Venue: Westminster Council House, 97-113 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5PT
Contact: Reuben Segal, Head of Committee and Governance Services Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07890 380137
Live Broadcast: recordingofmeeting
Appointment of Relief Chairman
To appoint a relief Chairman.
1.1 Motion moved by the Lord Mayor and seconded by Councillor Paul Swaddle, that Councillor Lindsey Hall be elected as Relief Chairman.
1.2 Motion put, and on a show of hands, declared CARRIED.
To sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council meeting held on 13 November 2019
2.1 The minutes of the proceedings at the Council meeting held on Wednesday 13 November 2019 were, with the assent of the Members present, signed by the Lord Mayor as a true record of the proceedings.
Lord Mayor's Communications
1. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 1 November, she attended a reception at Westminster Abbey’s Church House to celebrate the career of the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, on the occasion of his retirement.
2. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 7 November, she attended the launch of the National Emergencies Trust at St Martin In the Field’s Church, in the presence of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
3. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 7 November, she visited the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey to lay wreaths and crosses on behalf of the Citizens of Westminster.
4. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 8 November, she attended the London Assembly’s Remembrance Day Service at London’s City Hall.
5. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 8 November, she attended the Lord Mayor’s Show in the City of London.
6. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 8 November, she attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, in the presence of HM The Queen and many other members of the Royal Family.
7. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 9 November, she attended the Remembrance Sunday Service at Westminster Abbey, leading Westminster in Remembrance.
8. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 14 November, she hosted an event for the Westminster Rusty Players Orchestra in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour.
9. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 16 November, she attended the Installation of The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle at Westminster Abbey.
10. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 17 November, she attended the AJEX Cenotaph Parade at the Cenotaph and following reception in Whitehall.
11. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 19 November, she felled the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree on the outskirts of Oslo, with the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen.
12. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 20 November, she attended a Vin D'Honneur for the Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic, at the Royal Society of Arts.
13. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 22 November, she attended the Active Westminster Awards at Porchester Hall.
14. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 28 November, she attended the Royal Engineers Annual Awards Dinner at the Institution of Civil Engineers.
15. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 5 December, she led the Lighting Up Ceremony of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, in Trafalgar Square, with Marianne Borgen, the Mayor of Oslo.
16. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 11 December, she attended the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by HM The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
17. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 16 December, she attended a Chanukkah Multi-Faith Celebration at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood.
18. The Lord Mayor to report that, on 19 December, she attended the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords.
19. The Lord Mayor to report ... view the full agenda text for item 3.
3.1 The Lord Mayor referred to these as set out on the agenda.
3.2 The Lord Mayor reminded the council that Holocaust Memorial Day would fall on 27 January, and that this year would commemorate 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
3.3 The council observed a moment of reflection bearing witness to those who had endured genocide and continue to do so and to honour the survivors and all those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition.
Declarations of Interest
4.1 There were no declarations.
Election of The Leader of the Council
To be moved by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party.
(a) To elect a new Leader of the Council. The appointment to be effective immediately.
(b) To consider a Vote of Thanks to the outgoing Leader of the Council.
5.1 It was MOVED by Councillor Tony Devenish and SECONDED by Councillor Melvyn Caplan that Councillor Rachael Robathan be elected Leader of the Council.
Motion put and on a show of hands, declared CARRIED.
5.2 Councillor Robathan replied and in doing so MOVED the vote of thanks to the former Leader Councillor Nickie AIken. Councillor Matthew Green formally seconded the vote of thanks which on a show of hands was declared CARRIED.
That the Council places on record its appreciation of the service rendered by Councillor Nickie Aiken as Leader of the Council for the period from 25 January 2017 to 22 January 2020 and note the many achievements of the City Council during this period.
The Council thanks Councillor Nickie Aiken for all her hard work, effort and leadership in ensuring Westminster City Council takes the lead in tackling challenges experienced by communities and ensuring neighbourhoods are supported to grow and develop.
Under the leadership of Councillor Nickie Aiken more residents will be able to put down roots in Westminster with over 1850 new homes set to be built by 2023; the largest council home building programme for a generation.
As Leader, Councillor Nickie Aiken has listened closely to residents and taken steps to reform the planning system, making it more open and transparent; ultimately giving communities a stronger voice on the issues that directly affect their city.
From the first months of her Leadership, Councillor Nickie Aiken championed the Council’s drive to be cleaner and greener. The #dontbeidle campaign is working to eliminate engine idling from the areas of highest pollution in the city, while the Clean Air Fund is giving schools the resources they need to tackle poor air quality.
Through the introduction of the Community Contribution Councillor Nickie Aiken has given Westminster’s residents the opportunity to give more to their local community with over £900,000 raised to support the most vulnerable people in the city.
Supporting vulnerable communities has been a hallmark of Councillor Nickie Aiken’s leadership. From being one of the first community leaders to demand the reclassification of former legal high, Spice, to bringing partners together to rethink how we tackle rough sleeping council in the country and most recently championing the launch of the Hidden Network campaign to give people to right support to get off the streets for good.
These and her many other achievements will be remembered as valued service to the people of Westminster and those elected to this Council.
Statement on Urgent Matters
With the approval of the Chairman of the meeting, the Leader of the Council may make a statement on an urgent matter and the Leader of the Opposition will have an equivalent right of reply.
6.1 There were none.
Petitions and Deputations, If any
7.1 There were none.
The Lord Mayor will call Members who indicate that they wish to ask a question after the Leader of the Opposition has asked his questions.
8. The questions, supplementary questions and replies are included as an audio recording on the Council’s website
Councillor Aicha Less - “Homeless -V- Intentionally Homeless”
Councillor Elizabeth Hitchcock - Air Quality in Westminster”
Councillor Aicha Less and Councillor Murad Gassanly replied
Air Quality in Westminster
Councillor Elizabeth Hitchcock spoke and Councillor Tim Mitchell replied.
11.1 The meeting accordingly debated this item that had been selected by the Majority Party.
11.2 Prior to the start of the debate the Council heard from guest speaker, Lucia Fyre, who suggested renaming the strategy to Westminster City Council Guardians Strategy.
11.3 The debate will be referred to the Executive Director for consideration when reporting on the subject.
11.4 The Lord Mayor, at the conclusion of the debate, then put the recommendation of the Cabinet to the vote and on a show of hands then declared the recommendation ADOPTED.
1. That the Strategy be adopted.
2. That the corporate parenting plan is reviewed and refreshed annually to drive the council’s corporate responsibility to ensure looked after children and care leavers get the very best experiences in life.
That the revised Guidance on use of social media by Members be adopted.
To receive, consider and debate, if chosen, the following report which contains a recommendation to the Council for decision.
Appendix C - Council Tax Discounts (including Council Tax Local Reduction Scheme) and Council Tax Base report: 2 January 2020
1. That the Council approved the following recommendations to be made to the Council for the financial year 2020/21:-
(i) that the Council Tax discount for second homes remains at 0%
(ii) the Council Tax discounts for empty properties, including the discounts that replaced the previous Class A and C Council Tax exemptions, remain at 0%.
(iii) that a Long-Term Empty Property Premium continues at the maximum percentage allowed for by the current legislation, which is for 2020/21:
- Properties empty between 2 years - 5 years: 100% Increase
- Properties empty over 5 years: 200% Increase
(iv) That the Head of Revenues and Benefits be given delegated authority to determine any individual local discount applications received from
Council Taxpayers during the 2020/21 financial year under section 13A(1)(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
2. That the Council approved the same Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21 which has operated successfully since 2013/14 and that the following be noted: The scheme is based on the Default Scheme Regulations, updated to reflect changes made via the Prescribed Requirements Amendment Regulations and with War Disabled Pensions, War Widow, Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation scheme payments disregarded in full when calculating a claimant’s income. A minor change is proposed for 2020/21. The current scheme applies a capital cut off limit of £16,000, so that anyone with savings of £16,000 or more is not entitled to Council Tax Support. It is proposed that any capital and income received as a result of a charitable or support payment connected with the Grenfell Tower fire is fully disregarded when deciding eligibility for Council Tax Support. This is expected to only apply to a small number of households who have been permanently rehoused in Westminster after losing their homes in the Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk. This is a change recommended by central government to all local authorities.
3. That the Council agreed that the Council Tax Base for 2020/21 for the Whole City is 132,698.31equivalent Band D properties, for Montpelier Square alone 97.08 equivalent Band D properties and for Queen’s Park 3,554.14 equivalent Band D properties.
4. That the Council agreed that the figures as set out in 3. above for the Council Tax Base for 2020/21 be used by the Council to make a determination pursuant to the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
Notice of Motion
Moved by Councillor Adam Hug and seconded by Councillor David Boothroyd
This Council notes the recent decision to bring CityWest Homes back under direct Council control and the recent problems with Council contracting such as Sanctuary Care.
This Council notes and welcomes the recent decision to fulfil the requirements of Living Wage Accreditation. This will reduce the ability of outsourcing companies to slash staff pay and conditions which will limit their capacity to cut costs below that of an in-house provider.
This Council notes the decreasing number of bidders for major contracts and that competition between providers no longer delivers cost savings.
This Council believes that there are benefits for residents to be gained from having Council services under directly accountable democratic control, including greater opportunities for integration and collaboration with other Council services.
This Council resolves to ask the Executive to amend Westminster’s contracting processes to fully consider, where practicable, the option for all Council contracts and services to be delivered in-house when they next come up for renewal or re-tender.
This Council resolves that should the Council wish a service to be delivered by an external company, they must explicitly set out the benefits to the Council and residents of that decision, setting clear benchmarks against which performance can be measured.
This Council resolves to ask the Executive to increase the volume of services delivered directly by Westminster City Council.
The Council resolves to ask the Executive to increase the participation of local SMEs and voluntary sector organisations in Council contracting and procurement, where such contracts are not best delivered in-house.
14.1 The Minority Party had selected for debate the Notice of Motion as set out on the agenda. The Notice of Motion was moved by Councillor Adam Hug and seconded by Councillor David Boothroyd.
14.2 Following debate, the Lord Mayor put the Motion to the vote and on a show of hands declared the Motion LOST.