Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Tuesday, 25 February 2020 6.30 p.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal

Contact: Inge Booth 

Items
No. Item

C/62

Minutes pdf icon PDF 321 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 17 December 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 17 December 2019.

C/63

Public Participation

Any member of the public who wishes to ask a question, make representations or present a deputation or petition at this meeting should apply to do so by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the meeting.  Information on how to make the application can be obtained by viewing the Council’s Website www.southlakeland.gov.uk or by contacting the Committee Services Team on 01539 733333.

 

(1)        Questions and Representations

 

            To receive any questions or representations which have been received from members of the public.

 

(2)        Deputations and Petitions

 

            To receive any deputations or petitions which have been received from members of the public.

Minutes:

Mr Ian Kell addressed Council with regard to Agenda Item No.6 – Report from the Independent Remuneration Panel for 2020/2021 - which contained the Panel’s recommendations for Members’ Allowances with effect from 1 April 2020.

 

Mr Kell drew attention to the sensitive nature of the decision which, he said, demanded openness and the utmost public scrutiny by representative tax payers.  He questioned the validity of membership of the Independent Remuneration Panel.  He believed that membership of the Panel was systematically gerrymandered and that, by denying public access to the minutes of the Panel, the Council was preventing true public scrutiny.  He referred to correspondence between himself and the Leader of the Council which had resulted in Mr Kell substantiating his claims in an open letter to the Leader, the Chief Executive and Tim Farron, Member of Parliament, to which no reply had been received.  Mr Kell summarised his evidence of gerrymandering of recruitment to and membership of the Independent Remuneration Panel.

 

Mr Kell believed that a former Monitoring Officer had, a few years ago, made some headway in the process of recruitment to the Independent Remuneration Panel, however, felt that the malpractices outlined by him this evening and in his correspondence of June last year had escaped scrutiny at that time or had developed since.  Mr Kell suggested that it was time for a further review of the process.

C/64

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda and to note the dispensations granted to Members by the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Independent Person, for a period of four years.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the following declarations of notice and dispensations be noted:-

 

(1)        dispensations provided by the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) and the Independent Member under Part 3 of the Council’s Constitution, Responsibility for Council Functions, paragraphs 2.7 and 4.12, for a four year period, relating to Agenda Item Nos. 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

 

(2)        that all Members of the Planning Committee have reserved their positions in relation to the consideration of the planning merits of the Grange-over-Sands Lido planning application and that the decisions to be made at this meeting relate only to the budget allocation; and

 

(3)        that the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) declared a personal interest in Agenda Item No.7 as a Trustee of the War Widows’ Association which forms an exempt group under the proposed Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

C/65

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there are no excluded items on the Agenda.

C/66

Chairman's Announcements

To receive announcements by the Chairman.

Minutes:

The Chairman referred Members to his list of engagements attended since the last meeting which had been circulated at the commencement of the meeting.  He drew attention to the one engagement which had been attended on his behalf by Councillor Robin Ashcroft.  This had been a visit to the Lake District Holocaust Project on 27 January 2020, and the Chairman raised the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day.

C/67

Report from the Independent Remuneration Panel for 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To consider the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Members’ Allowances with effect from 1 April 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs Sally Parnaby, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), was invited to present the Panel’s report to Council. The report recommended an increase (in line with the 2020/21 public sector pay award) up to a maximum of 2% on the Basic Allowance for 2020/21 to bring it up to £4,201.14 per annum.

 

The IRP had also recommended the following:-

 

·         no amendments to current Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs);

·         the introduction of an additional SRA of £250 per annum to Members of the Planning Committee in recognition of the additional workload and training involved, site visits and the impact/complexity of matters addressed and decided upon by the Committee;

·         other than the Group Leaders’ Allowance, Members should receive no more than one SRA;

·         out of County Mileage Allowance to remain as part of the single travel allowance scheme as per the previous year;

·         travel expenses to be in accordance with the maximum rates set by HMRC without attracting a tax charge (currently 45p per mile), this to apply to the first 150 miles of a return journey regardless of the destination and 25p per mile thereafter;

·         subsistence expenses to increase by RPI as at 1st April 2020;

·         no change to Childcare/Dependant Carers’ Allowance. Payments to remain at a maximum allowance of £15 per hour.  The Allowance to be paid from the time the recipient leaves home to time of return; and

·         co-optees’ Allowance be increased by up to a maximum of 2% to bring it up to £39.15 per meeting.

 

In presenting the report, Mrs Parnaby thanked those Members and officers who had provided valuable input, apologising for those names which had been omitted from the report in error.  She drew particular attention to two of the recommendations, firstly explaining the Panel’s practice when recommending an increase in the Basic Allowance to be mindful of the public sector pay award.  She advised, however, that discussions had not yet concluded in this regard, nevertheless that the recommendation was for an increase, in line with the public sector 2020 pay award up to a maximum of 2%.  Secondly, Mrs Parnaby referred to the recommendation for the introduction of a SRA of £250 per annum for Members of the Planning Committee not already in receipt of a SRA.  She explained that this was due to significant evidence which had highlighted the complex nature of the work carried out, the commitment required, the number of meetings and their duration, site visits and additional specialist training.  Mrs Parnaby next referred to the three-Member ward system which had come into effect from May 2018 and to the resulting impact on the role of councillors.  She informed Council that the Panel would be reviewing travel expenses in next year’s work programme, however, explained that the issue of the three-Member ward system did not fall within the remit of the Panel.  Mrs Parnaby closed, informing Members that one of the Panel’s actions for next year would be to look at streamlining the process, whilst not detracting  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/67

C/68

Corporate Financial Update Quarter 3, 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 263 KB

To note the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 3 2019/20 and to consider a budget virement request.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, Councillor Andrew Jarvis, presented the third quarter financial monitoring report of 2019/20.  The report provided the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 3 and officers’ planned actions to ensure a balanced budget by the end of the financial year.

 

As a result of the new leadership structure from April 2019, the Finance Team had split and re-allocated the budgets approved in February 2019 to the new Operational Leads and Lead Specialists.  This was a moving situation, and the budgets reflected the current position of services, which had changed from Quarter 1.

 

The report and appendices included details relating to the revenue budget, capital expenditure, collection of Council Tax and business rates and the Council’s current position with regard to debt collection.

 

Appendix 1 set out the revenue variances to date.  The approved net revenue budget for 2019/20 set by Council in February 2019 had been £14m, which had included a Customer Connect savings target of £740,000 and a vacancy factor savings target of £593,000.  Additionally, carry forward requests of £510,000 had been approved by Cabinet on 24 April 2019.  Expenditure budgets had been increased in accordance with those approved carry forwards along with the matching funding from reserves.  Overall, at the end of Quarter 3, budget monitoring had identified a forecast year-end underspend of £15,000.  Trends identified in these budget monitoring results had been fed into the 2020/21 budget setting process.

 

Appendix 2 set out the position on the Capital Programme. The capital budget for 2019/20 approved by Council in November 2019 had been £6.988m.  Table 4 in the report summarised requests to update the Capital Programme totalling £140,500 as a result of additional external funding for several schemes.  Expenditure against the Programme to the end of Quarter 3 had been £3.206m.

 

Appendix 3 provided an update on Treasury Management for the quarter.  Investments had performed better than the relevant benchmarks.  No repayment of existing borrowing or new borrowing was anticipated up to the end of the financial year.

 

As part of Phase 1 of the Customer Connect Programme, there were a number of transition costs resulting in a projected overspend in service budgets.  Following appointments to Phase 2, the redundancy cost budget had been underspent, and it had been agreed with the Customer Connect Board and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder to use £213,540 (as identified in Period 7 monitoring) of this to cover the Phase 1 transition costs.  Whilst still being used to cover staff costs related to Customer Connect, due to the use not being exactly as initially indicated, it was felt appropriate, for transparency and completeness, to also seek approval from Council, as the amount was over the £100,000 limit identified in the Financial Procedure Rules.  Cabinet, at its meeting on 5 February 2020, had given consideration to the report and had recommended that Council confirm agreement in this regard.

 

Councillor Jarvis, in closing, said that the report highlighted that this Council was  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/68

C/69

Review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To consider whether the current Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme is the most appropriate for this Council for the financial year commencing 1 April 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Note – Linda Fisher, Legal Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) declared a personal interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that she was a Trustee of the War Widows Association.  She remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item, although with no voting rights as an officer of the Council.

 

On 1 April 2013, the national Council Tax Benefit Scheme had been abolished and replaced with a locally-determined scheme known as the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.  South Lakeland District Council had introduced a scheme that mirrored the previous national scheme, which meant that nobody was worse off under the Local Scheme and that the most vulnerable people in the District were protected from any reductions in support.

 

Councillor Andrew Jarvis, Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, presented a detailed report, informing Members that the Local Government Finance Act 2012 (as amended) required Local Authorities to approve their Council Tax Reduction Scheme on an Annual Basis by the 11 March for the following financial year.

 

After considering options for change, including the additional income, costs and risks associated with any changes, it was expected that the current Scheme would continue unchanged for the financial year 2020/21.  This was with the exception of applying the annual upratings and other minor income and capital disregards.

 

Attention was drawn to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Prescribed Requirements) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which had come into force on 11 February 2020 and to minor amendments contained therein.  Equalities impacts had been outlined within the report. 

 

The report had been considered and recommended to Council for approval by Cabinet at its meeting on 5 February 2020.

 

Councillor Jarvis informed Members that it was expected that a review of South Lakeland’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme was due to be undertaken in the forthcoming year to assess the impacts on the Scheme of the roll-out of Universal Credit.  He pointed out that the overall cost of the scheme for the South Lakeland area was approximately £5m, split between this Council, Cumbria County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner, stressing the fact that this was not something that the Council had to do, but chose to.  He expressed pride with regard to cross party support of this measure to help protect the poorest and most vulnerable residents in the District.

 

Councillor Jarvis moved the recommendations contained within the report, adding that the Revised HB Circular referred to at recommendation (1)(b) had been issued on 5 January 2020.  He was seconded by Councillor Suzie Pye, Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder, who was also proud to be associated with an authority which went beyond its statutory obligation when it came to helping the most vulnerable in society, alleviating poverty and tackling inequality in South Lakeland.  The Council remained one of only 36 authorities to offer a fully-funded Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age claimants – this was not cheap, however, Councillor Pye felt it to  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/69

C/70

2020/21 to 2024/25 Budget pdf icon PDF 353 KB

Note – In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the consequential change to the Council’s Rules of Procedure, this item will automatically be subject to a recorded vote in respect of the adoption of the Budget and on any amendments proposed at the meeting.

 

To consider the recommendations from Cabinet to determine the Council’s Budget for 2020/21 onwards, including fees and charges, the Capital Programme, the Pay Policy and the Chief Finance Officer’s Advice on the Robustness of Estimates and the Adequacy of Reserves.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Note – All Members of the Planning Committee reserved their positions in relation to consideration of the planning merits of the Grange-over-Sands Lido planning application, with the decision to be made under this item relating only to the budget allocation.  All remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, Councillor Andrew Jarvis, presented the report, which first drew attention to Appendix 1 which contained the Chief Finance Officer’s Advice on the Robustness of Estimates and the Adequacy of Reserves under the requirements of the Local Government Act 2003.  The report also contained the recommendations made by Cabinet on 5 February 2020 for Council to determine its 2020/21 to 2024/25 Five Year Budget, including fees and charges, the Capital Programme and the Pay Policy Statement.  A balanced budget for 2020/21 was presented, including an increase in the Band D Council Tax of 2%.  This meant that the Council would be in a position to deliver the priorities set out in the Council Plan within its resources.  The delivery of the Customer Connect Programme had substantially reduced future budget deficits.  A one-off local government finance settlement had delivered additional, one-off income in 2020/21.  Options still needed to be developed to mitigate the expected funding reductions from April 2020/21.

 

The report included a summary position of the latest Medium Term Financial Plan projections which provided a summary five year annual position of the overall surplus or deficit on the General Fund Revenue Budget. The assumptions and financial implications were kept constantly under review as circumstances changed. A summary of the known changes at this stage was provided at Table 1 of the report, with a more detailed analysis of expenditure and income set out in Sections 2 and 3 of the Draft Budget Book at Appendix 2 to the report, including a reconciliation of the latest projections compared to previous deficit projections in Section 2a of the Draft Budget Book.

 

The projections all included the full Customer Connect savings delivered to date.  In addition, the one-off local government finance settlement and deferment of the new funding model until at least April 2021 left the Council with substantial additional one-off income of around £2.7m for 2020/21, turning a projected budget deficit into a budget surplus.  The projected annual revenue surplus before contribution to General Reserve totalled £11,000 in 2020/21, but this was a one-year only surplus, with a projected deficit for £1m in 2021/22 rising to circa £2.6m by 2024/25.

 

Work was underway to resolve the projected deficits.  The future projections were based on information available at the time of preparation, along with the broad set of assumptions detailed in paragraph 3.9 of the report.  The assumptions, proposals and calculations included in the report and on the appendices attached thereto would be subject to change as more information from internal and external sources was provided and as options were refined and decisions taken.

 

The Council had a statutory duty to set a balanced budget.  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/70

C/71

Calculating and Setting the 2020/21 Council Tax pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Note – In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the consequential change to the Council’s Rules of Procedure, this item will automatically be subject to a recorded vote in respect of setting the Council Tax and on any amendments proposed at the meeting.

 

To consider a report to enable the Council to calculate and set the Council Tax for 2020/21.  At the time of printing the Agenda, formal confirmation of the precepts from Cumbria County Council and the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner are awaited and, if these differ from assumptions, revised figures will be issued as soon as possible.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Jarvis, Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, presented a report to enable the Council to calculate and set the Council Tax for 2020/21.

 

The precepts from Cumbria County Council and the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner had been confirmed, at the values previously proposed, on 14 and 19 February 2020 respectively.

 

As the billing authority, South Lakeland District Council was required to undertake a series of calculations in order to determine the Council Tax to be set for each parish within the District.  Once the Council Tax had been approved, Council Tax bills would be issued to each household in South Lakeland during March 2020 in accordance with the amounts set, subject to any reductions for discounts, exemptions or reliefs.

 

Councillor Jarvis drew attention to minor typographical errors contained within the report and appendix, namely that the recommendation on the report referred to Appendix A rather than Appendix 1; that the financial years referred to within the recommended resolutions contained in Appendix 1 at B2 and B3 should both read 2020/21; and that reference to “x” in the recommended resolution contained in Appendix 1 at G8 should read “3(f)”.  Councillor Jarvis proposed that the suggested Council Tax Resolution contained within Appendix 1 of the report be approved.  This was seconded by Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder.

 

In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the Council’s Rules of Procedure, a recorded vote was taken on the recommendations as follows:–

 

The following Members voted in favour (38) – Councillors Giles Archibald, Robin Ashcroft, Rupert Audland, Jonathan Brook, Helen Chaffey, Stephen Coleman, Michael Cornah, Tracy Coward, Philip Dixon, July Filmore, Alvin Finch, Gill Gardner, Anne Hall, Tom Harvey, Eamonn Hennessy, Hazel Hodgson, John Holmes, Kevin Holmes, Vicky Hughes, Anne Hutton, Helen Irving, Andrew Jarvis, Janette Jenkinson, Dyan Jones, Helen Ladhams, Malcolm Lamb, Kevin Lancaster, Susanne Long, Jon Owen, Suzie Pye, Doug Rathbone, Brian Rendell, Matt Severn, Peter Thornton, David Webster, Janet Willis, Mark Wilson and Shirley-Anne Wilson.

 

The following Members voted against (2) – Councillors Caroline Airey and James Airey.

 

The following Members abstained (3) – Councillors Ben Berry, Roger Bingham and Brian Cooper.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        it be noted that on 20 December 2019, under powers delegated under Paragraph 3.1 of Part 3 of the Council’s Constitution, the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) calculated the Council Tax Base for the financial year 2020/21 by means of an Administrative Decision:-

 

(a)        for the whole of the District as 45,712.13 (Item T in the formula in Section 31(B) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (”the Act”), as amended); and

 

(b)        for each part of the Council’s area:-

 

Aldingham

543.71

Lambrigg

44.99

Angerton

8.25

Levens

576.10

Arnside

1,164.41

Lindale and Newton in Cartmel

430.16

Barbon

134.47

Longsleddale

42.34

Beetham

891.00

Lower Allithwaite

900.61

Blawith & Subberthwaite

139.09

Lower Holker

717.33

Broughton East

151.79

Lowick

129.34

Broughton West

443.41

Lupton

87.53

Burton in Kendal

627.66

Mansergh

77.71

Cartmel Fell

251.39

Mansriggs  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/71

C/72

2020/21 Procurement Schedule pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To consider the Procurement Schedule for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, Councillor Andrew Jarvis, reported that, since April 2016, the Council’s Constitution had permitted officers to conduct and conclude the contracting processes without further approval, providing it was in line with the Procurement Schedule, to be approved by Council at least annually.  Where a procurement process was over budget, then approval would still be required in accordance with the Financial Procedure Rules.  Where an officer sought approval for a waiver or exemption under the Contract Procedure Rules, this was also included in the Procurement Schedule.

 

The Procurement Schedule for 2020/21 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  There were 109 procurement projects identified, which was considerably higher than the 77 procurement exercises originally approved for 2019/20.

 

The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 January 2020 and by Cabinet on 5 February 2020.  Cabinet had recommended the Procurement Schedule 2020/21 to Council for approval.

 

In presenting the report, Councillor Jarvis informed Members that the list would continue to evolve during the forthcoming year.

 

Councillor Jarvis undertook to provide a written response with regard to a query relating to the inclusion in the Procurement Schedule of the Enforcement and Collection Agency Service, with particular regard to the Council’s current arrangements and the need to ensure that bailiffs could not attend households during the hours of darkness.  With regard to another query around purchasing of refuse collection vehicles, as well as smaller fleet vehicles, and the need for the Council to look at electric vehicles, Councillor Jarvis was in agreement, as well as the need to look at other options, for example, hydrogen powered vehicles.  He explained that the specification for all such procurements included the potential for electric vehicles or other alternatives, and all tenders were assessed for environmental impact.  Trials to date had demonstrated that electric vehicles were not suitable for South Lakeland’s large and hilly area.  A hybrid vehicle was, however, currently being considered for use.  Councillor Dyan Jones, Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder, highlighted the need for care in moving forward too quickly in this regard.

 

Councillor Jarvis having moved approval of the Procurement Schedule for 2020/21, Councillor Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder seconded the motion, pointing out that the Scheduled demonstrated the ambitions and aspirations of the Council.

 

It was unanimously

 

RESOLVED – That the Procurement Schedule for 2020/21 attached at Appendix 1 to the report be approved.

C/73

Treasury Management and Capital Strategies pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To consider the Treasury Management Strategy and Capital Strategy for 2020/21 – 2024/25 and the authorised and operational borrowing limits.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Jarvis, Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, presented a report setting out the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/21 to 2024/25 and the Capital Strategy for 2020/21 – 2033/34. The Strategies had been updated to reflect the 2020/21 Budget and Capital Programme which had been considered earlier in the meeting.

 

The strategies fulfilled five key legislative requirements relating to the setting of prudential indicators, the Council’s Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy, the Treasury Management Strategy Statement, the Investment Strategy and the Capital Strategy, details of which were provided.

 

The Treasury Management Strategy was based on the proposed Capital Programme for 2020/21 – 2024/25 which had been considered at Minute C/70 above.

 

The Capital Strategy included potential capital expenditure not currently in the proposed Programme and arising from the review of Council Assets in 2018/19, adjusted for any proposal brought as part of the 2020/21 Capital Programme.  The resulting indicators in the Capital Strategy were, therefore, higher as it included potential expenditure and borrowing which might not arise, depending on future decisions around service delivery.  For example, the 2020/21 Capital Programme included a programme of works to the shopping centre car park which would extend its life beyond the Capital Strategy timeframe.  This had resulted in £12m of spend for 2029-30 – 2033/34 being removed from the longer term Programme.  The Capital Strategy would assist in ensuring that the Council had funds available in the future to meet future opportunities which might arise.  It also considered organisational issues, including how the Capital Programme would be prioritised and considerations, including capacity to deliver.

 

The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 January 2020.  It had also been considered by Cabinet on 5 February 2020 when the strategies and authorised borrowing limits had been recommended to Council for approval.

 

Councillor Jarvis commended the Treasury Management Strategy which he felt to be prudent and professional whilst allowing the Council to deliver above benchmark returns, generating year-on year income that supported its revenue budget.  He hoped that publication of the Capital Strategy in such detail improved the transparency of the Council.  He moved the recommendations contained within the report and was seconded by Councillor Mark Wilson.

 

During discussion, it was raised that, due to the large amount of complex terms and details, briefing sessions might be provided for councillors on how the Finance Team managed risks and investments, and Councillor Jarvis welcomed the suggestion.  Attention was drawn to the decision made by Central Government to increase the Public Works Loans Board premium by 1% and the detrimental impact on prudent councils.  Councillor Jarvis acknowledged the increase in premium which made some projects less viable, some of which were to provide social rather than financial benefits, and hoped no further pressure would be placed on those prudent councils who wished to invest for the benefit of residents.

 

The appropriateness of investment in property was raised and it was observed that what was suitable for pension authorities was not always appropriate  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/73

C/74

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.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Giles Archibald, addressed Council with regard to the Covid 19 Virus.  He referred to the stock market’s dramatic reaction and to the need for all to be alert to the danger posed by the virus.  Officers had circulated advice to Members earlier in the afternoon.  Councillor Archibald referred to planning being carried out behind the scenes and advised Council that he had asked Councillor Suzie Pye, Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder, to actively engage with appropriate organisations such as the County Council, the Police and the hospital, so that the District Council could fully understand the repercussions and its role.  Members needed reassurance that all reasonable measures were being put in place.  In addition, Councillor Archibald informed Members that he had asked the Chief Executive to ensure that everything possible was done to ensure that the Council’s buildings were kept virus-free and that every precaution was taken.  He suggested that all political party leaders and Shadow Cabinet be kept informed on a confidential basis and advised that Councillor Pye would arrange meetings as required.  Councillor Archibald welcomed input across the Chamber and advised that all Members would be kept up-to-date on this serious matter by email.

 

Councillor Archibald gave a brief summary of discussions which had taken place over the last three weeks relative to devolution.

 

Councillor Archibald prefaced his remarks by saying how much he welcomed the Government’s determination to level up the north, and give it more focus.  He stated that he looked forward to everyone working together to achieve that goal.

 

About three weeks ago, Councillor Archibald had been asked to attend a meeting with the other Cumbrian district leaders, the Leader of the County Council and Jake Berry, the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse.  The announced purpose of this meeting had been to discuss devolution.

 

Prior to that meeting, the six district leaders and chief executives had got together to discuss their common understanding of the possible options for devolution, and to see whether they could coalesce around an agreed set of talking points.   In this pre-meeting, there had been several fundamental understandings:-

 

(1)        a combined authority with some sort of mayor would be needed for devolution;

(2)        functioning economic areas would be the basis for mayoral authorities;

(3)        should the wish be to consider reorganisation, new unitaries would have to contain over 300,000 people; and

(4)        reorganisation under current regulation required consent of all parties.

 

Councillor Archibald also added that, in his mind, there was an underlying assumption that Government would deliver on its promise to fix the social care crisis as the Prime Minister had promised that, “we will fix social care with a clear plan that we have prepared.”

 

District leaders had quickly come to an agreement that they would be very willing to talk about devolution and to listen to what might be on offer for their residents.  They had also agreed that, ideally, the area should be greater than Cumbria and  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/74

C/75

Minutes of Meetings

To receive Chairmen’s comments (if any notified) in respect of the minutes of the Committee meetings held between 4 November 2019 and 10 January 2020.

Minutes:

No comments or questions had been received in respect of the minutes of committee meetings held between 4 November 2019 and 10 January 2020.

C/76

Questions to Chairman of the Council or Chairman of any Committee or Sub-Committee

To deal with any questions under Rule 10.6 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, of which due notice has been given and/or the Chairman allows as a matter of urgent business and which are in relation to any matter over which the Council has powers or duties or which affect the area.

Minutes:

No questions had been received under this item.

C/77

Urgent Decisions

In accordance with Paragraph 17.3 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules, to receive details of any urgent Executive Decisions, if any, taken since the last scheduled meeting of Council on 17 December 2019.

Minutes:

No urgent Executive Decisions had been taken since that last meeting of the Council on 17 December 2019.

Appendix 1 pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Appendix 2 pdf icon PDF 253 KB