Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Watford Colosseum, Watford

Contact: Sandra Hancock  Email: democraticservices@watford.gov.uk

Note: Rescheduled from Tuesday 25 January 

Media

Items
No. Item

45.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Crout and Grimston.

 

46.

Disclosure of Interests

Minutes:

Council was informed that, under the Council’s Code of Conduct, all councillors had been given a dispensation by the Monitoring Officer to consider and vote on minute numbers 55 and 56 as they had a pecuniary interest in those items.

There were no other disclosure of interests.

 

47.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2021 to be submitted and signed. 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2021 were submitted and signed.

 

48.

Official Announcements

Minutes:

Mike Jackson

            The meeting noted with sadness the death of Mike Jackson who had been a councillor between 1980 and 1996 and Leader of the council between 1990 and 1994. A black ribbon had been adorned to the mace in recognition of his passing and the borough flag would be flown at half-mast on the day of his funeral, 18 February 2022.

Councillors Bell, Turmaine, Ezeifedi, Khan and Williams spoke to pay tribute to Mike Jackson. They described his long political career and achievements for the town. Council recognised his passion for Watford and commitment to equality and improving the lives of local people. They described his intelligence and care for people and sent condolences to his family and friends.

A minute’s silence was held in his honour and recognition of his service to Watford.

 

Holocaust Memorial Day

The Chairman informed Council that she would be laying flowers with the Mayor at the Anne Frank tree to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. She would also be attending an event organised by Hertsmere Borough Council.

 

Queen’s New Year Honour’s List

The Chairman congratulated all those Watford residents and those contributing to Watford who had received an award in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

 

Neighbourhood Locality Funds

Councillors were reminded to submit their Neighbourhood Locality Fund applications by the end of February to ensure they would be completed by the pre-election period on 18 March. 

 

Council Vice-Chairman

The Chairman would be announcing nominations for the 2022/23 Vice Chairman at the next Council meeting in March.  All nominations required a proposer and seconder.  Further details would be provided by the Democratic Services Manager shortly.

 

LGA National Census of Local Authority Councillors

Councillors had received an email from the Local Government Association with a personalised link to complete the 2022 LGA Councillor Census.

 

Chairman’s events

The Chairman informed the council of events she had attended since the last Council meeting. These events included Watford Lions dinner, a visit to Hands on Heart, a dinner with Dignify, the Remembrance ceremonies at the Vicarage Road cemetery memorial and at the Peace Memorial by the Town Hall, the High Sheriff Justice Service, a visit to Watford’s Women’s Centre and the AFV Breakfast Club.

 

49.

Mayor's Report pdf icon PDF 376 KB

    Minutes:

    A report of the Mayor had been circulated with the agenda.

    The Chairman invited members to indicate whether they wished to ask a question of the Mayor. Councillors Bell, Trebar, Turmaine and Jeffree indicated that they wished to ask questions.

    Before responding to members’ questions, Mayor Taylor paid his personal tribute to Mike Jackson, echoing the comments already made. 

    1)      Councillor Bell noted that Watford’s MP had given his support for the development of Watford hospital and asked for the Mayor’s comments.

                  The Mayor welcomed the support of the MP and noted that there had been a campaign on this issue for many years. Redeveloping the hospital and improving its facilities was important for Watford and the wider region. The multi-storey car park would be opening this year and would provide much-needed space for new buildings. The NHS staff had done an excellent job over the years at the hospital.

     

    2)      In a supplementary question, Councillor Bell paid tribute to the hospital staff and asked if the Mayor agreed that it was vital that the MP pushed for funding to be made available for the redevelopment. He noted that the plans had already been agreed by the council.

    In response, the Mayor advised that the hospital was always a priority for discussion with the MP and it was important for him to fight for the necessary funding. They Mayor had organised a cross-party letter of support from regional leaders to progress the scheme. Investment needed to be delivered to the project. He urged the MP to play his part in securing the investment.

     

    3)      Councillor Trebar noted that the Farm Terrace allotments had had 128 plots, as part of their deregulation, the council committed to re-provide the plots and she asked when this would happen. She argued it was not new provision as indicated in the written answer.

                                The Mayor highlighted that Watford had the highest allotment rates of any Hertfordshire council. The council had invested in expanding the site at Paddock Road. There was a substantial budget to increase the number of plots and there had been growth in the number of applicants. He was keen to work with the councillor and others to continue to increase and improve provision. 

     

    4)      Noting that such incidents were rare in Watford, Councillor Turmaine asked whether the town had a response to anti-vaccine demonstrators.

              The Mayor paid tribute to everyone who played their part in the rollout of the vaccination programme locally. He agreed that anti-vaccination activity was rare in the local area. The best response was to provide reassurance to those who were hesitant and to make sure the law was upheld. His priority was to provide reassurance and to talk about the difference made by the vaccine rollout.

     

    5)      Councillor Jeffree highlighted a recent event at Watford Women’s Centre. The organisation did excellent work supporting women from all backgrounds, including around issues linked to violence against women. He asked what more the Mayor and council could do to support them  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0 pdf icon PDF 555 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Questions had been submitted by Councillors Bell and Trebar.  The questions and responses had been sent to all members and published on the council’s website.

     

51.

Petitions presented under Council Procedure Rule 12.0

    Minutes:

    No petitions had been received.

52.

Business especially brought forward by the Chairman or the Head of Paid Service which in the opinion of the Chairman should be considered as a matter of urgency.

    Minutes:

    There was no urgent business.

53.

Proposed change of name for Sustainability Forum pdf icon PDF 465 KB

54.

Leave Policy for Members pdf icon PDF 418 KB

55.

Amendments to Contract Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 399 KB

56.

Watford Borough Council's Members' Remuneration Scheme 2022-2026 pdf icon PDF 405 KB

    • View the background to item 56.

    Report of the Democratic Services Manager

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Democratic Services Manager incorporating the Independent Members Remuneration Panel’s report and the recommendations for the 2022-2026 Scheme of Remuneration.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.  that the recommendations of the IMRP as set out in Appendix 2 to the report and detailed in paragraph 4.3 be approved.

     

    2. that a scheme for 2022-2026 be agreed, subject to the council being able to request an interim review before the end of the four-year period.

     

    3. that the current Panel members be reappointed for a further four years and each Panel member be paid £800 and that the Chair be paid £1,200 as a one off payment to cover the four-year period 2022-26.

     

    4.  that a recruitment process be commenced to obtain an additional IMRP member to bring the Panel back up to four and that the interview panel be the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee.

     

     

57.

Financial Planning pdf icon PDF 391 KB

    Report of the Head of Finance

     

    Further reports to follow after it has been considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 17 January 2022 and minutes are available from Licensing Committee held on 13 January 2022.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received the report of the Director of Finance including:

     

    ·                     Budget setting report

    ·                     Income charging policy

    ·                     Schedule of fees and charges

    ·                     Capital Strategy (Including the Treasury Management Policy, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy and Prudential Indicators)

    ·                     Budget and Council Tax Resolution 2022 to 2023

    ·                     Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022-23 to 2024-25

    ·                     Report of Licensing Committee 13 January 2022

    ·                     Report of Cabinet 17 January 2022

    The Mayor moved the budget report which was seconded by Councillor Watkin. The Mayor presented the budget which would help the town to continue to respond to the pandemic, support those most in need, enable businesses to grow and succeed, provide the best local services and ensure value for money for residents.

     

    Councillor Turmaine moved an amendment to the budget report, which was seconded by Councillor Khan.  The full amendment was circulated prior to the meeting and is shown below:

     

    Introduction: 

    The Labour Group would like to propose an amendment to the budget for 2022/23. This relates to the proposed increase in burial fees and charges as outlined in section Community Services, 2022/23 Fees and Charges Proposed for Cemeteries. 

     

    Proposed Change: 

    Currently, the proposed increase in charges for most services is in the region of 3%. Officers have identified that projected increase in income across the three related income streams would be around £20,000 for 2022/23. A 3% increase in fee would be expected to generate income of around £11,000. 

     

    COVID-19 has imposed incredibly harsh economic circumstances on many people in our town. Further, those having to deal with the consequences of a death owing to COVID-19 will no doubt be feeling particularly hard hit. 

     

    Therefore, the Labour Group proposes that £11,000 is set aside from the Economic Impact Reserve in order to freeze the charges at their current rates for the period of 2022/23. This will help alleviate the devastating impact of residents dealing with deaths and is proposed for one year only, meaning that fees would increase by 3% plus inflation in 2023/24. Most opinion suggests that the impact COVID-19 is having on us will have depleted by the time we get to 2023/24.”

     

    Councillor Turmaine argued that it would alleviate the impact of the pandemic on bereaved families and was intended to be for one year only.

     

    Members debated the amendment and the original motion.          

    In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the votes were recorded as follows:

    The amendment was put to the vote.

    Those members voting in favour of the amendment:

    The Chairman Councillor Mauthoor, Councillors Bell, Dhindsa, Ezeifedi, Khan, Shah, Smith, Trebar, Turmaine and Watling.

    Those members voting against the amendment:

    Mayor Taylor, Councillors Allen-Williamson, Clarke-Taylor, Devonish, Dychton, Feldman, Hamid, Hannon, Hofman, Jeffree, Johnson, Kloss, Martins, Osborn, Parker, Pattinson, A Saffery, G Saffery, Stanton, Stiff, Stotesbury, Walford, Watkin, Wenham and Williams.

    There were no abstentions.

    The amendment was LOST by 10 votes to 25.  There were no abstentions.

    The original motion was then put to Council.

    Those members voting in favour of the motion:

    The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Labour Group amendment Amendment Lost
    Original budget motion Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item

58.

Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0 pdf icon PDF 346 KB

    1.         The following motion has been proposed by Mayor Peter Taylor and seconded by Councillor Ian Stotesbury –

     

                Council notes

     

    1.      The excessive profits being made by oil and gas companies.
     

    2.      Since 2015, the Conservatives have scrapped zero carbon standards for new homes, and failed to insulate millions of older, energy inefficient homes.

     

                Council therefore supports calls for a “Robin Hood” tax – a one-off levy on the super-profits of oil and gas firms to raise money to support millions of families facing soaring energy costs which includes:

     

    1.      A proposed one-off levy to raise an estimated £5 billion from companies that are making record profits from soaring energy prices. This would be used to support vulnerable families facing a 50% increase to their energy bills.
     

    2.      This “one-off” tax could fund a substantial package of emergency support to help over 17 million people with their heating bills. 
     

    3.      This package of support would include doubling and extending the Warm Home Discount, doubling the Winter Fuel Allowance
     

    4.      A new ten-year home insulation scheme: This would be spent on reducing people’s energy bills in the long-term through an emergency home insulation programme to upgrade poorly insulated UK homes - including through fully funded grants for those in fuel poverty and on low incomes. This would cost an estimated £500 million in the next year.

     

                Council recognises any such one off tax should be followed by a widespread review to ensure energy companies pay their fair share.

     

                Council calls on the Mayor to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, calling for a one off tax on excessive profits made by oil and gas companies in order to help vulnerable people with heating bills and upgrade poorly insulated homes.

     

    2.         The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Jennifer Pattinson and seconded by Councillor Favour Ezeifedi –

     

                Council notes:

     

    ·      Sexual violence, sexual harassment, and domestic abuse remain endemic in modern society, highlighted most recently by the appalling murders of Sabina Nessa, Sarah Everard, and sisters Bibba Henry and Nicole Smallman.

    ·      According to national crime statistics in the UK, on average one woman is killed by a man every three days.

    ·      A 2021 YouGov national survey on behalf of UN Women UK found that among women aged 18-24, 97% said they had been sexually harassed, while 80% of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.

    ·      The ONS reported that last year alone 618,000 women were victims of a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault by a man

    ·      A recent OFSTED review into sexual harassment in schools has found that sexual harassment, including online sexual abuse, has become ‘normalised’ for children and young people.

    ·      Local Charity, Dignify, has conducted a study of more than 1,000 pupils, aged 14-18, from across South West Hertfordshire into the use and perceptions of porn by young people. Their research found that 55% of young people surveyed had viewed porn and 58% felt that people  ...  view the full agenda text for item 58.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council was informed that two motions had been received.

     

    Motion 1

     

    The following motion was proposed by Mayor Peter Taylor and seconded by Councillor Ian Stotesbury.

     

    “Council notes:

    1.                  The excessive profits being made by oil and gas companies.

    2.                  Since 2015, the Conservatives have scrapped zero carbon standards for new homes, and failed to insulate millions of older, energy inefficient homes.

    Council therefore supports calls for a “Robin Hood” tax – a one-off levy on the super-profits of oil and gas firms to raise money to support millions of families facing soaring energy costs which includes:

     

    1.                  A proposed one-off levy to raise an estimated £5 billion from companies that are making record profits from soaring energy prices. This would be used to support vulnerable families facing a 50% increase to their energy bills.

    2.                  This “one-off” tax could fund a substantial package of emergency support to help over 17 million people with their heating bills. 

    3.                       This package of support would include doubling and extending the Warm Home Discount, doubling the Winter Fuel Allowance.

    4.                       A new ten-year home insulation scheme: This would be spent on reducing people’s energy bills in the long-term through an emergency home insulation programme to upgrade poorly insulated UK homes - including through fully funded grants for those in fuel poverty and on low incomes. This would cost an estimated £500 million in the next year.

    Council recognises any such one off tax should be followed by a widespread review to ensure energy companies pay their fair share.

     

    Council calls on the Mayor to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, calling for a one off tax on excessive profits made by oil and gas companies in order to help vulnerable people with heating bills and upgrade poorly insulated homes.”

     

    The following amendment to the motion was moved by Councillor Khan and seconded by Councillor Bell:

     

    to add the following after point 4:

     

    “£600 can be saved from fuel bills by the following:

    5. A one year freezing of VAT on fuel so that there is a saving of £100 of fuel bills

    6. Plus an extra £94 can be saved by removing the cost of supplier failure next year and spreading it over five years.

    7. More than nine million of the hardest hit households — including pensioners, families with children and the “squeezed middle” — would get an extra £400 off through an extended warm homes discount.”

     

    Members debated the original motion and the amendment.

     

    On being put to Council, the amendment was LOST.

     

    Members then voted on the original motion, on being put to Council the motion was agreed.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    Council notes:

     

    1. The excessive profits being made by oil and gas companies.

     

    2. Since 2015, the Conservatives have scrapped zero carbon standards for new homes, and failed to insulate millions of older, energy inefficient homes.

     

    Council therefore supports calls for a “Robin Hood” tax – a one-off levy on the super-profits of oil  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

 

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