Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Tuesday, 19th January 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: The Guildhall

Contact: Graham Watts, Democratic Team Leader and Elections Manager  (01522 873439)

Items
No. Item

71.

Mayoral Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor reported that former City and County Councillor John Plant had recently passed away. Members took this opportunity to pay tribute to his memory.

72.

Confirmation of Minutes - 30 November 2020 pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2020 be confirmed.

73.

Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.

Minutes:

Councillor Ralph Toofany declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest with regard to the agenda item entitled 'Allotment Fees and Charges'. Councillor Toofany was a user of the allotment service and left the meeting during the consideration of this item.

 

74.

Receive Any Questions under Council Procedure Rule 11 from Members of the Public and Provide Answers thereon

Minutes:

No questions were received.

75.

Receive Any Questions under Council Procedure Rule 12 from Members and Provide Answers thereon

Minutes:

No questions were received.

76.

Motion Under Council Procedure Rule 14 - Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 400 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Gary Hewson proposed the following motion:

 

“This Council notes that Britain is experiencing the worst recession for over 300 years and has the fifth highest number of deaths in the world due to Covid-19. The failure of this Conservative government to contain the virus has caused too many deaths and worsened the economic impact.

 

The alarm bells on the devastating impacts on people’s lives of this unfolding economic disaster are growing louder.

 

The effects are being felt in the city of Lincoln, especially among households already in low paid employment, with one in four children in the city in households below 60% of the national average household income, and having increasingly to resort to Food Banks in the city to survive.

 

The Council, along with its partners has been working hard to protect our residents from the worst effects of the pandemic, playing an active role in public health measures, together with action to support our communities, and to help our businesses survive.

 

The Council believes that further levels of unemployment and hardship are not inevitable if urgent action is taken now to avert the worst effects of the pandemic. This must include further action from government, to include the following measures:

 

·            An increase in StatutorySick Pay(SSP)to £320a week,the level of          the current living wage, and makeit availableto allworkerssopeople         canaffordtoo self-isolate. Thecurrent£96a weekisa fifthofaverage        weeklyearningsand2 millionwho earnlessthan£120a weekare            noteven entitled to that.Evenwhilethevaccineisbeing rolledout        peoplewill still needtoself-isolate to preventthevirusspreading.

 

·            An improvement to furlough arrangements sothatnooneispai  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.

77.

To Consider the Following Recommendations of the Executive and Committees of the Council

77a

Localised Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 585 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED that Council:

 

(1)          Notes the consultation responses relating to the Localised Council Tax Support Scheme for 2021/22.

 

(2)          Notes the proposed options to the core element of the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2020/21, as set out in section 6 and paragraph 6.5 of the report, and agrees setting a capital reduction rate of £6,000.

 

(3)          Agrees the proposed change to the Council Tax technical premium as set out in section 6 paragraph 6.6 of the report, that from 1 April 2021 any property empty over ten years will receive a premium of 300%, incurring a 400% charge.

 

(4)          Approves the continuation of the £20,000 Exceptional Hardship Fund for 2021/22 to top up Council Tax Support awards in appropriate cases.

 

(5)          Does not support, at this time, the request from the Police and Crime Commissioner to implement a Council Tax exemption for Special Constables.

 

77b

Council Tax Base 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED:

 

That Council:

 

(1)          Notes that there are no special items as defined in Section 35 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended) applicable to any part or parts of the City of Lincoln local authority area.

 

(2)          Approves the Chief Finance Officers’ calculation of the Council Tax Base for the financial year commencing 1 April 2021 and ending 31 March 2022, as set out in Appendix B of this report.

 

(3)          Approves, in accordance with the Chief Finance Officers’ calculation, and pursuant to the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 1992 (as amended), that the Council Tax Base for the 2021/22 financial year is 24,372.38.

77c

Council House and Garage Rents 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 261 KB

This item is scheduled for consideration at the meeting of the Executive on 18 January 2021, which is subsequent to the publication date of this agenda. A copy of the report to the Executive is therefore included as part of the agenda pack for this meeting.

 

Minutes:

It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED that Council:

 

(1)          Approves the basis of rent calculation for changes to individual Council house rents as set out in the report, which represents an increase in the average calculated 52-week Council house net rent in 2021/22 of 1.5% for social housing rents (£1.05 per week) and affordable rents (£1.61 per week) increase per property.

 

(2)          Approves a 3% increase in Council garage rents for 2021/22 in accordance with the proposal set out in the report.

 

78.

Allotment Fees and Charges pdf icon PDF 347 KB

This item is scheduled for consideration at the meeting of the Executive on 18 January 2021, which is subsequent to the publication date of this agenda. A copy of the report to the Executive is therefore included as part of the agenda pack for this meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ralph Toofany left the meeting during consideration of this item further to his declaration of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.

 

Councillor Ric Metcalfe proposed the recommendations set out in the report, which was seconded by Councillor Donald Nannestad.

 

Councillor Thomas Dyer, reflecting on the current circumstances, said that vulnerable people in particular had been dependant on their own entertainment, with allotments being a key aspect of that for many people in the city. He therefore questioned the timing of a proposed increase, but welcomed the fact that a years’ notice would be provided to allotment holders. He asked whether the Council could look into the possibility of introducing a concession for old age pensioners.

 

Councillor Bob Bushell reminded Council that the allotment service was very heavily subsidised even taking into account the proposed increase in fees and charges. He recognised the importance of allotments which was why the Council had recently invested approximately £1 million to improve security, access to water and the introduction of a new site. Councillor Bushell was content with a concession being offered on a means tested benefit system as opposed to age and made the point that income generated by allotment fees and charges would be reinvested into the allotment service. He was also confident, even taking into account an increase in fees and charges, that users of the service would continue to consider it as good value.

 

Councillor Christopher Reid was concerned that elderly users of the service who would not qualify for a concession rate under the means tested benefit system would see their current concession removed as well as having to pay an increased fee. He would therefore wish to see a concession for old aged pensioners.

 

Councillor Ric Metcalfe reiterated that the Council understood the value of allotments, particularly at times such as those the country was facing in the current circumstances, which was why such a significant capital investment was made in the service. He reported, however, that the Council’s finances were in a very serious state and contributions from the majority of the authority’s budgets was required in order to address this. In reviewing this against the allotment service, given the recent investment and importance of the service, it did not seem appropriate to cut the service. A better approach was therefore proposed whereby service users paid a bit more for the service in order that full provision in the city could be maintained. Councillor Metcalfe reported that, even with the increase in fees and charges, the cost of the service was still £67,000 per year. He added that low income groups would be protected but was of the opinion that age alone should not act as a proxy for low income.

 

Having been proposed and seconded and being put to the vote it was RESOLVED that changes to the fees and charges for allotments be approved, with effect from the annual billing in 2022 and new leases thereafter, and that these be based on:

 

·                     removal of the 50%  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.