Agenda item

Notices of Motion

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

 

“South Lakeland District Council

 

(i) acknowledges the efforts that this council has made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote renewable energy particularly in its economic plans for South Lakeland in partnership with Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Cumbria Action For Sustainability (CAfS) and more recently Kendal Citizens’ Jury which is tasked with writing recommendations which will combat the effects of Climate Change;

 

(ii) further recognises

 

           that very large financial setup and running costs involved in selling locally generated renewable electricity to local customers result in it being nearly impossible for local renewable electricity generators to do so,

           that making these financial costs proportionate to the scale of a renewable electricity supplier’s operation would enable and empower new local businesses in South Lakes, or councils such as the existing Cumbria County Council or any successors, to be providers of locally generated renewable electricity directly to local customers, and

           that revenues received by new local renewable electricity providers could be used to help improve the local economy, local services and facilities and to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions;

 

(iii) accordingly resolves to support the Local Electricity Bill, supported by 201 MPs which, if made law, would establish a Right to Local Supply which would promote local renewable electricity supply companies and co-operatives by making the setup and running costs of selling renewable electricity to local customers proportionate to the size of the supply operation; and

 

(iv) further resolves to

 

           inform the local media of this decision, and

           write to local MPs (both of whom have pledged support for the Bill) to indicate SLDC support for the Bill and write to the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, Power for People, (at 8 Delancey Passage, Camden, London NW1 7NN or info@powerforpeole.org.uk) expressing its support.”

 

(signed by Councillor Judy Filmore)

 

“I move that our Council pass a motion declaring a Poverty Emergency, and explore the feasibility of setting up a Poverty Truth Commission, working closely with our Morecambe Bay partners. This will aid our aim of tackling the root causes of poverty and inequalities, which is critical to the success of our Council Plan.”

 

(signed by Councillor Suzie Pye)

Minutes:

In accordance with Paragraph 11.1 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, two notices of motion had been put to Council.

 

The first notice of motion had been put by Councillor Judy Filmore:-

 

“South Lakeland District Council

 

(i) acknowledges the efforts that this council has made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote renewable energy particularly in its economic plans for South Lakeland in partnership with Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Cumbria Action For Sustainability (CAfS) and more recently Kendal Citizens’ Jury which is tasked with writing recommendations which will combat the effects of Climate Change;

 

(ii) further recognises

 

           that very large financial setup and running costs involved in selling locally generated renewable electricity to local customers result in it being nearly impossible for local renewable electricity generators to do so,

           that making these financial costs proportionate to the scale of a renewable electricity supplier’s operation would enable and empower new local businesses in South Lakes, or councils such as the existing Cumbria County Council or any successors, to be providers of locally generated renewable electricity directly to local customers, and

           that revenues received by new local renewable electricity providers could be used to help improve the local economy, local services and facilities and to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions;

 

(iii) accordingly resolves to support the Local Electricity Bill, supported by 201 MPs which, if made law, would establish a Right to Local Supply which would promote local renewable electricity supply companies and co-operatives by making the setup and running costs of selling renewable electricity to local customers proportionate to the size of the supply operation; and

 

(iv) further resolves to

 

           inform the local media of this decision, and

           write to local MPs (both of whom have pledged support for the Bill) to indicate SLDC support for the Bill and write to the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, Power for People, (at 8 Delancey Passage, Camden, London NW1 7NN or info@powerforpeole.org.uk) expressing its support.”

 

In moving the motion, Councillor Filmore informed Council that Community Renewable Energy generated less than 0.5% of the United Kingdom’s generating capacity; it’s potential was immense.  Councillor Filmore referred to all the money paid for electricity bills and the thought of that money instead going to local community owned utilities.  She further raised the potential for knock on benefits to the local economy: new jobs; resilience and recovery.  She pointed out that this Bill was about more clean local energy and helping stop climate change, whilst creating local economic strength and resilience.  Councillor Filmore believed that, the Bill, if made law, would transform the nation’s energy system and mean that the benefits of a nation-wide surge in clean community energy could be reaped.  She urged Council to support the Local Electricity Bill being heard in Parliament.

 

Councillor Dyan Jones, Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder, seconded the motion.  She stressed that local, renewable energy, accessible and affordable to communities in a manner that supported green regrowth, was the kind of vision endorsed by South Lakeland, which was surrounded by all the elements required to support clean, renewable energy: wind, hydro and solar.  Since the scrapping of the Government’s community energy strategy, community groups had struggled to maintain a reasonable and reliable business case.  Community energy access in low carbon form and the way distribution was licensed, she believed, needed simplifying to allow these schemes to have easier access to the market.

 

Members expressed support for the motion, raising the suitability of South Lakeland for water power and for the district to benefit from the natural resources around Morecambe Bay.  Attention also drawn the Prime Minister’s commitment earlier in the day to ensure that offshore wind would produce enough electricity to power every home in Britain by 2030 and to the fact that a number of significant windfarms already existed within the District.  Also raised was the desire for renewable energy for all new build homes as soon as possible.  It was felt that there had been far too much reliance on centralised power generation for far too long and that any move towards localised, decentralised generation was to be welcomed, particularly when from renewable resources.  It was further suggested that lessons could be learnt from Kendal’s twin town in Germany, Rinteln, which had a local energy producer.

 

It was subsequently

 

RESOLVED – That the motion be carried.

 

The second notice of motion had been put by Councillor Suzie Pye:-

 

“I move that our Council pass a motion declaring a Poverty Emergency, and explore the feasibility of setting up a Poverty Truth Commission, working closely with our Morecambe Bay partners. This will aid our aim of tackling the root causes of poverty and inequalities, which is critical to the success of our Council Plan.”

 

In moving the motion, Councillor Pye referred to how the current coronavirus pandemic had impacted South Lakeland which had been disproportionately hard hit in terms of furloughed workers due to its reliance on the tourism and hospitality sector.  There had been a surge in numbers of families relying on food banks and similar food provision in local communities.  42% of eligible jobs had been furloughed, with the job retention scheme due to end this month.  Councillor Pye explained that work would be carried out through the Building Financial Resilience group, in collaboration with partners such as the County Council, neighbouring district councils, the CCG and ICCs, the third sector, and the South Lakeland Community Resilience Group.  Consideration would be given firstly to how to respond to those who were experiencing a lived experience of poverty right now and secondly, to putting measures in place to stop those who were on the cusp of experiencing financial hardship from falling further.  Councillor Pye drew focus to the stigma which existed around poverty, which made it harder for people who need it, to access the help they needed and find a way out.  There was a need to create communities which were free of this stigma and shame, and where help given was without judgement.  She believed that, until this happened, the true extent of poverty in South Lakeland would remain, at least partially, hidden.  Councillor Pye raised the possibility of launching a South Lakeland Poverty Truth Commission as part of the Poverty Emergency.  She believed that this was a crucial part of the process.  She explained that Poverty Truth Commissions created open dialogue between two groups of people: those who understood poverty by living it and those who knew it from a governmental, civic or statutory point of view.  The ‘Commission’ itself would facilitate meaningful, hopefully transformative, listening and learning between those two groups.  Councillor Pye informed Members that she would be happy to expand on how the Poverty Truth Commission might look at a later date, but in the meantime, a couple of useful references were the Morecambe Bay PVT, and the West Cheshire PVT.

 

Councillor Mark Wilson seconded the motion.

 

A lengthy discussion ensued.  The issue of child poverty was raised and the need to ensure that all children were given the opportunity to succeed, including the importance of empowering children through education.  Also suggested was a need for the extension of free meals during school holidays and reference made to a vast increase in the use of Kendal Food Bank over recent months.  Although poverty was a relative thing to some, it was real to others, and to many people now for the first time as a result of Covid-19.  There had been a vast increase in poverty as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, with people’s livelihoods and businesses falling apart, and people not being able to pay bills or rent and being faces with the possibility of eviction.  Attention was also drawn to the working poor who were unable to access benefits.  Poverty impacted on both physical and mental health and should not be dismissed as someone else’s problem.  It was felt that it was Members’ duty as Councillors to protect and help the most vulnerable in society and demonstrate a willingness by declaring a Poverty Emergency, as well as establishing a Poverty Truth Commission and promoting the same to other government tiers in Cumbria.  In order to be able to provide help, it was felt necessary to be able to first understand the root causes of poverty, working together with relevant charities and voluntary organisations.  It was indicated that whilst the Opposition Group were in support of the motion, it’s Members would have preferred for the cause to be examined before declaring a Poverty Emergency.

 

Councillor Mark Wilson stressed that poverty existed and was becoming worse and that now was the right time to pass a motion declaring a Poverty Emergency.  He drew attention to DEFRA grants being provided across South Lakeland and to the Fair Share Food Scheme in Ulverston and a grant of £9,000 to £11,000 to help deliver over 3,500 meals this year, on top of what was already being provided by Food Banks.  Councillor Wilson further stressed that he believed that first declaring a Poverty Emergency was the right way of going about addressing the problem, also reiterating the need to listen carefully to what was said by people in order to establish the root causes of poverty.

 

Note – In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Part 4, Rule 8 (Rules of Procedure), a motion to continue the meeting past 9.30 p.m. was moved by the Chairman, seconded by Councillor Jonathan Brook and, there being no dissent, was carried.

 

Councillor Pye thanked Members for their words of support and responded to a number of questions and points raised during the debate.  She directed Councillor Harvey to the Labour Market Statistics on poverty which provided the most up to date details and, in addition, drew attention to the Social Metrics Commission’s annual reports on poverty and to the Child Poverty Now website.  She explained that the problem with statistics on poverty was that people had already been affected by the time they were released, with those people on the cusp already having fallen.  Councillor Pye wished to place on record her thanks to Jemima Longcake from the Children’s Society for her contribution under Public Participation.  Councillor Pye undertook to contact her and, in response to the question as to what the declaration would means in terms of the area’s response to poverty, advised that it would be a combination of existing schemes and initiatives, as well as new thinking.  Councillor Pye agreed with Councillor Jenkinson that the root causes were key to understanding poverty and that this was what the Truth Commission was about.  Councillor Pye referred to Councillor Hennessy’s comments, agreeing that it was the hidden, absolute poverty that she was most concerned with, which was why, she believed, it was vital to eradicate the stigma.  Councillor Pye agreed with Councillor Bingham that there would always be poverty in society, however, stressed the fact that there should not be people contemplating suicide as a result.

 

It was subsequently

 

RESOLVED – That the motion be carried.