Agenda item

Leader's Announcements and Cabinet Question Time (30 Minutes)

To receive announcements from the Leader and, in accordance with Paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, to deal with any questions to the Leader and/or Portfolio Holders on any topic which is within the jurisdiction or influence of the Council and is relevant to their Portfolio.  Any Member who poses a question will be entitled to ask one supplementary question on the same topic.


Members are encouraged to give 24 hours’ written notice of questions to the Solicitor to the Council of questions to be raised under the Agenda Item.  If no notice is received, then the Portfolio Holder can reserve the right to give a written answer.  Where written notice of questions has been given, these will be taken first.  Should a Member wish to ask more than one question, questions should be listed in order of priority.  If more than one Member sends in a question, these will be taken in alphabetical order of Members’ names, alternated from meeting to meeting.  Each question and each response is restricted to three minutes.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Giles Archibald, indicated that he had nothing further to add, having raised all necessary comments throughout the meeting.


In accordance with paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, the following written questions had been submitted to the meeting:-


From Councillor Anne Hutton to Councillor Philip Dixon, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder - I have become interested in the provision of food banks in South Lakeland and I wondered if Councillor Dixon could elaborate on the current need for such organisations, especially in the light of the further roll out of Universal Credit.


Councillor Dixon reported that the food banks in the District were extremely busy.  He wished to put on record thanks to the food banks and volunteers at the Methodist Church in Windermere, Kings Church in Kendal, Bethany Evangelical Church in Ulverston and that run from a private home in Grasmere.  He commended their charitable and sacrificial work.


From Councillor Doug Rathbone to Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder (in the absence of Councillor Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader and Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder) - How successful has the Council been, so far, against their ambitious target of helping to deliver 1,000 new affordable homes for rent by 2025?


Councillor Archibald reported that it was a keystone commitment of the Council to facilitate the building of affordable housing and, more particularly, affordable housing for rent.  Further to a suggestion by Councillor Peter Thornton, a target had been set for the creation of 1,000 new affordable homes for rent between 2014 and 2025.    Councillor Archibald thanked Councillor Thornton for his leadership and focus on this priority and was pleased to inform Members that the Council was on track to deliver 1,000, and was likely to exceed this figure.  460 affordable homes for rent had been delivered by the last quarter housing 460 families in decent homes with affordable rent.


From Councillor Matt Severn to Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder - After December’s debate, in which the Council resolved by 26 votes to 1, to write to the Secretary for Communities & Local Government expressing its dismay at rising child poverty and seeking his support in requesting additional funds be provided to Local Authorities by Central Government to help those most disadvantaged; has the Sec of State managed to reply yet?


Councillor Archibald reported that, as of the previous day, he had not received a response and suggested that he could send a reminder, again expressing concern with regard to increasing levels of poverty.  He stressed the need for engagement with Government at all tiers.


The written questions having been presented and answered, the following verbal questions were then taken from the floor:-


Councillor Chris Hogg asked Councillor Philip Dixon, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder, to provide an update on Applied Theatre in Cumbria.  Councillor Dixon explained that this was a partnership project whereby a small group of actors put on performances to be held in all schools in South Lakeland tackling the challenging issue of drugs.  He informed Members that the supply of drugs into South Lakeland from cities was a big problem.  The production sought to engage with young people in the District and make them aware of the issue.  Performances would be held in May 2019.


Councillor Kevin Lancaster referred to a recent visit by Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, and Philip Dixon, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder, to a meeting with Sedbergh Parish Council.  Concerns had been raised with regard to South Lakes Housing’s proposals for the garages on Castle Garth in Sedbergh.  Councillor Lancaster hoped that Councillor Archibald and Dixon had recognised the community’s support for affordable housing and the more suitable location suggested.  He hoped that they would inform Councillor Brook, Deputy Leader and Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder about the meeting and that the Council would work with the community of Sedbergh to achieve acceptable affordable housing.


Councillor Archibald responded, saying that the conversation with Councillor Brook had already taken place and commending the example of how the District Council and parish councils could work together.  Councillor Archibald further referred to a suggestion raised at the same meeting with regard to a pump track and also offered participation and assistance from the District Council in this regard.