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Agenda item

Motions on Notice

To consider the following Motions on Notice under Standing Order 22:

 

Motions submitted for consideration directly by Council, in accordance with Standing Order 22.1

 

(i)      From Cllr N Barnes

Council tax support scheme

 

“Council notes the inclusion of a review of York’s Council Tax Support scheme on the Executive Forward Plan, due for consideration on 26th November.

 

Council also notes the requirement to have any changes set by 31st January 2016, following a 12 week statutory consultation.  Scheduling this review with only 9 weeks before the deadline for agreed changes provides insufficient time for the Executive to make changes to the current scheme.

 

Council believes that the impact of the current scheme has resulted in hardship to some individuals beyond that envisaged when implemented, resulting in council tax arrears in York rising year on year.

 

Council also believes that some York residents have been unfairly impacted by the current scheme and that more should be done to alleviate the tax burden on the most vulnerable in our city.

 

Council requests that the Executive:

 

- Brings forward the Council Tax Support Scheme review paper to the October meeting of the Executive, to include a range of options, including one to consult on changes to the current scheme;

 

- requests that an option for consultation is prepared with the principle of reducing the council tax burden for those eligible for council tax support in mind;

 

- agrees a timetable that meets the 31st January deadline, should it agree to make changes to the scheme, in advance of the 2016-17 budget setting meeting in February."

(ii)     From Cllr Steward

Business Improvement District

 

“Council notes that:

·        the process of creating a Business Improvement District (“BID”) is currently progressing well in York.  This is a city-wide partnership initiative led primarily by local businesses, with the council as the accountable body, designed to enable coordinated investment in the management and marketing area of a defined commercial area within the City Centre.

·        the many benefits of a BID district are that: it creates a single source of funding to be spent in the area; it provides a business plan that focuses on improving the area, addressing anti social behaviour and other problems; it improves the resilience of the city centre to changes in the retail market and it will work towards improving a city centre that increases resident well being and presents an improved business offer.

·        the BID will be funded by contributions from businesses within the defined area with a rateable value above a threshold of £12,500, and it will be supported through the ballot process and the collection of the levy by the Council, the accountable body, with £25,000 paid to us from the BID in administration costs each year.

·        smaller businesses beneath the rateable value threshold will not be required to pay the levy, but will nevertheless benefit from the additional funding and still have a voice on spending decisions made within the BID area.

·        a ballot will get underway in October for businesses within the proposed BID area to vote on the establishment of the district.

·        if approved by local businesses, it is expected to generate over £800,000 per annum for the next five years, all to be reinvested into the city and in addition to any services provided by the local authority,  the base line for which the Council will determine in the near future.

Council therefore expresses its support for the establishment of the BID and encourages businesses within the proposed BID to make their vote ‘yes’.”

 

(iii)     From Cllr Waller

Tackling Climate Change

 

“Council notes:

 

·        The need for local, national and international action to tackle Climate Change.

 

·        The forthcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris which has as its objective a binding and universal agreement on steps to reduce greenhouse emissions.

 

·        The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union to the Conference is 40% by 2030.

 

·        Energy company Drax has abandoned a £1billion project to introduce ‘carbon capture’ technology at its plant in North Yorkshire after the government's decision to reduce subsidies for renewable energy.

 

·        Initial steps taken by the Joint Executive to make York the ‘Greenest City in the North’ including:

 

- The stated aim to increase the waste sent to recycling by 5,000 tonnes and increase recycling rates to over 50%.

 

- The reversal of plans to charge residents for their first Green Bin collection.

 

- The commitment in the Draft Council Plan to cut the council’s carbon emissions, re-establish a Green Jobs Task Group, and work towards plans for ‘One Planet Living’.

 

Council Resolves to:

 

Write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP, expressing concern over the developments at Drax and asking for a reversal of the decision to cut support for renewable energy, including the removal of the tax exemption for renewable power that is sold to industrial companies.

 

Work on a cross-party basis to ensure that policies are adopted which increase recycling, reduce carbon emissions, expand the use of renewable power generation, and support community energy projects.

 

Ensure that all decision papers produced include as standard an Environmental Sustainability Impact Assessment in order to make certain that environmental sustainability underpins everything we do as an authority.”

 

(iv)    From Cllr Myers

Trade Union Bill

 

“This Council notes that in February 2015 the United Nations agency the International Labour Organisation reaffirmed its belief that ‘without protecting a right to strike, Freedom of Association, in particular the right to organise activities for the purpose of promoting and protecting workers’ interests, cannot be fully realised’.

 

Council notes the Government’s Trade Union Bill, which would require that in order to vote for industrial action:

 

-       there is a turnout of over 50% of eligible members, in addition to a simple majority voting in favour;

-       for ‘important public services’ 40% of eligible members vote in favour (80% of those voting if turnout were 50%).

This Council further notes that the Trade Union Bill has been criticised by the International Labour Organisation and human rights organisations including Liberty, Amnesty International and the British Institute of Human Rights who argue it “would hamper people’s basic rights to protest and shift even more power from the employee to the employer”.

 

This Council believes that, when negotiation and mediation have failed, the right to strike and to protest are fundamental rights which should be respected in a free and democratic society.

 

Council continues to support engagement with its workforce through trade unions, where employees have democratically decided to be represented by a trade union.

 

This Council resolves to instruct the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, expressing its opposition to the Trade Union Bill.”

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

A       Motions submitted for consideration directly by Council, in accordance with Standing Order 22.1

 

(i)        Council tax support scheme

       (moved by Cllr N Barnes and seconded by Cllr Cannon)

“Council notes the inclusion of a review of York’s Council Tax Support scheme on the Executive Forward Plan, due for consideration on 26th November.

 

Council also notes the requirement to have any changes set by 31st January 2016, following a 12 week statutory consultation.  Scheduling this review with only 9 weeks before the deadline for agreed changes provides insufficient time for the Executive to make changes to the current scheme.

 

Council believes that the impact of the current scheme has resulted in hardship to some individuals beyond that envisaged when implemented, resulting in council tax arrears in York rising year on year.

 

Council also believes that some York residents have been unfairly impacted by the current scheme and that more should be done to alleviate the tax burden on the most vulnerable in our city.

 

Council requests that the Executive:

 

- Brings forward the Council Tax Support Scheme review paper to the October meeting of the Executive, to include a range of options, including one to consult on changes to the current scheme;

 

- requests that an option for consultation is prepared with the principle of reducing the council tax burden for those eligible for council tax support in mind;

 

- agrees a timetable that meets the 31st January deadline, should it agree to make changes to the scheme, in advance of the 2016-17 budget setting meeting in February."

 

 

An amendment was proposed by Councillor Aspden who also sought Council’s consent to alter the amendment with the removal of the two references to ‘including Cllr Barnes’, which was agreed.

 

Cllr Aspden’s amendment to now read as follows:

 

In the first paragraph, after Council notes, the addition of the following additional paragraphs

 

the current council tax support system was put in place by the previous Labour administration in 2013 despite the significant concerns raised by opposition councillors and residents.

 

Labour councillors ignored these local concerns by turning down a ‘Transitional Grant’ of nearly £250,000 from the Government and imposed a flat 30% charge on ‘working-age’ residents who previously received council tax benefit.

 

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that Labour’s scheme is amongst the “worst for claimants” nationally while York Citizens' Advice Bureau has reported a 65% rise in a year in the number of people seeking help due to council tax arrears.

 

The previous Labour Cabinet brought forward no plans to review their scheme despite concerns being raised consistently by organisations such as Advice York.

 

Council believes it was right for the current Executive to bring forward a review of Labour’s scheme and Executive Members should be congratulated for doing so”.

 

The deletion of the second sentence in the second paragraph, beginning ‘Scheduling..’ and insert ‘Executive is asked to review the Forward Plan to ensure this gives sufficient time if any changes are needed.’

 

The deletion of the third and fourth paragraphs and their replacement with

‘Council further notes that some, including Cllr Barnes, believe Labour’s scheme has resulted in hardship to some, resulting in council tax arrears in York rising year on year.

 

Some, including Cllr Barnes, believe York residents have been unfairly impacted by Labour’s scheme and more should be done to alleviate the tax burden on the most vulnerable in our city following Labour’s dismal record between 2011-2015.’

 

In the final paragraph the deletion of the first two points, following ‘Council requests that the Executive’ and the addition of the following

 

‘- continue with its review and bring forward a paper to the October meeting of the Executive, to cover a range of options including one to consult on changes to the current scheme.’

 

On being put to the vote the amendment, as altered, was declared CARRIED.

 

On being put to the vote, the original motion as amended, was then CARRIED and it was

 

Resolved:  That the original motion, as amended, be approved. 1.

 

 

(ii)     Business Improvement District

        (moved by Cllr Steward and seconded by Cllr Levene)

 

“Council notes that:

·        the process of creating a Business Improvement District (“BID”) is currently progressing well in York.  This is a city-wide partnership initiative led primarily by local businesses, with the council as the accountable body, designed to enable coordinated investment in the management and marketing area of a defined commercial area within the City Centre.

·        the many benefits of a BID district are that: it creates a single source of funding to be spent in the area; it provides a business plan that focuses on improving the area, addressing anti social behaviour and other problems; it improves the resilience of the city centre to changes in the retail market and it will work towards improving a city centre that increases resident well being and presents an improved business offer.

·        the BID will be funded by contributions from businesses within the defined area with a rateable value above a threshold of £12,500, and it will be supported through the ballot process and the collection of the levy by the Council, the accountable body, with £25,000 paid to us from the BID in administration costs each year.

·        smaller businesses beneath the rateable value threshold will not be required to pay the levy, but will nevertheless benefit from the additional funding and still have a voice on spending decisions made within the BID area.

·        a ballot will get underway in October for businesses within the proposed BID area to vote on the establishment of the district.

·        if approved by local businesses, it is expected to generate over £800,000 per annum for the next five years, all to be reinvested into the city and in addition to any services provided by the local authority,  the base line for which the Council will determine in the near future.

 

Council therefore expresses its support for the establishment of the BID and encourages businesses within the proposed BID to make their vote ‘yes’.”

 

On being put to the vote, the motion, was CARRIED and it was

 

Resolved:  That the motion be approved. 2.

 

 

(iii)     Tackling Climate Change

         (moved by Cllr Waller and seconded by Cllr Orrell)

 

“Council notes:

 

·        The need for local, national and international action to tackle Climate Change.

 

·        The forthcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris which has as its objective a binding and universal agreement on steps to reduce greenhouse emissions.

 

·        The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union to the Conference is 40% by 2030.

 

·        Energy company Drax has abandoned a £1billion project to introduce ‘carbon capture’ technology at its plant in North Yorkshire after the government's decision to reduce subsidies for renewable energy.

 

·        Initial steps taken by the Joint Executive to make York the ‘Greenest City in the North’ including:

 

- The stated aim to increase the waste sent to recycling by 5,000 tonnes and increase recycling rates to over 50%.

 

- The reversal of plans to charge residents for their first Green Bin collection.

 

- The commitment in the Draft Council Plan to cut the council’s carbon emissions, re-establish a Green Jobs Task Group, and work towards plans for ‘One Planet Living’.

 

Council Resolves to:

 

Write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP, expressing concern over the developments at Drax and asking for a reversal of the decision to cut support for renewable energy, including the removal of the tax exemption for renewable power that is sold to industrial companies.

 

Work on a cross-party basis to ensure that policies are adopted which increase recycling, reduce carbon emissions, expand the use of renewable power generation, and support community energy projects.

 

Ensure that all decision papers produced include as standard an Environmental Sustainability Impact Assessment in order to make certain that environmental sustainability underpins everything we do as an authority.”

 

Council considered two amendments to the motion, the first being proposed by Councillor Craghill as follows:

 

Add the following additional bullet points following the words ‘Council notes’;

 

·        ‘The growing commitments amongst major UK institutions as diverse as the British Medical Association, the Church of England and our own Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to withdraw their investments from fossil fuels as part of a global divestment trend;

 

·        The recent report from 350.org showing that UK local authorities  currently have at least £14 billion invested in companies that are contributing to climate change and recent decisions by UK councils such as Bristol and Oxford to cease investing in fossil fuels.’

 

Under ‘Council resolves to’ add the following:

 

‘Require a report to Audit & Governance setting out the details of York’s current direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels including current investment by North Yorkshire Pension Fund (around 7% of total according to 350.org) and giving a range of options for action on both direct and indirect investments, including an option to commit to no future investment and for a process of total divestment and proposals to initiate similar discussions within North Yorkshire Pension Fund.’

 

“Insert the following final paragraph under “Council Resolves to:”‘Require a report to Audit & Governance setting out the details of York’s current direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels including current investment by North Yorkshire Pension Fund (around 7% of total according to 350.org) and giving a range of options for action on both direct and indirect investments, including an option to commit to no future investment and proposals for a process of total divestment and proposals to initiate similar discussions about their Pension Fund Policies & Strategies with the Pension Fund Committee (PFC) of the North Yorkshire Pension Fund.’

 

On being put to the vote Cllr Craghill’s amendment was declared CARRIED.

 

 

A second amendment was then proposed by Councillor Derbyshire as follows:

 

Delete the following sentence in the last bullet point

 “The reversal of plans to charge residents for their first Green Bin collection.”

 

Amend the first paragraph following “Council Resolves” to read

 

Write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP;

 

(i)      expressing concern over the developments at Drax and asking for a reversal of the decision to cut support for renewable energy, including the removal of the tax exemption for renewable power that is sold to industrial companies.

 

(ii)      and expressing opposition to the Government’s proposals for fracking applications to be given preferential treatment, by way of being routinely called in if not determined by local authorities within the statutory 16 week period.

 

Insert the words “tackle poor air quality”, prior to the words ”increase recycling” in the penultimate paragraph

 

On being put to the vote the second amendment was declared LOST.

 

A vote was then taken on the original motion, as amended by Cllr Craghill’s amendment, which was CARRIED and it was

 

Resolved:  That the original motion, as amended by Cllr Craghill’s amendment, be approved. 3.

 

(iv)    Trade Union Bill

(moved by Cllr D Myers and seconded by Cllr Looker)

 

“This Council notes that in February 2015 the United Nations agency the International Labour Organisation reaffirmed its belief that ‘without protecting a right to strike, Freedom of Association, in particular the right to organise activities for the purpose of promoting and protecting workers’ interests, cannot be fully realised’.

 

Council notes the Government’s Trade Union Bill, which would require that in order to vote for industrial action:

 

-       there is a turnout of over 50% of eligible members, in addition to a simple majority voting in favour;

-       for ‘important public services’ 40% of eligible members vote in favour (80% of those voting if turnout were 50%).

 

This Council further notes that the Trade Union Bill has been criticised by the International Labour Organisation and human rights organisations including Liberty, Amnesty International and the British Institute of Human Rights who argue it “would hamper people’s basic rights to protest and shift even more power from the employee to the employer”.

 

This Council believes that, when negotiation and mediation have failed, the right to strike and to protest are fundamental rights which should be respected in a free and democratic society.

 

Council continues to support engagement with its workforce through trade unions, where employees have democratically decided to be represented by a trade union.

 

This Council resolves to instruct the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, expressing its opposition to the Trade Union Bill.”

 

On being put to the vote, the motion, was CARRIED and it was

 

Resolved:  That the motion be approved. 4.

 

 

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