Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday 24 January 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW

Contact: Wayne Chandai, Tel: 020 7926 0029 Email: wchandai@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests

    Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

     

     

    Minutes:

    There were none.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 252 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on 18 October, 2017 and 18 December 2017.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meetings held on 18 October 2017 and 18 December be approved as accurate records of the proceedings.

3.

Announcements

    Minutes:

    The Mayor invited colleagues to a charity dinner at the Kia Oval on 16 February 2018 in support of her two nominated charities – Care 4 Carers and Oasis Youth Hub.

4.

Petitions, PNQs and Deputations

    No public notice questions were received.

     

    Petitions will be presented at the meeting by Councillors.

     

    The deadline for the receipt of requests for a deputation is 5pm 19 January, 2018. Email: wchandai@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Minutes:

    4a. Petitions

     

    Council received three petitions:

     

    1.    From Councillor Adrian Garden on road safety on Kildoran, Glenelg & Strathleven Roads.

    2.    From Councillor Fred Cowell on ticketed events in Brockwell Park.

    3.    From Councillor Tim Briggs on residents in Thurlow Park’s request to the Borough Commander to increase police presence in the area.

     

    4b. Public Notice Questions

     

    There were none.

     

    4c. Deputations

     

    Council received a deputation from Janet Baker, regarding proposals for “buffer zones”, which would restrict protests in the vicinity of women’s sexual health and family planning clinics. Points raised in the deputation included the following:

     

    ·         Despite claims that the protests around Lambeth clinics were peaceful, they were anything but.

    ·         The protests were aggressive, gender-specific manipulation against women who were often in a state of distress.

    ·         Any woman who has had to reach the point of seeking a pregnancy termination would be confident of her decision, but it would not have been an easy one.

    ·         The protests were wilfully ignorant of why women may be at the clinics.

    ·         Protests at these clinics were as much a violence against women as any other form of aggression and must be removed from the vicinity of these clinics.

    ·         People living nearby also felt uncomfortable by the protests.

    ·         She and those she spoke on behalf of agreed strongly with the right to protest and free speech, but this must be done in a place were no women would feel personally threatened.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Healthier and Stronger Communities, Councillor Jim Dickson, responded to the deputation and raised the following points:

     

    ·         He thanked Janet Baker and the other women in attendance for their encouragement of Council to address this issue.

    ·         Women who had sought terminations had been subject to intimidation and harassment.

    ·         It cannot be right that women have to walk past protesters bearing oftentimes graphic images.

    ·         Council supported the right to protest peacefully, but women should not be harassed for exercising their legal right to seek a termination.

    ·         To address this issue, Council would engage in a formal public consultation on whether to use a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to restrict protest around the clinics.

    ·         A variety of stakeholders had been engaged to identify those engaged in harassment.

    ·         He hoped that this delegation would receive cross-party support, and it was regrettable that the Conservatives were not supporting this.

    ·         He finally thanked the delegation once more, and hoped that all in attendance shared the ambition that women were able to access Lambeth clinics free of harassment in the future.

5.

Cabinet Statement

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, addressed Council and raised the following points:

     

    ·         She gave reassurance to the submitters of a deputation to the 18 October 2017 Council meeting that they would receive a response by the end of the week.

    ·         She also noted that it was good to be back in the Town Hall for the first Full Council meeting since refurbishment.

    ·         She further thanked all those who had played a part in the project, including construction workers, apprentices and Lambeth staff.

    ·         Paid tribute to the Deputy Leader of the Council (Investment and Partnerships), Councillor Paul McGlone, for his leadership on the project.

    ·         The starting premise of the project had been to save money during a time of austerity, and the Town Hall refurbishment would save £4.5m a year.

    ·         There were also a smaller number of Council buildings, and local demands for more affordable business space and more community space had been addressed.

    ·         Over 290 homes were part of Lambeth’s regeneration effort, with 47% of those homes being affordable.

    ·         There were also ambitious plans for hundreds more affordable homes being implemented. Lambeth Council had created and managed a Special Purpose Vehicle to implement this.

    ·         She also invited Councillors to go to other regeneration efforts on Somerlayton Road, Lollard Street and Ackerman Road.

    ·         All that could be done to help struggling residents remain in the borough would be done.

    ·         The Government was not prepared to take any action so it was the responsibility of Council to do something.

     

6.

Opposition Statement

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Tim Briggs, gave the following statement to Council:

     

    “I have mixed views about this New Town Hall. It’s sad to hear Councillor Peck talking about this renovated building without any mention of what it cost.

     

    This renovated Town Hall is actually a metaphor for everything wrong with this Labour administration.

     

    It has a historic Edwardian outside, which is a façade of trustworthiness, civic values, and financial prudence. The inside has been hollowed out.

     

    Back in 2015 no councillors opposed the plans – we were told it would cost £50 million and save £2.5 million a year, so paying for itself after 20 years. At Planning Committee Councillor Gentry expressed concerns about the council’s ability to manage the project within its budget.

     

    So assuming that Labour colleagues were incompetent in 2015 rather than lying to us - the cost of renovation then rose to £104 million. The estimate now is £160 million. Could be more, no-one knows, there is no transparency.

     

    Is this really £160 million of renovation? And paid back after 64 years? When today’s toddlers are picking up their pensions?

     

    Councillor McGlone, if you were on the board of a company and a project you said would cost £50 million ended up costing £160 million, you would be sacked immediately.

     

    Is this a good deal for residents? No. It’s the vanity of Labour councillors trumping common sense. There is no longer any sensible business case for this renovation.

     

    What penalties for the Labour councillors that got it wrong? Nothing.

     

    What penalties for council officers that messed up? Nothing.

     

    What incentives to get this kind of thing right in the future? None.

     

    Who has to pay the money back? Residents, of course.

     

    Locally, just like nationally, Labour cannot stop racking up debt. £150 million borrowed for the Shirley Oaks survivors, £300 million and more for Homes for Lambeth, plus this Town hall - that’s £610 million. Only in Labour-Lambeth is over half a billion of borrowing pushed under the carpet, so everyone can pretend later its somehow the Government’s fault when Labour councillors run out of money.

     

    Yet we know that Conservative-run Wandsworth is the 4th best place for disadvantaged children to grow up - the facts speak for themselves.

     

    And next month we will set out plans in our alternative budget to deal with the financial mess left by these Labour councillors - and a manifesto of hope for residents who have had tenancies taken away, homes and libraries destroyed or decrepit, their green spaces trashed, living on filthy streets - the communities and residents ignored by Labour.

     

    Because Labour councillors can’t stop leaseholders getting ripped off by the same kinds of contractors that built this Town Hall, then charged residents 320% more.

     

    The cost of this Town Hall is absolutely conclusive, unequivocal evidence that Lambeth Council under Labour has no control over spending resident’s money.”

     

    NB - The factual accuracy of this statement was subsequently contested by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Questions from Councillors pdf icon PDF 331 KB

    Minutes:

    1.    Councillor Louise Nathanson to the Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, Councillor Sonia Winifred.

     

    Supplementary Question

     

    Lambeth Conservatives do not want to cancel the Country Show, however we would like the administration to consider the financial responsibility of the show, as well as disruption for nearby residents and overuse of green spaces.

     

    Supplementary Answer

     

    Allowing residents to use our open spaces is part of our events strategy. The criticisms stated here are ignorant – we get a lot of revenue from the Country Show. In keeping with our processes, we have a robust events strategy and we also take into account our commitment to deliver sustainable and accessible events to the community. The events strategy works in line with our community health and wellbeing strategy. We engage, listen and act accordingly if events organisers do not adhere to our events strategy.

     

    2.    Councillor Scott Ainslie to the Cabinet Member for Healthier and Stronger Communities, Councillor Mohammed Seedat.

     

    Supplementary Question

     

    The Mayor’s Officer for Policing and Crime stated that a petition from Lambeth residents on police cuts was never presented to them – why not?

     

    Supplementary Answer

     

    This petition was submitted to the Mayor’s Office.

     

    3.    Councillor Wellbelove to the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Tim Briggs.

     

    Supplementary Question

     

    Is it true that no Conservative Councillor has taken their allocated spot on the Planning Committee? Is it true that Councillor Nathanson has never turned up to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee? Is it also true that there is one Conservative Councillor who has not even operated a surgery?

     

    Supplementary Answer

     

    I am not even a representative of Councillor Wellbelove’s ward, however I am there often because there are so many issues which Labour have not addressed. Councillor Wellbelove himself missed three Council meetings last year.

     

    4.    Councillor Saleha Jaffer to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment, Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite.

     

    Supplementary Question

     

    Streatham is a particularly bad area with regard to air pollution. We have seen action to address this from the Mayor of London and Lambeth Council, but what action have we seen from the Government?

    Supplementary Answer

     

    We have not seen much from the Government. Lambeth has, though, campaigned for the low-emission bus corridor. Since the introduction of the low-emission bus corridor on the A23, records show that levels of pollution have been lowered overnight. Air pollution causes 40,000 deaths every year – the Government is not acknowledging this and has to be dragged kicking and screaming to the courts. Their response has been a damp squid; we would like to see a proper clean air strategy from the Government. I would also like to see funding for clean air at a level which is useful for local authorities.

     

    5.    Councillor Jack Holborn to the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Tim Briggs.

     

    Supplementary Question

     

    I was pleased to hear at Corporate Committee that Councillor Briggs was satisfied with the measures to update fire risk assessments at Lambeth Properties. Councillor Briggs has, however, not answered my question as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Reports

8.a

Council Tax Support Scheme pdf icon PDF 297 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Opposition spoke on the item, and stated that whilst he broadly agreed with the changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme, the Conservative’s alternative budget would extend the five week run-on period to people who were on Universal Credit to two months, so that support was provided for a longer period before it fell away.

     

    Councillor Scott Ainslie also spoke on the item. Points raised included the following:

     

    ·         Government cuts had put the Council in a difficult position, but the situation was not so bad that even more money should be taken from the pockets of Lambeth’s poorest residents.

    ·         Over 5,500 local payments were facing potential recovery action, this would drive more residents into a downward spiral of unsustainable debt.

    ·         Camden had scrapped its Council Tax Recovery Scheme altogether.

    ·         Following action from residents, the Mayor of Hackney had also decided to scale back his reduction in Council Tax support. Lambeth should follow this example.

    ·         A Freedom of Information request had shown that 375 Lambeth households had been referred to bailiffs. Whilst this was explained for reasons of compliance, this would still cause people to fall into debt spirals.

    ·         The Child Action Poverty Group had also written to him to state that bailiff actions were completely unfair and kicking people whilst they were down.

     

    The Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance and Resources) also spoke on the item. Points raised included the following:

     

    ·         30,000 people in Lambeth receive Council Tax Support and for them it is a lifeline.

    ·         Many of the most vulnerable would still receive complete protection from Council Tax, and this would not change under the new scheme, however the cuts from central Government meant that the scheme costs the Council £5m more than it did when it started and those costs rise every year.

    ·         Changes had been made so support would go to those who needed it most.

    ·         Capital cut-offs had been reduced, and backdating of support had been altered.

    ·         The Council would soon have faced a total of £0.25bn in cuts, and these could not be addressed entirely by efficiency savings.

    ·         £400,000 had been put aside for a discretionary fund to help local residents in need.

    ·         The financial resilience team also worked to ensure that no residents slipped through the net.

    ·         Nobody in receipt of Council Tax Support would receive a visit form a bailiff.

     

     

9.

Motions pdf icon PDF 216 KB

    Minutes:

    The first motion was from the Conservative Group, on Social Mobility in Labour-Lambeth and Conservative-run Wandsworth. Councillor Louise Nathanson opened the debate. Speakers were as follows:

     

    ·         Councillor Diane Morris.

    ·         Councillor Sally Prentice.

    ·         Councillor Lib Peck.

    ·         Councillor Scott Ainslie.

     

    Councillor Tim Briggs closed the debate.  

     

    The second motion was from the Labour Group on Universal Credit. Councillor Paul McGlone opened the debate. Speakers were as follows:

     

    ·         Councillor Tim Briggs.

    ·         Councillor Scott Ainslie.

    ·         Councillor Anna Birley.

    ·         Councillor Christopher Wellbelove.

     

    Councillor Luke Murphy closed the debate.

10.

Voting

    Minutes:

    Report – Council Tax Support

     

    Voting on the report was as follows:

     

    For: 50

    Against: 3

    Abstain: 1

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    (1)          To adopt the following amendments to the Council Tax Support scheme for 2018/19;

    a.    Increase the baseline reduction from 15.86.% to 20%

    b.    Make the baseline reduction from liability instead of entitlement

    c.    Reduce backdating to 13 weeks from 26 weeks

    d.    Reduce the capital cut off from £16,000 to £10,000

    e.    Introduce non dependent deductions in respect of all non dependents currently exempted from these deductions

    f.     To introduce a discretionary Council Tax Support Hardship scheme to help mitigate the potential impact of the amendments in (1) and therefore ensure those who cannot pay can receive extra help.

     

    Motions

     

    Motion 1: Conservatives

     

    Social Mobility in Labour-Lambeth and Conservative-run Wandsworth

     

    Amendment 1: Labour – Forwarded by Councillor Peck

     

    For: 51

    Against: 2

    Abstention: 1

     

    The Labour amendment was CARRIED.

     

    Substantive motion as amended by Labour:

     

    For: 51

    Against: 2

    Abstention: 1

     

    The motion was CARRIED and Council RESOLVED:

     

    The Council notes that Lambeth is the 17th best place in the country out of 324 local authorities (and next-door Conservative-run Wandsworth is now the 4th best place in the country) for disadvantaged children to do well in life, according to the Government’s Social Mobility Commission.

     

    Council notes that 17 out of the top 20 boroughs in the country are inner London boroughs, attributed by the Commission to the economic strength of the capital and the success of schools in London.

    Given Lambeth Council's Borough Plan principles of ‘inclusive growth’, ‘reducing inequality’, and ‘strong and sustainable neighbourhoods’. Council welcomes the success of Lambeth, and of other London boroughs, for major strides made in social mobility that are specifically identified in the report, in particular:

     

    ·         The need for genuinely affordable housing, with Lambeth Council building 1,000 new homes at council rent and exceeding our affordable housing target by driving a hard bargain with developers - unlike Wandsworth Tories who allowed the Battersea Power Station developer to cut 250 affordable homes.  

    ·         96% of Lambeth secondary schools, and 94% of secondary schools in Wandsworth, are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, helping children from lower income families achieve more

    ·         The payment of the London Living Wage, with the report calling on local authorities like Wandsworth to follow Lambeth’s lead as one of the first local authorities to “become an accredited living wage employer and to encourage others in the community to do likewise.”

    ·         The importance of early year’s investment, where Lambeth has invested heavily in our network of children’s centres (of which we have one of the largest networks of any London borough) and why we’re proud to be one of the only five areas in the country to be awarded funding from the Big Lottery Fund Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) to support children in the most deprived wards

    Council praises the work of Social Mobility Commission and expresses its dismay that since the publication of the report, the entire Commission, including a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.