Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Wallasey Town Hall
To receive the Mayor's announcements and any apologies for absence.
The Mayor welcomed everyone to the meeting and wished everyone a happy St David’s day. He welcomed particularly a contingent of international students who were being hosted by Upton Hall School.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The members of the Council are invited to consider whether they have a personal or prejudicial interest, or statutory restriction on voting*, in connection with any matter to be debated or determined at this meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of such interest or restriction.
* A letter from the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management explaining the restrictions imposed by section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 has been circulated to all Members of the Council.
The members of the Council were invited to consider whether they had a personal or prejudicial interest in connection with any matter to be debated or determined at the meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of such interest. The following declarations were made:
Councillor C Blakeley, L Rennie, D Mitchell and S Niblock declared personal interests in respect of the Labour amendment (1) to the Budget 2011-12 Cabinet minute 327, by virtue of them being in receipt of more than one Special Responsibility Allowance.
Councillor L Rowlands declared a personal interest in respect of item 3 and the petition on the respite care homes by virtue of the fact that he had spoken to the lead petitioner, Mr Donaldson, although he had not predetermined the matter.
Councillor K Wood declared a personal interest in item 5 (Budget Cabinet minute 327) by virtue of her being a pensioner householder.
Councillor S Whittingham declared a personal interest in respect of the Labour amendment (1) to the Budget 2011-12 Cabinet minute 327, by virtue of his employment.
Councillors W Clements, G Davies, J Green, A Jennings, B Kenny, A McLachlan, C Meaden and S Williams, each declared a personal interest in item 5 (Schools Budget Cabinet minute 328) by virtue of a family member’s employment with the authority.
To receive petitions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 21.
(A) In accordance with Standing order 21, the Mayor received petitions submitted by:
Councillor I Lewis on behalf of 29 signatories requesting the installation of a pedestrian controlled crossing at the junction of Moreton Road and the Moreton Spur to help children travel to school safely and local residents travelling between Moreton, Overchurch and Upton Village.
Councillor S Clarke on behalf of 13 signatories opposing the closure of 5 respite care homes.
Councillor I Williams on behalf of 153 signatories opposing the closure of all Council run respite care homes, at least until a satisfactory alternative has been found and approved by the majority of current users and their carers.
(B) In accordance with the Petition Scheme (when petitions with a threshold of 1500 signatures will trigger a Council debate) the Council received an ePetition of some 1034 signatures in agreement (15 disagreeing) and linked paper petitions of some 950 signatures asking the Council to ‘stop immediately the closure of all council-run respite care homes, at least until a satisfactory alternative has been found and approved by the majority of current users and their carers. We want the care of the most vulnerable in our borough to be one of our council’s highest priorities and we do not want any cuts to the overall level of support provided to those vulnerable members of our community and their carers.’
In accordance with Standing Order No. 5 (m) it was moved by the Mayor and seconded by the Deputy Mayor that the contents of the petition asking the Council to ‘stop immediately the closure of all council-run respite care homes’ be noted.
Mr Brian Donaldson addressed the Council on behalf of the petitioners.
Councillor Moon moved an amendment to the petition, seconded by Councillor Green, that -
“(1) Council recognises the deeply felt concerns of service users and their carers as the Council re-provides respite care from the independent sector. Council further recognises the good work being done by officers in contacting service users and carers and in supporting them making alternate arrangements; and instructs officers to continue these efforts to ensure a satisfactory outcome is achieved for all current users and their carers.
(2) Council shares the aspirations of the petitioners that care of the most vulnerable in our borough be one of the Council’s highest priorities. Council further notes that the Cabinet’s Budget recommendation makes no cuts in the overall level of support to those most vulnerable members of our community and their carers.”
At 6.38pm the Mayor adjourned the meeting whilst a member of the public was removed from the public gallery for causing a disturbance in accordance with Standing Order No. 16 (1).
The meeting resumed at 6.53pm but due to a further disturbance was further adjourned whilst a member of the public was removed from the public gallery in accordance with Standing Order No. 16 (1).
The meeting resumed at 6.58pm.
Councillor Moon then spoke to his amendment, followed by Councillor McLaughlin and Councillor ... view the full minutes text for item 102.
To receive as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 14 February 2011.
The minutes of the meeting held on 14 February 2011 had been circulated to members and it was -
Resolved – That the minutes be approved and adopted as a correct record.
On a motion by the Leader of the Council, to approve recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 21 February 2011 (attached), subject to consideration of any amendments received in accordance with Standing Order 7(2) or Standing Order 13 (Budget Council Procedure) - see item 6 below.
If the proposed budget is amended, wholly or partly, that will be regarded as an in-principle decision, which will automatically come into effect five working days from the date of that decision, unless the Leader of the Council informs the Director of Law, H.R. and Asset Management in writing within that time that he objects to the decision becoming effective and provides reasons why. In that case, the Director of Law, H.R. and Asset Management will call another meeting of the Council within a further five days (for which a reserve date has been set, namely 9 March). The Council will then be required to reconsider its decision, and the Leader’s written submission. At that second meeting the Council can:
(i) accept the Cabinet’s recommendation, without amendment or objection; or
(ii) approve a different decision which does not accord with the recommendation of the Cabinet
by a simple majority of votes cast at the meeting.
In accordance with Standing Order 13 (Budget Council Procedure), Councillor J Green, Leader of the Council, moved the Cabinet’s budget recommendations duly seconded by Councillor S Holbrook, Deputy Leader, with any additional paragraphs (those relating to precepts) and any other minutes from the Cabinet meeting on 21 February, 2011 that required approval by the Council. The following minutes were deemed to be approved, subject to consideration of the Labour Group Budget amendments (see minute 106 post).
1. Cabinet minute 327 – Council Budget 2011-12
Your FAMILY: Services for Children and Young People
Wirral is home to almost 78,000 children and young people. It is a good place to grow up and most children and young people will fulfil the aspirations that we, their parents and their carers have for them. However, some children and young people experience real disadvantage, poverty, hardship and failure to achieve the results they should in school. Our work will be targeted at seeking to ensure that all of our young people grow up in safety and have the best possible start in life.
Caring for our most vulnerable children
It be noted that an additional £1 million has been placed in the Council’s base budget to supplement and enhance the Government’s new Early Intervention Grant to:
In accordance with Standing Order No. 16 (2) the Mayor adjourned the meeting at 7.35pm whilst the public gallery was cleared due to a general disturbance.
The meeting resumed at 8.02pm.
Pursuant to Standing Order 5(1)(m), and in accordance with Standing Order 5(3), to consider any objections or amendments to minutes submitted under Standing Orders 7(2) and 13.
The procedure for the meeting having been approved by the Cabinet is attached, as are the list of matters for debate.
In accordance with Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003, the Director of Finance will submit (separately) a written report on each set of proposals, giving his view on their robustness. The Budget Summary on the Labour Group Proposal will also be circulated separately.
LABOUR AMENDMENT (1) TO BUDGET CABINET MINUTE 327
Proposed by Councillor Steve Foulkes
Seconded by Councillor Phil Davies
1. Council notes that this budget cuts Wirral’s workforce by nearly 20%, and that, in order to make this cut, this administration has borrowed £6.4m, which will have to be paid back at the revenue cost of £600,000 a year, over a period of 25 years which totals £15m. This amount is in addition to the £15m being found from other sources over the next two years.
2. Council notes that the loss of 1300 jobs, (of which only 1100 are accounted for in this budget) will take £51m directly out of Wirral’s economy, with all the consequent knock on to contractors, traders and shop keepers, which will considerably increase the impact of that loss.
3. Council believes that an area like Wirral, which is heavily dependent on public sector employment, has little chance of making up that loss with new private sector jobs, particularly in a climate where the private sector is already shedding the jobs it currently has, and that a cut of this severity, from one of the biggest employers on Wirral, can only push Wirral’s economy deeper into depression, increasing the level of unemployment and reducing opportunities for future generations of Wirral’s young people.
4. Council believes that the policy of this government to pursue deficit reduction over such a short timescale, with its consequent impact on local government, is driven more by political election timetables and a political ideology which wants to drastically reduce the size of the State, than it is by necessity. Council notes that even under a Thatcher “There is no Alternative” government, they chose to reduce a budget deficit over a period of nine years rather than five.
5. Council believes the damage done to the local economy has been compounded by the fact that the Secretary of State chose in the Local Government Settlement to front load in one year many of the cuts to Local Government spending, and that this draconian move was further exacerbated by a decision to centre those cuts, through the use of Area Based Grant, on the areas of highest deprivation in the country, leading to a situation where, for example, Richmond on Thames loses just £5.39 in Revenue Spending Power per head of population, Wirral loses £84.27 and Liverpool loses £162.99
6. Council deeply regrets that Wirral’s Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition has not joined with their colleagues elsewhere in the country in condemning this government’s treatment of Local Government and its impact on vital front line services, but has chosen instead to celebrate the scale of the job losses they are inflicting as a triumph of leadership, without showing any appreciation of the damage they are doing.
7. Council further condemns the fact that they have taken every opportunity to thwart any attempt to scrutinise the impact of these cuts, unlike neighbouring authorities who have taken an all party approach to reduce the impact of any ... view the full minutes text for item 106.
To receive nominations, in accordance with Standing Order 25(5), in respect of any proposed changes in the membership of the Cabinet and committees, and to approve nominations for appointments to outside organisations.
There were no nominations to vacancies submitted.