Agenda item

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 former Conservative Cabinet Minister, have quit because of the complete loss of “hope of the current government making the progress…necessary to bring about a fairer Britain”.

 

Council shares the Commission’s lack of faith in the Conservative government and resolves to reaffirm our commitment to tackling inequality in all parts of our borough, as outlined in the work of the Lambeth Equality Commission.

 

Motion 2: Labour

 

Universal Credit

 

Amendment 1: Green – Forwarded by Councillor Scott Ainslie

 

For: 52

Against: 2

Abstain: 0

 

The amendment was CARRIED.

 

Substantive motion as amended by Councillor Scott Ainslie

 

For: 52

Against: 2

Abstain: 0

 

The motion was CARRIED and Council RESOLVED:

 

Council notes:

·         That the Labour administration in Lambeth and Labour councils across the country have campaigned against Tory government cuts to benefits since 2010.

·         That the full roll-out of Universal Credit Full Service began in December 2017, and will be completed across the borough in February for those residents who experience a change in circumstances.

·         That when fully implemented, the council estimates that the total number of affected residents is likely to be over 40,000.

·         That the roll-out is happening at the same time as the Government has decided to close the Job Centres in Brixton and Clapham.

Council further notes:

·         That Lambeth Council’s Welfare Rights Service identified significant flaws in the pilots of Universal Credit in parts of Lambeth that were published in its submission of evidence to the Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee in October 2017

·         That this included that residents had experienced months of delays when trying to claim Universal Credit and when trying to resolve issues with underpayments caused by poor assessments.

·         That residents have faced additional stress and financial problems, including significant rent arrears. 85% of tenants claiming Universal Credit were in arrears, while the figure for tenants who aren’t claiming Universal Credit is around 25% (reflecting similar increases seen in other parts of the country).

·         That the impact on resources from local advice services, charities and to local and health authorities has been considerable in terms of increased time trying to resolve the problems and increased pressure on services resulting from the detrimental impact on claimant's health. The services have also found increasing numbers of people presenting in crisis with no income to meet their essential needs.

·         That the Leader of the Council wrote to the Chancellor in November presenting this evidence and requesting a pause in the roll-out of Universal Credit – but has not received a response and the government has failed to act.

 

Council believes:

·         That while appreciating the principle of simplifying the benefits system to help claimants, the actual design of the current system and implementation of Universal credit has been a disaster.

·         That the purpose of piloting such a complex scheme should be to learn from the evidence and improve it, but the government has completely failed to listen to examples presented from across the country, including from Lambeth

·         That the government should pause the roll-out of universal credit until it has fixed the significant problems that are causing misery for thousands of people across the country

Council resolves to:

·         Provide comprehensive advice and support to those who have faced benefit delays or errors as a result of Universal Credit.

·         Ensure that no tenant is evicted and classed as 'intentionally homeless' due to rent arrears caused by Universal Credit errors.

 

Motion 3: Green

 

Single Use Plastics

 

Amendment 1: Labour

For: 51

Against: 2

Abstain: 1

 

The amendment was CARRIED.

 

Substantive motion as amended by Labour

 

For: 52

Against: 2

Abstain: 0

 

The amendment was CARRIED and Council RESOLVED:

 

Council notes that 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste pollutes the seas each year and that by 2050 the weight of plastic in the oceans is predicted to exceed that of fish, posing a risk to marine life and to human health.

 

It further notes that Single use plastic such as packaging makes up half the 300 million tons of plastic produced in the world. The introduction of a 5p bag charge has been effective in reducing single-use plastic (SUP).

 

Council resolves to play its part and commits to exploring:

 

·         making Lambeth Council a full signatory of the ‘Plastic Free Pledge’

·         becoming a ‘single-use-plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018, phasing out the purchase and procurement of SUPs through the Council’s supply chain;

·         ending the sale and provision of SUP products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in council buildings, and work with tenants and operators in commercial properties owned by Lambeth Council to do the same at meetings and events;

·         investigating the possibility of requiring pop-up food and drink vendors at council events to avoid SUPs as a condition of their contract;

·         encouraging the borough's businesses, organisations and residents to go ‘single-use-plastic-free’ working with best practice partners to explore the creation of a ‘plastic free network,’ providing business support, practical guidelines and advice to help local businesses transition from SUPs to sustainable alternatives. 

Council commits to exploring conditions relating to the use of SUPs on festival organisers using its parks and will actively encourage facilities' users, local businesses and other local public agencies to do the same.

 

Council welcomes the progress made in increasing recycling rates since 2014 and resolves to continue to monitor its progress to improve on recycling waste from buildings and parks and help residents and visitors to use alternatives, such as re-filling bottles from taps.

 

Motion 4: Labour

 

Ending harassment of women, residents and staff at health centres

 

Amendment 1: Conservative

 

For: 1

Against: 51

Abstain: 2

 

The amendment from Councillor Tim Briggs was NOT CARRIED.

 

Substantive motion

 

For: 52

Against: 1

Abstain: 1

 

The motion was CARRIED and Council RESOLVED:

 

This council notes:

·         That in recent years, regular demonstrations have taken place outside Lambeth’s three health clinics providing abortion services from Marie Stopes or BPAS in Waterloo, Brixton and Streatham.

·         These protests often involve graphic imagery and false medical information that many women seeking to access services at this site, as well as residents in the area and staff working at the clinics, have found intimidating and distressing.

This council believes:

·         That the right to protest and freedom of speech are important, and that there are strongly held views on both sides of the abortion debate.

·         But no woman should face intimidation when seeking support from clinics offering abortion services as laid out in the Abortion Act 1967.

·         That these protests are furthermore causing unwarranted distress to residents and staff working at these clinics.

This councils resolves:

·         To condemn the intimidation taking place at these sites, particularly those targeted at intimidating women seeking to use services at health clinics in Waterloo, Brixton and Streatham.

·         To call on Lambeth to urgently explore every possible option and will take all necessary actions within its powers to prevent anti-abortion protestors from intimidating and harassing women and staff, as well as causing distress to Lambeth residents.

·         To call on Lambeth to explore as part of its approach the implementation of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which can be used to ban protests within 100 metres of defined sites with fines of up to £1,000 if this area is breached.

 

Motion 5: Labour

 

Making Lambeth a greener, cleaner borough

 

Amendment 1: Conservative

 

For: 2

Against: 51

Abstain: 1

 

The amendment was NOT CARRIED.

 

Amendment 2: Green

 

For: 1

Against: 53

Abstain: 0

 

The amendment was NOT CARRIED.

 

Substantive motion

 

For: 51

Against: 2

Abstain: 1

 

The motion was CARRIED and Council RESOLVED:

 

This council notes the significant improvements implemented by the current Labour administration to make our borough a greener and cleaner place to live. This includes:

·         Successfully lobbying for the introduction of a new clean air bus corridor along the A23 route that will reduce pollution from Transport for London (TfL) buses by an estimated 84 per cent.

·         Improving cycling opportunities for residents by delivering more secure cycling storage spaces than any other borough, resurfacing 102 miles of public roads since 2014 and successfully lobbying for the installation of Santander bike docking stations this year in Brixton and Stockwell.

·         Working with TfL to create new Quietways and over ten miles of new quieter and safer cycling routes in the borough

·         Planting hundreds of trees across the borough, including those as part of the Our Streets programme in Streatham.

·         Introducing a borough-wide 20mph speed limit to make our roads safer

·         Introducing a tough new crackdown on anti-social behaviour crimes focused on keeping streets and estates free from fly tipping, littering and spitting which has seen more than 3,500 fines issued in 2017.

·         Bringing forward safety improvements to dangerous junctions in Vauxhall, Stockwell, Tulse Hill and on Streatham High Road.

·         Publishing an air quality action plan, committing us to deliver 59 specific actions to improve air quality in Lambeth

·         Increasing recycling and maintained weekly bin collections

·         Delivering a record 12 Green flags in Lambeth’s parks and open spaces

To continue these improvements, council resolves to:

·         Lobby the government to introduce a new Clean Air Act that develops a national approach to improving poor air quality throughout the country.

·         Ensure Ministers enshrine current EU air quality protections in UK law after Brexit.

·         Maintain pressure on the Secretary of State for Transport to honour his commitment to provide Lambeth with adequate funding to make further improvements to Lambeth’s roads to benefit cyclists, road users and pedestrians.

·         Lobby for the extension of Santander bike docking stations in the next four years further south into Lambeth.