Agenda item

Notice of Motion

The following Notice of Motion has been given in accordance with Paragraph 11.1 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure:-

 

“The Council notes:

 

The increase in child poverty in this District over the past four years, from 14% to 15.9% (measured after housing costs).

 

The increasing use of food banks in the country, as evidenced by the Trussel Trust figures, showing an annual 13% increase in usage, and Kendal’s Kings Food Bank showing a 16% increase.

 

The current freeze on Benefits and the rollout of Universal Credit are partly to blame for these increases.

 

Council calls on the government:

 

To review its welfare strategy with a view to providing more support for the most vulnerable in our society.

 

To take urgent steps to address this appalling trend and to reinstate ambitious targets for lowering child poverty.

 

To take urgent action to help those who are most affected by poverty.

 

In addition, Council asks:

 

That the Chair of the Council write to the Local Government Minister expressing our dismay at these trends and seeking his support in requesting additional funds be provided to Local Authorities by Central Government to help those most disadvantaged.”

 

(signed by Councillor Philip Dixon)

 

Minutes:

In accordance with Paragraph 11.1 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, the following notice of motion had been put to Council by Councillor Philip Dixon, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder:-

 

“The Council notes:

 

The increase in child poverty in this District over the past four years, from 14% to 15.9% (measured after housing costs).

 

The increasing use of food banks in the country, as evidenced by the Trussel Trust figures, showing an annual 13% increase in usage, and Kendal’s Kings Food Bank showing a 16% increase.

 

The current freeze on Benefits and the rollout of Universal Credit are partly to blame for these increases.

 

Council calls on the government:

 

To review its welfare strategy with a view to providing more support for the most vulnerable in our society.

 

To take urgent steps to address this appalling trend and to reinstate ambitious targets for lowering child poverty.

 

To take urgent action to help those who are most affected by poverty.

 

In addition, Council asks:

 

That the Chair of the Council write to the Local Government Minister expressing our dismay at these trends and seeking his support in requesting additional funds be provided to Local Authorities by Central Government to help those most disadvantaged.”

 

In presenting the motion, Councillor Dixon referred to the fact that, although the national economy of the United Kingdom was the fifth largest in the world, there existed nevertheless the issue of poverty.  Councillor Dixon felt strongly that the Government could do more to address the situation.  He informed Members that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation had estimated that, in 2017, there had been four million children living in poverty, and these figures were increasing.  In South Lakeland in the past seven months, Council officers had dealt with 78 families at risk of homelessness.  In April 2018, 85 families had already been on the list of those being assisted and since then, 55 families had been accommodated in Town View Fields Hostel, with 31 families had been living in bed and breakfasts.  On average, people were living in Town View Fields for an average of 20 weeks.  Councillor Dixon stressed the fact that these figures related purely to Kendal, one of the most affluent areas.  Councillor Dixon also spoke about food banks and pointed out that attendance at Kings Food Bank had increased.  Approximately 1,800 meals had been provided in October 2018.  Councillor Dixon expressed the opinion that current Government policies picked off the poor and weak and encouraged Members to support the motion, which was seconded by Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder.

 

Councillor Ben Berry drew attention to his suggestion earlier in the meeting to direct the increase of 2% in the basic allowance for Members for 2019/20 to assist in the fight against poverty in South Lakeland and to the fact that this proposal had not been accepted.

 

Councillors Mark Wilson, Vicky Hughes, Matt Severn, and Dyan Jones, expressed support for the motion.  They spoke passionately on the subject of poverty and raised strong concerns on issues such as children being unable to take part in all areas of the school curriculum, the need for support for those facing the stresses of redundancy, the need for authorities to support children’s centres, cuts in benefits and cuts to social services.

 

Councillor Archibald as seconder of the motion emphasised the unacceptability of living in such a society and the fact that something was seriously wrong in this country.  He hoped that Members would join in condemning this current regime which was punitive and causing hardship.

 

A request having been received from the requisite number of Councillors, the following vote on the motion was recorded:-

 

The following Members voted in favour (26) – Councillors Giles Archibald, Robin Ashcroft, Rupert Audland, Jonathan Brook, Stephen Coleman, Tracy Coward, Philip Dixon, Alvin Finch, Eamonn Hennessy, Hazel Hodgson, Vicky Hughes, Anne Hutton, Andrew Jarvis, Dyan Jones, Dave Khan, Helen Ladhams, Pete McSweeney, Ian Mitchell, Eric Morrell, Jon Owen, Doug Rathbone, Vivienne Rees, Matt Severn, Graham Vincent, Mark Wilson and Shirley-Anne Wilson.

 

The following Member voted against (1) – Councillor Kevin Lancaster.

 

The following Members abstained (12) – Councillors James Airey, Pat Bell, Ben Berry, Matt Brereton, Andrew Butcher, Sheila Capstick, Brian Cooper, Anne Hall, Tom Harvey, John Holmes, Kevin Holmes and David Williams.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the Council notes:-

 

(a)        the increase in child poverty in this District over the past four years, from 14% to 15.9% (measured after housing costs);

 

(b)        the increasing use of food banks in the country, as evidenced by the Trussel Trust figures, showing an annual 13% increase in usage, and Kendal’s Kings Food Bank showing a 16% increase; and

 

(c)        the current freeze on Benefits and the rollout of Universal Credit are partly to blame for these increases;

 

(2)        Council calls on the Government:-

 

(a)        to review its welfare strategy with a view to providing more support for the most vulnerable in our society;

 

(b)        to take urgent steps to address this appalling trend and to reinstate ambitious targets for lowering child poverty; and

 

(c)        to take urgent action to help those who are most affected by poverty; and

 

(3)        in addition, Council asks that the Chair of the Council write to the Local Government Minister expressing its dismay at these trends and seeking his support in requesting additional funds be provided to Local Authorities by Central Government to help those most disadvantaged.