Portsmouth City Council alone we have already been highlighted and had reports of dozens of licensed PH vehicles that are licensed to an authority based almost 200 miles away. We have also had reports of vehicles that we, as a local licensing authority, would deem as not fit for purpose completing private hire jobs for our residents via a local operator. The number of licensed PH vehicles in Portsmouth that are licensed by distant authorities is increasing heavily every single month.

 

Full Council asks the Chairman of the Licensing Committee and Leader of the Council to write a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP and Stephen Morgan MP to ask that a review takes place as follows:-

 

The current statutory private hire and vehicle standards makes no reference specifically to cross border hiring. But it does mention enforcement of the licensing regime that proposes joint authorisation of enforcement officers so that would give us authorisation under to act to stop and investigate on behalf of another licensing authority albeit we would not receive any income to facilitate such compliance checking. This is not sufficient to address the problem and is in realism not possible to implement.

 

We suggest that the department for transport reviews the current loophole in relation to cross border hiring, particularly in relation to localising enforcement action towards private hire workers within our city. We need to bring back local controls to local authority to keep our residents safe. We need to be able to implement policies that are relevant to the local area.

 

We ask the Department of Transport to commit to a full review of the current cross border legislation and its negative impact. We also request that the DfT work with local licensing authority in terms of developing future legislation that focuses on localism for licensing matters.

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor George Madgwick

Seconded by Councillor Brian Madgwick

 

That notice of motion (c) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor Simon Bosher

Seconded by Councillor Lewis Gosling

 

To add 'private hire vehicles' after 'out of area' in paragraph 5.

 

Delete paragraph 10 and replace with:

 

'In Portsmouth City Council alone, the licensing department have already highlighted and had reports of over fifty licensed private hire vehicles working in the city and these vehicles are licensed to Wolverhampton City Council. Portsmouth City Council licensing department has also had reports of vehicles that, as a local licensing authority, the authority would deem as not fit for purpose completing private hire jobs for our residents via a local operator. The number of private hire vehicles in Portsmouth that are licensed by distant authorities such as Wolverhampton is increasing heavily every single month.'

 

Delete paragraph 11 and replace with:

 

' Full Council asks the Chair of the Licensing Committee and Leader of the Council to write a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Transport and Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP and Stephen Morgan MP to ask that a review takes place as follows:-'

 

Delete paragraph 13 and replace with:

 

'Full Council suggests the Department for Transport reviews the current loophole in relation to cross border hiring, particularly in relation to localised enforcement action towards private hire workers with the city. Full Council believes, local controls need to be brought back to the local authority to ensure the safety of the travelling public, while placing significant weight to the need to implement policies which are relevant to the local area. '

 

Delete paragraph 14 and replace with:

 

'Full Council requests the Department for Transport to commit to a full review of the current cross border hiring legislation, with a focus on the negative impact it has on a local authorities all over the country. Full council also request that the Department for Transport works with Portsmouth City Council as a licensing authority to help develop future legislation that focuses on localism within the licensing regime.'

 

 

Following debate, the proposer of the original motion, Councillor George Madgwick agreed to subsume the amendment put by Councillor Simon Bosher into the motion.

 

Following a vote, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

A local extract from the recent LGA Councillor Handbook on HG/PH highlighted the issues relating to licensed vehicles. Councils have a wide range of powers that can be used to regulate taxis and PHVs, protecting the public and supporting local economies; but there are also some anomalies within the existing system.

 

Local councils have the power to attach conditions to the licences of operators, taxis (vehicles), PHVs, and PHV drivers, but not the licences of taxi drivers. They can also influence the local context in which vehicles operate, and a range of licensing policies have been developed to do this by councils. However, over time this has led to a variety of different standards being applied and a lack of consistency.

 

Many licensing authorities have reviewed and strengthened their licensing policies following high profile cases. However, these efforts have been undermined by out of area working by drivers who have been licensed in other areas where the licensing requirements may not be as strict. For example, some councils have introduced a mandatory CCTV policy which drivers licensed with them are required to comply with, but out of area drivers can continue to operate without CCTV because they are subject to different licensing conditions.

 

This has caused huge frustration to councils and local drivers who have complied with more rigorous standards, and the LGA has argued that this could be addressed by the introduction of greater national consistency through national minimum standards. Whilst it is good that the Government has published new statutory standards which may go some way to raising standards, this does not negate the need for wider reform.

 

Out of area private hire vehicles working has increased significantly partly due to new app-based models which make it easier for individuals to book a PHV that is licensed elsewhere. As well as varying driver and vehicle standards, another key issue for councils is the limited enforcement powers they have to take action against PHVs that are licensed by another authority.

 

First and foremost, councils have no ability to stop vehicles, which leaves them only able to intervene when a vehicle is stationary, and unable to prevent it being driven off - only the police may stop a vehicle.

 

Secondly, a council may only take action against a vehicle or driver that it has licensed, meaning that there is absolutely nothing that a council can do if a vehicle or driver licensed elsewhere is operating in their area, other than complain to the 'home' authority.

 

It's been argued that enforcement officers should be able to take action against any PHV operating in their area. Councils have explored and started to implement the use of joint enforcement or joint warranting agreements at a regional level, which allow licensing enforcement officers to enforce against vehicles which have been licensed in other areas, an approach that is recommended in the statutory standards. However, these agreements only extend to those authorities who agree this at the local level.

 

The issues above highlight how outdated legislation is no longer fit for purpose and we need to call for new legislation to be brought forward as soon as possible. Whilst in the short term there is no commitment to a complete overhaul of the licensing regime, new statutory standards should address at least some of the key issues facing councils.

 

In Portsmouth City Council alone, the licensing department have already highlighted and had reports of over fifty licensed private hire vehicles working in the city and these vehicles are licensed to Wolverhampton City Council. Portsmouth City Council licensing department has also had reports of vehicles that, as a local licensing authority, the authority would deem as not fit for purpose completing private hire jobs for our residents via a local operator. The number of private hire vehicles in Portsmouth that are licensed by distant authorities such as Wolverhampton is increasing heavily every single month.

 

Full Council asks the Chair of the Licensing Committee and Leader of the Council to write a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Transport and Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP and Stephen Morgan MP to ask that a review takes place as follows:-

 

The current statutory private hire and vehicle standards makes no reference specifically to cross border hiring. But it does mention enforcement of the licensing regime that proposes joint authorisation of enforcement officers so that would give us authorisation under to act to stop and investigate on behalf of another licensing authority albeit we would not receive any income to facilitate such compliance checking. This is not sufficient to address the problem and is in realism not possible to implement.

 

Full Council suggests the Department for Transport reviews the current loophole in relation to cross border hiring, particularly in relation to localised enforcement action towards private hire workers with the city. Full Council believes, local controls need to be brought back to the local authority to ensure the safety of the travelling public, while placing significant weight to the need to implement policies which are relevant to the local area.

 

Full Council requests the Department for Transport to commit to a full review of the current cross border hiring legislation, with a focus on the negative impact it has on a local authorities all over the country. Full council also request that the Department for Transport works with Portsmouth City Council as a licensing authority to help develop future legislation that focuses on localism within the licensing regime.

82.

Phasing out of pesticides and weed-killers in Portsmouth

Proposed by Councillor Charlotte Gerada

Seconded by Councillor Judith Smyth

 

Council notes:

 

·         There is a growing body of evidence concerning the dangers of unrestricted use of pesticides and herbicides, and in particular, of Glyphosate. The detrimental effects of pesticides on fauna as well as flora is widely documented, with loss of biodiversity the most egregious. [1] 

 

·         There is growing evidence about the carcinogenic risk posed to humans from pesticides, including a high profile court case in the United States regarding weed killer. Concerns for those who are vulnerable, including children, are particularly pervasive. In particular, Glyphosate is a higher health risk than previously assumed, with the World Health Organisation recently upgrading the pesticide to ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.[2]

 

·         A variety of pesticides are currently used by Portsmouth City Council, including biocides, fungicides, herbicides (e.g. Glyphosate) and insecticides. They are applied at present in all hard areas and landscapes within the PFI network, parks and open spaces, cemeteries, schools and communal areas of housing land across Portsmouth.[3]

 

·         Local Authorities in the UK, and abroad, have taken a variety of measures to limit or exclude the use of pesticides for treatment of weeds and the maintenance of green spaces. Glastonbury, Lewes, Bristol, Chichester and Petersfield are just some of the councils now committed to the prohibition of pesticides and organisations like Pesticide Action Network UK has supported councils to do this.

 

·         A motion to review pesticide use came to the Full Council meeting 13 October 2021. [4]

 

·         As a result of the motion, a report about banning pesticides went to Cabinet in March 2022. Council officers acknowledged that the council's approach is to continue to work towards a reduced, minimal use of pesticides and an integrated or pesticide-free solution wherever possible. [5]

 

Council believes:

 

·         This council has a duty of care to its citizens regarding concerns over the use of pesticides. In the same way that the council is looking to mitigate the risks from air pollution caused by vehicles, it should aim to minimise the risk to all of its residents from unrestricted spraying of certain types of weed killer.

 

·         The impact of weed killers on Portsmouth’s biodiversity and environment should be an important consideration in the approaches taken by the council to maintaining green spaces, tree pits and highways.

 

·         Costs and efficacy of weed management shouldn’t be the only consideration when deciding what approach to use across the city. 

 

·         The contracting staff who carry out weed spraying work need to be protected from harm.

 

·         This council should use its considerable influence and leadership to inform other users of such weed killers about both their negative effects as well as the alternatives.

 

 Council resolves:

 

·         To ask Cabinet, utilising the Transport, Environment and Community SafetyScrutiny Panel as appropriate,to commission trials of a wide range of non-chemical and mechanical alternatives for weed treatment and management and to request council officers report back the findings within six months. 

 

·         To ask Cabinet to Involve local communities in becoming a pesticide-free city, including ensuring the council communicates the benefits of stopping pesticide use and invites residents to take part in trialling other methods of weed management.

 

·         To request that Portsmouth City Council, through Cabinet, delivers a phased withdrawal from the use of all pesticides, including Glyphosate, over a period of three years, using methods tested in the aforementioned trials. This includes all of the council’s subcontractors, such as Colas.

 

·         To ask Cabinet to take the opportunity of the best-value review of its contract with Colas in 2024 to both improve community liaison and identify ways in which Colas can change its practices to help the council achieve its environmental objectives. For example, not spraying where residents have opted out, allowing for larger and non-sprayed tree pits and other opportunities for allowing wildflowers to flourish. 

 

·         To request that the Leader of the Council provides bi-annual updates to members on the progress of this initiative.

 

References

 

[1] The Guardian, June 2022: ‘Glyphosate weedkiller damages wild bee colonies, study reveals’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/02/glyphosate-weedkiller-damages-wild-bumblebee-colonies 

  

[2] The WHO concluded there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals:

 

“The IARC Working Group that conducted the evaluation considered the significant findings from the US EPA report and several more recent positive results in concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, although it gave negative results in tests using bacteria.”

 

[3] Portsmouth City Council Report to Cabinet, March 2022: ‘Use of Pesticides on City Council Land’

https://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/documents/s37325/Use%20of%20Pesticides%20on%20City%20Council%20Land.pdf 

  

[4] Final motion ‘Pesticide Use - Portsmouth City Council’ to Full Council meeting 13 October 2021

https://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/documents/b14496/Agenda%20Item%2012a%20Pesticide%20Use%20LD%20Amendment%20Sanders%20Ashmore%2013th-Oct-2021%2014.00%20Full%20Council.pdf?T=9 

 

[5] Portsmouth City Council Report to Cabinet, March 2022: ‘Use of Pesticides on City Council Land’

https://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/documents/s37325/Use%20of%20Pesticides%20on%20City%20Council%20Land.pdf 

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Charlotte Gerada

Seconded by Councillor Judith Smyth

 

That notice of motion (d) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

Upon being put to a vote the notice of motion was CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

Council notes:

 

·       There is a growing body of evidence concerning the dangers of unrestricted use of pesticides and herbicides, and in particular, of Glyphosate. The detrimental effects of pesticides on fauna as well as flora is widely documented, with loss of biodiversity the most egregious. [1] 

 

·       There is growing evidence about the carcinogenic risk posed to humans from pesticides, including a high profile court case in the United States regarding weed killer. Concerns for those who are vulnerable, including children, are particularly pervasive. In particular, Glyphosate is a higher health risk than previously assumed, with the World Health Organisation recently upgrading the pesticide to ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.[2]

 

·       A variety of pesticides are currently used by Portsmouth City Council, including biocides, fungicides, herbicides (e.g. Glyphosate) and insecticides. They are applied at present in all hard areas and landscapes within the PFI network, parks and open spaces, cemeteries, schools and communal areas of housing land across Portsmouth.[3]

 

·       Local Authorities in the UK, and abroad, have taken a variety of measures to limit or exclude the use of pesticides for treatment of weeds and the maintenance of green spaces. Glastonbury, Lewes, Bristol, Chichester and Petersfield are just some of the councils now committed to the prohibition of pesticides and organisations like Pesticide Action Network UK has supported councils to do this.

 

·       A motion to review pesticide use came to the Full Council meeting 13 October 2021. [4]

 

·       As a result of the motion, a report about banning pesticides went to Cabinet in March 2022. Council officers acknowledged that the council's approach is to continue to work towards a reduced, minimal use of pesticides and an integrated or pesticide-free solution wherever possible. [5]

 

Council believes:

 

·       This council has a duty of care to its citizens regarding concerns over the use of pesticides. In the same way that the council is looking to mitigate the risks from air pollution caused by vehicles, it should aim to minimise the risk to all of its residents from unrestricted spraying of certain types of weed killer.

 

·       The impact of weed killers on Portsmouth’s biodiversity and environment should be an important consideration in the approaches taken by the council to maintaining green spaces, tree pits and highways.

 

·       Costs and efficacy of weed management shouldn’t be the only consideration when deciding what approach to use across the city. 

 

·       The contracting staff who carry out weed spraying work need to be protected from harm.

 

·       This council should use its considerable influence and leadership to inform other users of such weed killers about both their negative effects as well as the alternatives.

 

 Council resolves:

 

·       To ask Cabinet, utilising the Transport, Environment and Community SafetyScrutiny Panel as appropriate, to commission trials of a wide range of non-chemical and mechanical alternatives for weed treatment and management and to request council officers report back the findings within six months. 

 

·       To ask Cabinet to Involve local communities in becoming a pesticide-free city, including ensuring the council communicates the benefits of stopping pesticide use and invites residents to take part in trialling other methods of weed management.

 

·       To request that Portsmouth City Council, through Cabinet, delivers a phased withdrawal from the use of all pesticides, including Glyphosate, over a period of three years, using methods tested in the aforementioned trials. This includes all of the council’s subcontractors, such as Colas.

 

·       To ask Cabinet to take the opportunity of the best-value review of its contract with Colas in 2024 to both improve community liaison and identify ways in which Colas can change its practices to help the council achieve its environmental objectives. For example, not spraying where residents have opted out, allowing for larger and non-sprayed tree pits and other opportunities for allowing wildflowers to flourish. 

 

·       To request that the Leader of the Council provides bi-annual updates to members on the progress of this initiative.

 

References

 

[1] The Guardian, June 2022: ‘Glyphosate weedkiller damages wild bee colonies, study reveals’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/02/glyphosate-weedkiller-damages-wild-bumblebee-colonies 

  

[2] The WHO concluded there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals:

 

“The IARC Working Group that conducted the evaluation considered the significant findings from the US EPA report and several more recent positive results in concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, although it gave negative results in tests using bacteria.”

 

[3] Portsmouth City Council Report to Cabinet, March 2022: ‘Use of Pesticides on City Council Land’

https://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/documents/s37325/Use%20of%20Pesticides%20on%20City%20Council%20Land.pdf 

  

[4] Final motion ‘Pesticide Use - Portsmouth City Council’ to Full Council meeting 13 October 2021

https://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/documents/b14496/Agenda%20Item%2012a%20Pesticide%20Use%20LD%20Amendment%20Sanders%20Ashmore%2013th-Oct-2021%2014.00%20Full%20Council.pdf?T=9 

 

[5] Portsmouth City Council Report to Cabinet, March 2022: ‘Use of Pesticides on City Council Land’

https://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/documents/s37325/Use%20of%20Pesticides%20on%20City%20Council%20Land.pdf 

 

83.

Hilsea Community Centre pdf icon PDF 9 KB

Proposed by Councillor Russell Simpson

Seconded by Councillor George Madgwick

 

The Ward of Hilsea has no community centre. This negatively impacts the local community dramatically.

 

Full Council asks Cabinet, if possible through the Cabinet Member for Housing & the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, to find a suitable location for a new community centre within the Hilsea ward and report back to Cabinet (keeping the Group Leaders and all Hilsea councillors informed) about the feasibility to open one.

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Russell Simpson

Seconded by Councillor George Madgwick

 

That notice of motion (e) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor Scott Payter-Harris

Seconded by Councillor Simon Bosher

 

To delete the second paragraph and replace with:

 

'Full Council asks the Cabinet member for Housing & Preventing Homelessness & the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development to find suitable locations for a potential new community centre within Hilsea ward and report back to cabinet regarding the feasibility to open a new community centre in Hilsea. 

 

Full Council asks for all Group Leaders and Hilsea Ward councillors to be kept informed throughout this process and ensure they are consulted on all possible locations when potential sites are identified.'

 

Following debate, the proposer of the original motion, Councillor Russell Simpson agreed to subsume the amendment put by Councillor Scott Payter-Harris into the motion.

 

Following a vote, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

The Ward of Hilsea has no community centre. This negatively impacts the local community dramatically.

 

Full Council asks the Cabinet member for Housing & Preventing Homelessness & the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development to find suitable locations for a potential new community centre within Hilsea ward and report back to cabinet regarding the feasibility to open a new community centre in Hilsea. 

 

Full Council asks for all Group Leaders and Hilsea Ward councillors to be kept informed throughout this process and ensure they are consulted on all possible locations when potential sites are identified.

84.

GPs in the City pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Proposed by Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson

Seconded by Councillor Matthew Winnington

 

This Council calls on the government to take urgent action to address the appalling ratio of local residents to GPs in our city.

 

Evidence from the Nuffield Trust showed that in Portsmouth there is only one GP for every 2483 people. This was the worst ratio of GPs to residents in England. Some areas, such as Oxfordshire, have more than double that provision.

 

I have written to the Secretary of State asking for him to work with the city to urgently address this issue.

 

We call upon the government, through Cabinet, to back our plea to become a pilot area to follow Wales and Scotland to allow pharmacists to issue prescriptions to ease pressure on GPs.

 

We further call upon the government, through Cabinet, to back our calls for the Council to be able to directly employ GPs.

 

This Council, through Cabinet, pledges to work closely with partners, including the GPs of Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and other primary healthcare professionals and in conjunction with the Integrated Care System to recruit, retain and resource our Local GPs, in line with the goals of the city vision to deliver better health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of Portsmouth.

 

Through Cabinet, we call on the Secretary of State to commit to providing whatever support is necessary to achieve these aims.

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson

Seconded by Councillor Matthew Winnington

 

That notice of motion (f) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor Cal Corkery

Seconded by Councillor Kirsty Mellor

 

To add the following to the end of the motion:

 

'In January 2020 the Labour Group put forward proposals to Full Council which included the following:

 

"Ask the Cabinet to work with the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance to develop a recruitment campaign to encourage more GP’s to come and work in Portsmouth.

 

"Ask the Cabinet to work with the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance and, where appropriate, health trusts to explore the possibility of jointly supporting the recruiting of salaried GP’s to work with existing practices to manage the increased workload of patients due to GP retirements.

 

"Ask the Cabinet to explore further the use of city council owned property assets, or the acquisition of property assets, to support the provision of local health services."

 

Full Council welcomes the Liberal Democrat administration now taking up these ideas but regrets it has taken them two and a half years to do so.

The February 2020 response from the Liberal Democrat administration to the petition asking to "Save Hanway Medical Practice" said:

 

"The City Council will organise a three way conference between the CCG (on behalf of the NHS), GPs and the City Council to come up with a strategy to make sure GP services are provided across the city, especially in areas of deprivation."

 

Full Council expresses regret the administration has not yet followed through on this pledge.

 

That same response also said:

 

"The City Council Property Team will therefore work with GPs and the CCG to see if the City Council can help preserve health provision in areas of the City. The first test of this will be establishing the right property ownership model at the John Pounds Centre Surgery in Portsea to ensure the continued provision of community health services from this location"

 

Full Council notes the property issues at the council owned John Pounds Centre Surgery have still not been resolved and local people in Portsea have been without access to GP services in their area as a result.

 

At the March 2022 meeting of Full Council the Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care pledged to Portsea Action Group he would keep them updated on the provision of GP services in their area however no contact has been made since by any member of the Liberal Democrat administration.

 

In January 2020 the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he thought his administration could put a GP surgery into the empty council owned commercial unit in Chaucer House on Isambard Brunel Road.

 

Full Council regrets this has not happened and the fact this unit remains empty to this day, some two and a half years later.

 

Full Council welcomes this motion from the Liberal Democrat administration on dealing with the local GP crisis and hopes its record of inaction and broken promises will change into meaningful progress for local residents.'

 

Following debate, the proposer of the original motion, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson did not wish to subsume the amendment put by Councillor Cal Corkery into the motion.

 

Following a vote, the amendment in the name of Councillor Cal Corkery was declared LOST.

 

Council voted on the original motion.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

This Council calls on the government to take urgent action to address the appalling ratio of local residents to GPs in our city. Evidence from the Nuffield Trust showed that in Portsmouth there is only one GP for every 2483 people.

 

This was the worst ratio of GPs to residents in England. Some areas, such as Oxfordshire, have more than double that provision. I have written to the Secretary of State asking for him to work with the city to urgently address this issue.

 

We call upon the government, through Cabinet, to back our plea to become a pilot area to follow Wales and Scotland to allow pharmacists to issue prescriptions to ease pressure on GPs.

 

We further call upon the government, through Cabinet, to back our calls for the Council to be able to directly employ GPs. This Council, through Cabinet, pledges to work closely with partners, including the GPs of Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and other primary healthcare professionals and in conjunction with the Integrated Care System to recruit, retain and resource our Local GPs, in line with the goals of the city vision to deliver better health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of Portsmouth. Through Cabinet, we call on the Secretary of State to commit to providing whatever support is necessary to achieve these aims.

85.

Widening Participation in Local Democracy

Proposed by Councillor Cal Corkery
Seconded by Councillor Kirsty Mellor

 

Full Council notes:

 

1.         It is an important function of local authorities and political parties to promote participation in local democracy, particularly through voter registration and encouraging people to use their vote at election time.

 

2.         People from traditionally marginalised and excluded social groups and communities may experience additional barriers which prevent or dissuade them from active participation in local democracy.

 

3.         Participants at previous Learning Disability Partnership Board meetings have expressed a view that more could be done to engage people with learning disabilities in local politics and elections.

 

4.         The council is the only local authority known to employ a Learning Disability Champion.

 

5.         Valuable work is already undertaken by the council to promote voter registration and encourage participation in local democracy. 

 

6.         Voter turnout in local elections tends to be low, however there is variation across the city with a high of 42% in Eastney and Craneswater ward and a low of 18% in Charles Dickens ward in the 2022 polls.

 

Full Council believes:

 

1.         Every local resident has the right to take part in local democracy and both the council and political parties have a duty to engage people in the process and promote active participation.

 

2.         Where certain social groups or communities are known or identified to face particular challenges or difficulties taking part in local democracy, action should be taken to break down those barriers and make politics more accessible.

 

3.         The Learning Disability Partnership Board and Learning Disability Champion, collectively do fantastic work to represent and advocate for the views and interests of the local learning disability communities. 

 

4.         Low voter turnout risks undermining the legitimacy of local government and the confidence of residents in their council and their elected representatives.

 

5.         Low turnout across the city often seems to correlate to areas of economic deprivation and social exclusion.

 

6.         That it would be helpful if Group Leaders could work together to ensure provision of an accessible hustings event in advance of the next local elections aimed at better engaging people from marginalised or excluded communities in the democratic process.

 

7.         That all Members are, and should be aware that they can assist in the promotion of inclusive voter engagement by taking active steps to produce easy read and readily accessible political literature.

 

Full council resolves:

 

1.         To place on record our thanks to the Learning Disability Partnership Board, Learning Disability Champion and Electoral Services team for the crucially important work they do.

 

2.         To ask Cabinet to commission a report to be brought back to Full Council this municipal year looking at what can be done to ensure greater accessibility to, and the promotion of resident engagement in local democracy.

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Cal Corkery

Seconded by Councillor Kirsty Mellor

 

That notice of motion (g) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

Upon being put to a vote the notice of motion was CARRIED.

 

Following a vote, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

Full Council notes:

 

1. It is an important function of local authorities and political parties to promote participation in local democracy, particularly through voter registration and encouraging people to use their vote at election time.

 

2. People from traditionally marginalised and excluded social groups and communities may experience additional barriers which prevent or dissuade them from active participation in local democracy.

 

3. Participants at previous Learning Disability Partnership Board meetings have expressed a view that more could be done to engage people with learning disabilities in local politics and elections.

 

4. The council is the only local authority known to employ a Learning Disability Champion.

 

5. Valuable work is already undertaken by the council to promote voter registration and encourage participation in local democracy.

 

6. Voter turnout in local elections tends to be low, however there is variation across the city with a high of 42% in Eastney and Craneswater ward and a low of 18% in Charles Dickens ward in the 2022 polls.

 

Full Council believes:

 

1. Every local resident has the right to take part in local democracy and both the council and political parties have a duty to engage people in the process and promote active participation.

 

2. Where certain social groups or communities are known or identified to face particular challenges or difficulties taking part in local democracy, action should be taken to break down those barriers and make politics more accessible.

 

3. The Learning Disability Partnership Board and Learning Disability Champion, collectively do fantastic work to represent and advocate for the views and interests of the local learning disability communities.

 

4. Low voter turnout risks undermining the legitimacy of local government and the confidence of residents in their council and their elected representatives.

 

5. Low turnout across the city often seems to correlate to areas of economic deprivation and social exclusion.

 

6. That it would be helpful if Group Leaders could work together to ensure provision of an accessible hustings event in advance of the next local elections aimed at better engaging people from marginalised or excluded communities in the democratic process.

 

7. That all Members are, and should be aware that they can assist in the promotion of inclusive voter engagement by taking active steps to produce easy read and readily accessible political literature.

 

Full council resolves:

 

1. To place on record our thanks to the Learning Disability Partnership Board, Learning Disability Champion and Electoral Services team for the crucially important work they do.

 

2. To ask Cabinet to commission a report to be brought back to Full Council this municipal year looking at what can be done to ensure greater accessibility to, and the promotion of resident engagement in local democracy.

86.

Reinstate Shareholder Committee

Proposed by Councillor Scott Payter-Harris

Seconded by Councillor Ryan Brent

 

The purpose of the Shareholder Committee was to approve and oversee the Council’s strategic objectives across Portsmouth City Council’s companies, while also giving support in the development of these companies in line with the Council’s regulations and ambitions.

 

The decision made by the Cabinet voting members of the Shareholder committee at its first ever meeting was to abolish the Shareholder Committee and ensure that all oversight of PCC companies and future company subsidiaries would be undertaken by and reported to full Cabinet.

 

This council believes the decision to abolish the Shareholder committee was wrong.

 

This Council believes scrutiny and oversight of PCC companies and future company subsidiaries should be undertaken by the Shareholder Committee and not full Cabinet. This council requests the Leader and the Cabinet to reinstate the Shareholder Committee and report back to Full Council within the next 3 months.

Minutes:

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Councillor Simon Bosher left the meeting for this item as per their previous declarations of interest.

 

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Scott Payter-Harris

Seconded by Councillor Ryan Brent

 

That notice of motion (h) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

Upon being put to a vote the notice of motion was CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

The purpose of the Shareholder Committee was to approve and oversee the Council’s strategic objectives across Portsmouth City Council’s companies, while also giving support in the development of these companies in line with the Council’s regulations and ambitions.

 

The decision made by the Cabinet voting members of the Shareholder committee at its first ever meeting was to abolish the Shareholder Committee and ensure that all oversight of PCC companies and future company subsidiaries would be undertaken by and reported to full Cabinet.

 

This council believes the decision to abolish the Shareholder committee was wrong. This Council believes scrutiny and oversight of PCC companies and future company subsidiaries should be undertaken by the Shareholder Committee and not full Cabinet. This council requests the Leader and the Cabinet to reinstate the Shareholder Committee and report back to Full Council within the next 3 months.

87.

Civic Offices Sustainability pdf icon PDF 8 KB

Proposed by Councillor Ryan Brent

Seconded by Councillor Lee Mason

 

Understandably, there has been a need for businesses, including local authorities, to develop new ways of working in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The council commends the continued hard work of officers, and their desire to ensure that residents of the city have minimal disruptions and impact to the 'normal' services that they received prior to the pandemic.

 

However, the council regrets that the Liberal Democrat administration have not facilitated a return to 'normal' yet. Members of this council as well as residents of the city have noted a seemingly empty civic offices building which does not function effectively. It is vital that taxpayers receive the best value for money with services, especially those delivered by the local authority, and unfortunately the council notes that this is not happening.

 

It is now time to look forward and consider what is the most purposeful and efficient way for the local authority to deliver its services. Therefore, the council compels the administration to bring a report to the October Full Council meeting that considers the future of the civic offices. The report will include:

 

-     Running costs prior to the pandemic and current data for the council as a whole in addition to a breakdown per Department, including working from home overheads

 

-     Costed proposals for alternative working solutions for the Civic Offices functions, including travel expenses and parking

 

-     Possible alternative income generation utilisation of the asset

 

-     Evaluative financial analysis of the current market value of the civic offices

 

-     Preliminary findings from the working from home working group, including all meeting dates and agenda items since it commenced.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Ryan Brent

Seconded by Councillor Lee Mason

 

That notice of motion (i) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor Judith Smyth

Seconded by Councillor Cal Corkery

 

To delete the first sentence of paragraph 2 ‘However the council regrets that the Liberal Democrat administration have not facilitated a return to ‘normal’ yet’.

 

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson

Seconded by Councillor Steve Pitt

 

To add to the end of the motion:

 

'Leaving the Civic Offices which are too large for the City Council and have high energy use, for the site to be redeveloped and the reprovision of council offices on a much smaller site in the city centre.'

 

Following debate, the proposer of the motion, Councillor Ryan Brent, agreed to subsume the amendment put by Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson into the motion but did not agree to subsume the amendment put by Councillor Judith Smyth into the motion.

 

Council voted on the amendment put by Councillor Judith Smyth and seconded by Councillor Cal Corkery.

 

Following a vote, the amendment was declared CARRIED.

 

Council voted on the substantive motion, incorporating the amendments in the name of Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Councillor Judith Smyth.

 

Following a vote, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

Understandably, there has been a need for businesses, including local authorities, to develop new ways of working in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The council commends the continued hard work of officers, and their desire to ensure that residents of the city have minimal disruptions and impact to the 'normal' services that they received prior to the pandemic.

 

Members of this council as well as residents of the city have noted a seemingly empty civic offices building which does not function effectively. It is vital that taxpayers receive the best value for money with services, especially those delivered by the local authority, and unfortunately the council notes that this is not happening.

 

It is now time to look forward and consider what is the most purposeful and efficient way for the local authority to deliver its services.

 

Therefore, the council compels the administration to bring a report to the October Full Council meeting that considers the future of the civic offices.

 

The report will include:

 

·     Running costs prior to the pandemic and current data for the council as a whole in addition to a breakdown per Department, including working from home overheads;

·     Costed proposals for alternative working solutions for the Civic Offices functions, including travel expenses and parking;

·     Possible alternative income generation utilisation of the asset;

·     valuative financial analysis of the current market value of the civic offices;

·     Preliminary findings from the working from home working group, including all meeting dates and agenda items since it commenced

·     Leaving the Civic Offices which are too large for the City Council and have high energy use, for the site to be redeveloped and the reprovision of council offices on a much smaller site in the city centre.

88.

Park Homes

Proposed by Councillor Lee Mason

Seconded by Councillor John Smith

 

“This council condemns the introduction of a 10% commission on the sale of park homes at the council owned sites at Cliffdale Gardens and Henderson Road. This is in effect a tax on some of the least wealthy home owners in the city that will reduce the value of their homes and damage the long term financial plans that residents, including some who are now vulnerable or elderly, have carefully made over many years. This is an exploitative cash grab, made at a time when residents are already struggling with the cost of living and at a time when the council itself has received government funding that means its most recent budget required no cuts to services or budgets to make savings. There is no justifiable reason for stripping Portsmouth home owners of their assets in this way.

 

This council condemns the attempts by the administration to mislead residents by claiming that it has found a solution by applying the policy to new owners only. Anyone with basic economic literacy can see that new buyers will reduce what they are willing to pay to take account of the fact they have to pay a 10% commission on future sale. This council therefore notes that the charge will still adversely impact existing residents and calls on the cabinet member for housing to accept that his change in policy will not fully protect existing owners.

 

The city council further expresses its disapproval of the apparently secretive way in which this policy has been adopted. The council condemns the decision to use a legal technicality - the fact that there is no formal change to the terms and conditions of residency - to avoid consulting residents on the proposal. This council expresses it's disapproval of the fact that this policy was revealed only in the budget with no discussion in public decision meetings by the relevant cabinet member or the full cabinet. This council condemns the fact that since the budget and despite significant and vocal protest from residents that the cabinet member has hidden behind the budget and despite changing the policy so that it only applies to future owners he has still refused to engage properly with residents who have instead received only a letter confirming that the policy is already in place. This disregard for the residents and for public scrutiny is shameful.

 

This council calls on the Administration to reverse the decision to charge the commission at the earliest opportunity. This council calls on the Administration to apologise to residents of Cliffdale Gardens and Henderson Road for the way they have been treated. This council calls on all political group leaders and members of this council to commit to reversing this decision in the 2023 budget if necessary.”

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Lee Mason

Seconded by Councillor John Smith

 

That notice of motion (j) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

In accordance with Standing Order 48(b), eight Councillors stood to request that a recorded vote be taken.

 

The following members voted in favour of the motion

 

Councillor Yinka Adeniran

Councillor Simon Bosher

Councillor Ryan Brent

Councillor Tom Coles

Councillor Cal Corkery

Councillor Charlotte Gerada

Councillor George Fielding

Councillor Lewis Gosling

Councillor Graham Heaney

Councillor George Madgwick

Councillor Brian Madgwick

Councillor Lee Mason

Councillor Kirsty Mellor

Councillor Gemma New

Councillor Terry Norton

Councillor Scott Payter-Harris

Councillor Asgah Shah

Councillor Russell Simpson

Councillor John Smith

Councillor Benedict Swann

Councillor Judith Smyth

 

No Councillors voted against the motion

 

The following members abstained from voting

 

Councillor Dave Ashmore

Councillor Chris Attwell

Councillor Stuart Brown

Councillor Jason Fazackarley

Councillor Suzy Horton

Councillor Mark Jeffery

Councillor Leo Madden

Councillor Hugh Mason

Councillor Steve Pitt

Councillor Darren Sanders

Councillor Lynne Stagg

Councillor Matthew Winnington

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson

 

RESOLVED that:

 

This council condemns the introduction of a 10% commission on the sale of park homes at the council owned sites at Cliffdale Gardens and Henderson Road. This is in effect a tax on some of the least wealthy home owners in the city that will reduce the value of their homes and damage the long term financial plans that residents, including some who are now vulnerable or elderly, have carefully made over many years.

 

This is an exploitative cash grab, made at a time when residents are already struggling with the cost of living and at a time when the council itself has received government funding that means its most recent budget required no cuts to services or budgets to make savings. There is no justifiable reason for stripping Portsmouth home owners of their assets in this way.

 

This council condemns the attempts by the administration to mislead residents by claiming that it has found a solution by applying the policy to new owners only. Anyone with basic economic literacy can see that new buyers will reduce what they are willing to pay to take account of the fact they have to pay a 10% commission on future sale.

 

This council therefore notes that the charge will still adversely impact existing residents and calls on the cabinet member for housing to accept that his change in policy will not fully protect existing owners. The city council further expresses its disapproval of the apparently secretive way in which this policy has been adopted.

 

The council condemns the decision to use a legal technicality - the fact that there is no formal change to the terms and conditions of residency - to avoid consulting residents on the proposal. This council expresses it's disapproval of the fact that this policy was revealed only in the budget with no discussion in public decision meetings by the relevant cabinet member or the full cabinet.

 

This council condemns the fact that since the budget and despite significant and vocal protest from residents that the cabinet member has hidden behind the budget and despite changing the policy so that it only applies to future owners he has still refused to engage properly with residents who have instead received only a letter confirming that the policy is already in place. This disregard for the residents and for public scrutiny is shameful.

 

This council calls on the Administration to reverse the decision to charge the commission at the earliest opportunity.

 

This council calls on the Administration to apologise to residents of Cliffdale Gardens and Henderson Road for the way they have been treated.

 

This council calls on all political group leaders and members of this council to commit to reversing this decision in the 2023 budget if necessary.

89.

Warm Places pdf icon PDF 8 KB

Proposed by Councillor Judith Smyth

Seconded by Councillor Graham Heaney

 

The cost-of-living crisis will have a devastating impact across all areas of daily life.  Spiralling price increases will impact disproportionately on low-wage households and people dependent on state support.  Wages will fail to keep pace with price increases. With inflation likely to hit as much as 11% by next winter and the research firm Kantar predicting an increase in the average household food bill of 380%, the current inequalities in our society will become even more pronounced.

 

Energy prices are expected to peak during winter months.  As hard-pressed households juggle resources, many will face a choice of eating or heating their home.  Lack of heating leaves long-term health problems.  Central government has no plans to support hard-pressed households beyond the meagre measures already announced.

 

Whilst we do not have local powers to change the benefits system or fuel pricing there are some actions we can take locally to help people to keep warm this winter.

 

The public response to the Covid pandemic and the number of people currently helping out in food banks has shown that local communities feel a need to help others at times of crisis and respond generously to such crises.

However, it is very much harder for individuals and communities to respond to fuel poverty than it is to support a food bank. 

 

Homes should be a place of warmth comfort and safety. Heating is an essential and not a luxury. No one should have to leave their home because they can't afford to keep it warm. However, sadly this is the reality that many face. For some this will be disastrous in a cold winter. It is therefore necessary for the council to take action and plan to meet that need so that we are prepared.

 

This motion asks the City council to support the development of a community wide local response to assist vulnerable people unable to heat their home to warm up during the day. This could be done by ensuring that welcoming warm places are made available across the city in every community for public use.  This could be a public library, a  community centre, school, pub or café, sports centres, a church, mosque or other place of worship.  It should include outreach to groups of older people, after school and breakfast clubs, parent and baby groups to enable them to participate.

 

The aim would be to have accessible, well publicised, safe, welcoming, warm places available to those who cannot warm their homes during the day available by the end of October across the whole city.

 

The Council therefore asks cabinet to

 

(i)            Work with the Hive, individual volunteers and community groups to form a steering group, develop a plan, raise any funds needed, inform people about warm places, manage the scheme and report back on impact on participants. Start now in order to have warm places available by the end of October across the whole city

 

(ii)          Provide a list of public buildings (and opening hours) across the city that will be made available as welcoming warm places by the end of August

 

(iii)         Support the steering group to involve places of worship, cafes, pubs, gyms and other owners/occupiers of warm places to participate in the scheme between November and March.

 

(iv)         Advertise the scheme as it develops and when it opens on websites, flagship and in other ways

Minutes:

It was

 

Proposed by Councillor Judith Smyth

Seconded by Councillor Graham Heaney

 

That notice of motion (k) as set out on the agenda be adopted.

 

As an amendment it was

 

Proposed by Councillor Ryan Brent

Seconded by Councillor Scott Payter-Harris

 

To remove 'Central Government has no plans to support hard-pressed households beyond the meagre measures already announced' from paragraph 3 and replace with:

 

'Central Government has implemented fiscal policy to support hard-pressed households, but will need to do more.'

 

Following debate, the proposer of the original motion, Councillor Judith Smyth did not agree to subsume the amendment put by Councillor Ryan Brent into the motion.

 

Following a vote, the amendment put by Councillor Ryan Brent was declared LOST.

 

Following a vote, the original motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

The cost-of-living crisis will have a devastating impact across all areas of daily life. Spiralling price increases will impact disproportionately on low-wage households and people dependent on state support.

 

Wages will fail to keep pace with price increases. With inflation likely to hit as much as 11% by next winter and the research firm Kantar predicting an increase in the average household food bill of 380%, the current inequalities in our society will become even more pronounced.

 

Energy prices are expected to peak during winter months. As hard pressed households juggle resources, many will face a choice of eating or heating their home. Lack of heating leaves long-term health problems. Central government has no plans to support hard pressed households beyond the meagre measures already announced.

 

Whilst we do not have local powers to change the benefits system or fuel pricing there are some actions we can take locally to help people to keep warm this winter. The public response to the Covid pandemic and the number of people currently helping out in food banks has shown that local communities feel a need to help others at times of crisis and respond generously to such crises.

 

However, it is very much harder for individuals and communities to respond to fuel poverty than it is to support a food bank. Homes should be a place of warmth comfort and safety. Heating is an essential and not a luxury. No one should have to leave their home because they can't afford to keep it warm. However, sadly this is the reality that many face. For some this will be disastrous in a cold winter. It is therefore necessary for the council to take action and plan to meet that need so that we are prepared.

 

This motion asks the City council to support the development of a community wide local response to assist vulnerable people unable to heat their home to warm up during the day.

 

This could be done by ensuring that welcoming warm places are made available across the city in every community for public use. This could be a public library, a community centre, school, pub or café, sports centres, a church, mosque or other place of worship. It should include outreach to groups of older people, after school and breakfast clubs, parent and baby groups to enable them to participate.

 

The aim would be to have accessible, well publicised, safe, welcoming, warm places available to those who cannot warm their homes during the day available by the end of October across the whole city.

 

The Council therefore asks Cabinet to:

 

(i)             Work with the Hive, individual volunteers and community groups to form a steering group, develop a plan, raise any funds needed, inform people about warm places, manage the scheme and report back on impact on participants. Start now in order to have warm places available by the end of October across the whole city;

 

(ii)           Provide a list of public buildings (and opening hours) across the city that will be made available as welcoming warm places by the end of August;

 

(iii)         Support the steering group to involve places of worship, cafes, pubs, gyms and other owners/occupiers of warm places to participate in the scheme between November and March; and

 

(iv)         Advertise the scheme as it develops and when it opens on websites, flagship and in other ways.

90.

Questions from Members under Standing Order No 17 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Minutes:

Five questions from members had been received under Standing Order No 17.

 

The first question was from Councillor Kirsty Mellor.

 

"Can the leader of the council update us as to what is happening with the £100,000 Equalities initiatives fund secured by the Labour group as part of the annual budget decision earlier this year?"

 

This and supplementary questions were answered by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

 

 

The second question was from Councillor Charlotte Gerada.

 

"Can the Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Environment explain why she amended the criteria and application process for the 'Greening the City Fund' while an application was already in train under the existing framework and when two projects - in Cosham and Charles Dickens - have already received funding from this fund?"

 

This and supplementary questions were answered by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson in the absence of the Cabinet Member.

 

 

The third question was from Councillor Tom Coles.

 

"Following the publication of the resident consultation regarding parking in the area between St Mary's Road and New Road, and the responses in favour of implementing a Resident's Parking Zone, can the Cabinet Member confirm when the process will begin?"

 

This and supplementary questions were answered by the Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, Councillor Lynne Stagg.

 

 

The fourth question was from Councillor Ryan Brent.

 

"Could the cabinet member outline the oversight and information provided to the council about empty properties and corporate assets (residential and commercial) in addition to policies that facilitate the reduction in empty properties and promote appropriate development?"

 

In the absence of the Cabinet Member a written response would be provided.

 

 

The fifth question was from Councillor Graham Heaney.

 

" Can the leader briefly outline the progress made in implementing the action plan in response to the recommendations of the LGA Peer Review in 2021?"

 

This and supplementary questions were answered by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.