Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 8 January 2014
Time:
7:00 p.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Bloundele (Chair), The Mayor (R Mallon), Councillors Arundale, Biswas, Brady, Brunton, Budd, Carr, Clark, Cole, Davison, Hanif, Hawthorne, C Hobson, J Hobson, Hussain, Junier, Kerr, P Khan, Lowes, McIntyre, McPartland, Michna, G Purvis, P Purvis, Rehman, Rooney, Rostron, Saunders, J Sharrocks, P Sharrocks, Taylor, B Thompson, M Thompson, N J Walker, Williams
Officers:
J Bennington, L Henman, J Lewis, M Robinson and K Whitmore.
Apologies for absence:
Cox, Dryden, Harvey, Hubbard, Hudson, S Khan, Mawston, Morby, Mrs H Pearson, Sanderson and J A Walker
Declarations of interest:

There were no declarations of interest made at this point of the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
13/51 MINUTES - COUNCIL 20 AND 27 NOVEMBER 2013

The minutes of the meetings of Middlesbrough Council held on 20 and 27 November 2013 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.

13/52 ANNOUNCEMENTS/COMMUNICATIONS- ALMA COLLIN MBE

The Chair reported with deep regret the recent death of Alma Collin MBE. Alma had received numerous accolades and had been awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Middlesbrough on 15 March 2000 and had also received an MBE in the same year in recognition of her service to the local community, in particular her voluntary work with disabled people of all ages for whom she had organised and led swimming classes.

 

The Chair asked all present to observe a minute's silence in her memory.

13/53 PETITION - MULTI CULTURAL LIBRARY SERVICE

The Chair, on behalf of the Council received a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures expressing strong concerns regarding the potential loss of the multi-cultural libraries service provided by means of Middlesbrough Central Library.

 

The lead petitioner addressed the Council stressing the importance of such a service for local BME groups as a vital hub for many community members and providing a vital link for people whose first language was not English. Specific reference was made to the 17 Ethnic organisations who had expressed concern having regard to the large population of BME most of whom lived in the central wards of the Town. 

 

An indication was also given regarding an apparent lack of consultation and the Council's responsibilities in terms of the Equality Act.

 

The Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development acknowledged receipt of the petition which would be the subject of further discussion as part of the budget process.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the petition be received, noted and forwarded for consideration as part of the budget process.

13/54 PETITION - PROPOSED CHANGES AND/OR CLOSURE OF THE COUNCIL'S WELFARE RIGHTS SERVICE

The Chair, on behalf of the Council received a petition with over 800 signatures expressing concern at proposed changes and/or closure of the Council's Welfare Rights Service.

 

The lead petitioner referred to the many Government Reforms and stressed the importance of the Welfare Rights Service in providing a free and confidential service.

 

The Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health acknowledged receipt of the petition and confirmed that the matter would be the subject of further discussion as part of the budget process.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the petition be received, noted and forwarded for consideration as part of the budget process.

13/55 MAYOR'S STATEMENT AND REPORT

There was no written report or specific statement for this meeting.

 

NOTED

13/56 DEPUTY MAYOR AND EXECUTIVE MEMBER REPORTS

The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports (previously circulated) which detailed activities carried out within the respective Executive Member portfolios (Section 1), Executive decisions taken (Section 2), or to be taken where known, prior to and following the meeting (Sections 3 and 4).

 

Members commented and posed questions in relation to the following matters and Executive Members responded where appropriate:-

 

(a) Living Wage

 

The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources referred to comments raised by a Member at the meeting of the Council held on 27 November 2013 regarding serious allegations made concerning the Council's employment policies and practices.  A letter from the Mayor sent to the Member concerned which sought clarification as to the statements made and availability of supporting evidence was read out at the meeting. Members were advised that the matter had been investigated and there was no substance to the allegations.

 

 (b) 2014/2015 Settlement

 

Members expressed concern at the disproportionate reductions across the region and Middlesbrough as demonstrated in the statistical information provided by the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources. The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources also referred to recent Government announcements regarding the allocations for The New Homes Bonus which was at a reduced level in respect of Middlesbrough.

 

(c) Autumn Statement

 

Members concurred with the sentiments expressed in the report of the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources with particular regard to the effect of the rate of inflation exceeding that of pay increases and to the costs of living which continued to rise impacting on the most vulnerable.  Reference was made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's 2013 Autumn Statement which indicated that the long-term economic plans had started to provide the foundation for recovery. It was considered that this was not evident in the North East and with particular regard to Middlesbrough. The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources reiterated his concerns and referred to comments made from various voluntary sector groups as to the impact on the most vulnerable and rising poverty.

 

(d) Middlesbrough Manager

 

The Executive Member for The Change Programme acknowledged various Members' comments regarding the importance of the Middlesbrough Manager in developing a competency framework of behaviours and business skills that applied to all managers to deliver services. The Executive Member emphasised how such a framework would support a changed culture and the way in which services were delivered to ensure the Council was fit for purpose both now and in the future.

 

(e) Strategic Economic Plan - Draft EU Investment Strategy

 

The Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development concurred with Members' comments that the need for an improved local transport system was a key issue to support and attract business development and made reference to ongoing national, regional and local negotiations and to the Tees Valley Metro scheme.

Specific reference was made to transport costs which were supported in the South East to approximately £2,000 per head of population but in the North East such a figure was £5 per person.

 

(f) Extreme Weather

 

The Executive Member for Environment acknowledged Members' positive comments regarding the way in which staff had coped and dealt with various incidents during the period of extreme weather between 5 and 6 December 2013.

 

NOTED

13/57 OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY BOARD

Council received and considered a report presented by the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board outlining the work of the Board and Scrutiny Panels.

 

NOTED

13/58 CALCULATION OF COUNCIL TAX BASE FOR 2014/2015

Council received and considered the recommendations of the Executive as outlined in a report presented by the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources in relation to the setting of the Council Tax base for the financial year 2014/2015.

 

Copies of the calculations used in determining the Council Tax base levels were outlined in the appendices to the report submitted.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that having taken into account the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 1992, the following be approved:-

 

(a) That the Council Tax base for 2014/2015 be set at 30,248.

 

(b) That the Council Tax base for the parishes of Nunthorpe, and Stainton and Thornton be set at 1882 and 548, respectively for 2014/2015.

 

(c) That the Council notify the Police Authority, the Fire Authority and the Nunthorpe and, Stainton and Thornton Parish Councils of the Council's 2014/2015 Council Tax base.

13/59 URGENT ITEMS

There were no urgent items to report.

 

NOTED

13/60 MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME

There were no questions for this meeting.

 

NOTED

13/61 NOTICE OF MOTION - NO. 109

Consideration was given to the following motion, moved by Councillor Carr and seconded by Councillor Kerr of which notice had been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 11,

 

'In light of the passing of Nelson Mandela, it is proposed that a rededication of the Mandela Room be held by Middlesbrough Council in order for the town to commemorate his life and work.'

 

On a vote being taken the motion was declared CARRIED.
 

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