Local democracy during coronavirus

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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 Smalley

 

York Stands With Ukraine

 

“This Council notes that:

·        York stands with Ukraine and its people in their fight to maintain democracy and self-determination as a nation, those affected locally with relatives caught up in the hostilities having to escape the war, and with those Russians who are not responsible for this war, many of whom bravely speak out against it.

·        Symbolic displays of support have taken place all across the city, including lighting the city in blue and yellow, flying the Ukrainian flag, organising support rallies and providing donations to local charities.

·        According to recently published ONS figures, approximately 50 Ukrainian citizens currently live in York.

·        Locally the Council is working closely with key partners and charities across the city to provide information and support, including supporting City of Sanctuary to provide a locally based Ukraine support group for Ukrainians in York.

·        Work has begun with Migration Yorkshire to set in place the necessary preparations for welcoming refugees from Ukraine.

This Council believes:

·        As a city and Council of sanctuary, we should reaffirm our commitment to stand with the brave people of Ukraine and support and welcome those fleeing this war.

·        At this difficult and dangerous time we must all stand untied against the aggressor, making sure not to repeat or give credence to narratives used by Putin to divide and defer blame for this horrific attack.

This Council therefore resolves to:

·        Continue to fly the Ukrainian flag from the Mansion House in a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

·        Ask that relevant officers initiate the process of adopting Lviv, Ukraine, as York’s sister city with a memorandum of understanding.

·        Provide help and support to all Ukrainian nationals living in York by ensuring that the council works collaboratively alongside citizens, businesses and voluntary organisations in the city to help them in their efforts to support refugees to settle in the city.

·        Request that Executive Members and relevant senior officers continue to review all investments, contracts and procurement arrangements to ensure that the Council divests itself of any financial interest it may hold in Russian companies and investments; and encourage local businesses and city partners to follow suit.

·        Call on Government to ensure an open a simple, fast and safe route for refugees to come to the UK is urgently established, providing information and resources to local councils to support those seeking sanctuary.

·        Write to the Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities to clarify the powers open to the council on the actions it may take to ensure that no pathway is left available for Russian financial investment, also calling for existing procurement laws to be changed to recognise this.

·        Call on the York and North Yorkshire Local Government Pension Fund to divest itself of any similar interests, particularly in gas, oil and energy.”

 

(ii)         From Cllr Perrett

 

End Fuel Poverty in York

 

“Council notes thework to date on tackling fuel poverty in York, but recognises that 12,000 of 88,000 households in our city were living in fuel poverty in 2019, a 20% increase in just four years.

Council also notes that areas within the city contain a greater proportion of households experiencing fuel poverty, with some areas within wards such Hull Road, Clifton, Fishergate, Huntington and New Earswick, Acomb and Westfield seeing over one in five households living in fuel poverty.

Council believes pandemic impacts and current hikes in energy costs will see that figure shoot even higher, and believes that more must be done if fuel poverty in York is to be ended by 2030.

Council further notes the Government’s national vision for public health is not simply to improve the nation’s health, but crucially, to improve the health of the poorest fastest.  Fuel poverty indicators are key to measuring progress against this important public health priority.

Council resolves:

a)   to request that the Executive adopts a bold vision to end fuel poverty in York by 2030, andinstructs officers to develop a strategy and action plan to meet the 2030 target, to include:

·         improving the energy efficiency of council housing stock;

·         enforcing existing regulations on energy efficiency and property standards, particularly in the private rented sector;

·         the levering in of funds to improve the energy efficiency standards of all housing;

·         providing accessible information, advice and guidance in a variety of formats to those most in need;

·         maximising the incomes of low income households through the efficient delivery of Council-administered benefits, sensitive recovery of debt and the provision of advice and support;

·         working in partnership with other agencies and voluntary and community groups to implement and monitor delivery of the strategy;

b)   to request that Executive receives reports on progress on the above activities and on steps to end fuel poverty every six months;

c)   to become a member of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition;

d)   to ask all Group Leaders to write to Government Ministers for Energy and for Housing, calling for:

·         continuation of the annual Winter Warm Home Discount in line with price cap increases, rather than keeping it frozen at £140;

·         an increase in the ‘discount’ (loan) for low-income families and individuals, without the requirement that they be repaid later;

·         them to work with energy companies to write off the energy cost debt of those in extreme financial hardship;

·         a commitment to work with energy companies to end the poverty premium paid by those on pre-payment meters, who can least afford high energy bills, by moving them to the cheapest available tariffs by default - permanently;

·         a commitment to a mass rollout of insulation measures for people on low incomes in addition to the existing ECO and Green Homes Grant schemes, and with more lenient EPC eligibility criteria.”

 

(iii)        From Cllr Runciman

 

Addressing York’s Dental Crisis

 

“This Council notes:

·        York, similarly to the rest of the country, is facing an acute NHS dental crisis, which is creating additional pressures in other parts of the health system particularly urgent and emergency care and primary care.

·        Our thanks to the dentists, doctors and staff which have had to endure the challenges of the pandemic as well as the dysfunctional target-driven system which is demoralising and failing staff and patients. 

·        NHS data shows that the number of dentists continues to fall in York, with 30 practitioners having left since 2018/19, 10 of them in the last year. By March 2021 number of local dentists had fallen to 209; lower than at any time since 2015.

·        Healthwatch York’s January 2022 report shows that only 59% of the York residents it surveyed had an NHS dentist, down from 84% in 2018.

·        According to the most recent NHS data, only 65,819 adults in York have been able to see a dentist in the previous 24months

·        The failures of successive Governments since the pivotal 2006 decision by the then Labour Government to establish a new dental contract based on a dysfunctional and demoralising target-driven system.

·        NHS dentistry has been subject to cuts not seen anywhere else in the NHS. In real terms, net government spend on general dental practice in England has been cut by about a third in the last decade. 

·        Government Ministers have recognised that the system is broken, but are failing to set out a plan or timetable for change and no tangible commitment to reverse a decade of cuts.

This Council believes:

·        That rapid and significant reform of the way dentistry is commissioned and provided is needed to address the increasing problems of access to NHS dental care in the longer term.

This Council therefore resolves to:

·        Ask the Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care to bring regular reports on the state of local dentistry to decision sessions, seeking input from relevant scrutiny committees.

·        Ask that the Executive Member makes the case for harnessing opportunities to improve dental service provision locally through the development of Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

·        Ask all group leaders and local health and NHS partners to write a joint letter to the Health Secretary outlining concerns over local provision and access to services, outlining urgent reforms which need to take place, including boosting spending, reforming commissioning to tackle the twin crises of access and affordability, recognising overseas dentistry qualifications and implementing an urgent programme to recruit and retain more NHS dentists.”

 

(iv)        From Cllr Myers

 

End ‘Fire and Rehire’

 

“This Council notes:

·        1 in 10 workers have experienced ‘fire and rehire’ – having to reapply for their existing jobs on worse pay, terms and conditions or face the sack, with ethnic minority workers facing this at twice the rate of white workers, since March 2020;

·        that one quarter of all workers have experienced a worsening of their terms and conditions, including a cut to their pay - since the pandemic began;  

·        that while the Prime Minister has called the practice “unacceptable”, he has refused to take action to outlaw the practice, raising questions about any real commitment from the current Government to act;

·        the escalating number of employers across all sectors using weak employment protections to force their staff to accept worse terms and conditions, leaving many having to work longer hours for lower pay, with often devastating consequences for workers and their families;

·        that even before the pandemic, 1 in 9 workers – 3.8 million people – were already ‘insecure’, meaning they did not have access to basic rights at work and could be dismissed at will; including those on zero hour contracts and agency workers;

·        that major businesses in York is currently threatening workers with ‘fire and rehire’, in order to worsen their terms and conditions, represent a serious threat to workers and to the local economy. Decent and fair terms and conditions lift people out of poverty and build strong and vibrant high streets and communities;

·        City of York Council has already signed up to the Good Business Charter and as such has already committed to ensuring the residents of York have fair working conditions.

This Council commits to work to ensure that local residents are protected against unscrupulous employers.

Council therefore resolves to:

·        ask the MPs for York Central and York Outer to write to the Prime Minister, demanding he acts now to outlaw fire and rehire, and to keep his promise to York residents to protect their terms and conditions of employment;

·        ask the council’s Chief Operating Officer and Council Leader to write to all businesses in York employing 100 or more staff, inviting  them to sign up to the Good Business Charter and its 10 components;

and to call on the council’s Executive to:

·        not use fire and rehire itself as an employer and through updated council procurement policy, both prevent its use by council contractors as well as ensuring that the council only contracts those with good employment, trade union, equalities and environmental records;

·        promote the increasing number of progressive local employers prioritising their employees’ standard of living and wellbeing;

·        work with York’s anchor institutions and the council’s key partners to bring forward plans for model employment practices, in partnership with recognised trade unions;

·        support the TUC campaign for a ‘New Deal for Working People’.”

Minutes:

(i)           York Stands With Ukraine

 

Moved by Cllr Smalley and seconded by Cllr Hook.

 

“This Council notes that:

·        York stands with Ukraine and its people in their fight to maintain democracy and self-determination as a nation, those affected locally with relatives caught up in the hostilities having to escape the war, and with those Russians who are not responsible for this war, many of whom bravely speak out against it.

·        Symbolic displays of support have taken place all across the city, including lighting the city in blue and yellow, flying the Ukrainian flag, organising support rallies and providing donations to local charities.

·        According to recently published ONS figures, approximately 50 Ukrainian citizens currently live in York.

·        Locally the Council is working closely with key partners and charities across the city to provide information and support, including supporting City of Sanctuary to provide a locally based Ukraine support group for Ukrainians in York.

·        Work has begun with Migration Yorkshire to set in place the necessary preparations for welcoming refugees from Ukraine.

This Council believes:

·        As a city and Council of sanctuary, we should reaffirm our commitment to stand with the brave people of Ukraine and support and welcome those fleeing this war.

·        At this difficult and dangerous time we must all stand united against the aggressor, making sure not to repeat or give credence to narratives used by Putin to divide and defer blame for this horrific attack.

This Council therefore resolves to:

·        Continue to fly the Ukrainian flag from the Mansion House in a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

·        Ask that relevant officers initiate the process of adopting Lviv, Ukraine, as York’s sister city with a memorandum of understanding.

·        Provide help and support to all Ukrainian nationals living in York by ensuring that the council works collaboratively alongside citizens, businesses and voluntary organisations in the city to help them in their efforts to support refugees to settle in the city.

·        Request that Executive Members and relevant senior officers continue to review all investments, contracts and procurement arrangements to ensure that the Council divests itself of any financial interest it may hold in Russian companies and investments; and encourage local businesses and city partners to follow suit.

·        Call on Government to ensure an open a simple, fast and safe route for refugees to come to the UK is urgently established, providing information and resources to local councils to support those seeking sanctuary.

·        Write to the Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities to clarify the powers open to the council on the actions it may take to ensure that no pathway is left available for Russian financial investment, also calling for existing procurement laws to be changed to recognise this.

·        Call on the York and North Yorkshire Local Government Pension Fund to divest itself of any similar interests, particularly in gas, oil and energy.”

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

 

Resolved:  That the above motion be approved.1

 

(ii)         End Fuel Poverty in York

 

Moved by Cllr Perrett and seconded by Cllr Pavlovic.

 

“Council notes thework to date on tackling fuel poverty in York, but recognises that 12,000 of 88,000 households in our city were living in fuel poverty in 2019, a 20% increase in just four years.

Council also notes that areas within the city contain a greater proportion of households experiencing fuel poverty, with some areas within wards such Hull Road, Clifton, Fishergate, Huntington and New Earswick, Acomb and Westfield seeing over one in five households living in fuel poverty.

Council believes pandemic impacts and current hikes in energy costs will see that figure shoot even higher, and believes that more must be done if fuel poverty in York is to be ended by 2030.

Council further notes the Government’s national vision for public health is not simply to improve the nation’s health, but crucially, to improve the health of the poorest fastest.  Fuel poverty indicators are key to measuring progress against this important public health priority.

Council resolves:

a)   to request that the Executive adopts a bold vision to end fuel poverty in York by 2030, andinstructs officers to develop a strategy and action plan to meet the 2030 target, to include:

·         improving the energy efficiency of council housing stock;

·         enforcing existing regulations on energy efficiency and property standards, particularly in the private rented sector;

·         the levering in of funds to improve the energy efficiency standards of all housing;

·         providing accessible information, advice and guidance in a variety of formats to those most in need;

·         maximising the incomes of low income households through the efficient delivery of Council-administered benefits, sensitive recovery of debt and the provision of advice and support;

·         working in partnership with other agencies and voluntary and community groups to implement and monitor delivery of the strategy;

b)   to request that Executive receives reports on progress on the above activities and on steps to end fuel poverty every six months;

c)   to become a member of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition;

d)   to ask all Group Leaders to write to Government Ministers for Energy and for Housing, calling for:

·         continuation of the annual Winter Warm Home Discount in line with price cap increases, rather than keeping it frozen at £140;

·         an increase in the ‘discount’ (loan) for low-income families and individuals, without the requirement that they be repaid later;

·         them to work with energy companies to write off the energy cost debt of those in extreme financial hardship;

·         a commitment to work with energy companies to end the poverty premium paid by those on pre-payment meters, who can least afford high energy bills, by moving them to the cheapest available tariffs by default - permanently;

·         a commitment to a mass rollout of insulation measures for people on low incomes in addition to the existing ECO and Green Homes Grant schemes, and with more lenient EPC eligibility criteria.”

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

 

Resolved:  That the above motion be approved.2

 

(iii)        Addressing York’s Dental Crisis

 

Moved by Cllr Runciman and seconded by Cllr Vassie.

 

“This Council notes:

·        York, similarly to the rest of the country, is facing an acute NHS dental crisis, which is creating additional pressures in other parts of the health system particularly urgent and emergency care and primary care.

·        Our thanks to the dentists, doctors and staff which have had to endure the challenges of the pandemic as well as the dysfunctional target-driven system which is demoralising and failing staff and patients. 

·        NHS data shows that the number of dentists continues to fall in York, with 30 practitioners having left since 2018/19, 10 of them in the last year. By March 2021 number of local dentists had fallen to 209; lower than at any time since 2015.

·        Healthwatch York’s January 2022 report shows that only 59% of the York residents it surveyed had an NHS dentist, down from 84% in 2018.

·        According to the most recent NHS data, only 65,819 adults in York have been able to see a dentist in the previous 24months

·        The failures of successive Governments since the pivotal 2006 decision by the then Labour Government to establish a new dental contract based on a dysfunctional and demoralising target-driven system.

·        NHS dentistry has been subject to cuts not seen anywhere else in the NHS. In real terms, net government spend on general dental practice in England has been cut by about a third in the last decade. 

·        Government Ministers have recognised that the system is broken, but are failing to set out a plan or timetable for change and no tangible commitment to reverse a decade of cuts.

This Council believes:

·        That rapid and significant reform of the way dentistry is commissioned and provided is needed to address the increasing problems of access to NHS dental care in the longer term.

This Council therefore resolves to:

·        Ask the Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care to bring regular reports on the state of local dentistry to decision sessions, seeking input from relevant scrutiny committees.

·        Ask that the Executive Member makes the case for harnessing opportunities to improve dental service provision locally through the development of Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

·        Ask all group leaders and local health and NHS partners to write a joint letter to the Health Secretary outlining concerns over local provision and access to services, outlining urgent reforms which need to take place, including boosting spending, reforming commissioning to tackle the twin crises of access and affordability, recognising overseas dentistry qualifications and implementing an urgent programme to recruit and retain more NHS dentists.”

 

Cllr Douglas then moved, and Cllr Looker seconded, an amendment to the above motion, as follows:

 

 “In the first paragraph (under ‘This Council notes:’), in the 6th bullet point, delete all after ‘the failure of successive Governments’ and insert: ‘both Coalition and Conservative, to evaluate and review the 2006 NHS Dental Contract, and to address its shortcomings’.

In the third paragraph (under ‘This Council therefore resolved to:’) insert a new 1st bullet point, as follows:

·        Welcome and record its thanks to the MP for York Central for her ongoing efforts to secure better access to NHS dentistry for York residents, including securing a pledge from the Government to look into the problem of 10,000 York residents recently being deregistered from NHS dentists in the city, and for her setting up a petition to encourage public support for a properly funded National Dental Service.’”

 

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

 

The original motion was then put to the vote and declared CARRIED and it was

 

Resolved:  That the above motion be approved.3

 

(iv)        End ‘Fire and Rehire’

 

Moved by Cllr Myers and seconded by Cllr Wells.

 

“This Council notes:

·        1 in 10 workers have experienced ‘fire and rehire’ – having to reapply for their existing jobs on worse pay, terms and conditions or face the sack, with ethnic minority workers facing this at twice the rate of white workers, since March 2020;

·        that one quarter of all workers have experienced a worsening of their terms and conditions, including a cut to their pay - since the pandemic began;  

·        that while the Prime Minister has called the practice “unacceptable”, he has refused to take action to outlaw the practice, raising questions about any real commitment from the current Government to act;

·        the escalating number of employers across all sectors using weak employment protections to force their staff to accept worse terms and conditions, leaving many having to work longer hours for lower pay, with often devastating consequences for workers and their families;

·        that even before the pandemic, 1 in 9 workers – 3.8 million people – were already ‘insecure’, meaning they did not have access to basic rights at work and could be dismissed at will; including those on zero hour contracts and agency workers;

·        that major businesses in York is currently threatening workers with ‘fire and rehire’, in order to worsen their terms and conditions, represent a serious threat to workers and to the local economy. Decent and fair terms and conditions lift people out of poverty and build strong and vibrant high streets and communities;

·        City of York Council has already signed up to the Good Business Charter and as such has already committed to ensuring the residents of York have fair working conditions.

This Council commits to work to ensure that local residents are protected against unscrupulous employers.

Council therefore resolves to:

·        ask the MPs for York Central and York Outer to write to the Prime Minister, demanding he acts now to outlaw fire and rehire, and to keep his promise to York residents to protect their terms and conditions of employment;

·        ask the council’s Chief Operating Officer and Council Leader to write to all businesses in York employing 100 or more staff, inviting  them to sign up to the Good Business Charter and its 10 components;

and to call on the council’s Executive to:

·        not use fire and rehire itself as an employer and through updated council procurement policy, both prevent its use by council contractors as well as ensuring that the council only contracts those with good employment, trade union, equalities and environmental records;

·        promote the increasing number of progressive local employers prioritising their employees’ standard of living and wellbeing;

·        work with York’s anchor institutions and the council’s key partners to bring forward plans for model employment practices, in partnership with recognised trade unions;

·        support the TUC campaign for a ‘New Deal for Working People’.”

 

An amendment to the above motion submitted by Cllr D’Agorne was ruled out of order by the Lord Mayor, on the grounds that it did not directly affect services for which the Council had responsibility, nor the geographic area of the City of York.

 

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

 

Resolved:  That the above motion be approved.4

 

 

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