Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday 20th January, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: This was a virtual meeting

Contact: Reuben Segal, Head of Committee and Governance Services  Email:  rsegal@westminster.gov.uk Tel: 07890 380137

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Relief Chairman

To appoint a relief Chairman.

Minutes:

1.1      It was moved by the Lord Mayor and seconded by Councillor Paul Swaddle that Councillor Judith Warner be elected as Relief Chairman.

 

1.2      Motion put, and on a show of hands, declared CARRIED.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 425 KB

To sign the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 11 November and 9 December 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

2.1      RESOLVED: The minutes of the proceedings at the Council meetings on Wednesday 11 November and Wednesday 9 December 2020 were, with the assent of the Members present, signed by the Lord Mayor as a true record of the proceedings.

 

3.

Lord Mayor's Communications

The Lord Mayor to report that, on November 2nd, he attended the NWEC Oxford Street Lights event.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on November 3rd, he visited Chinatown, an engagement hosted by the Chinese Information and Advice Centre.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on November 4th, he attended the CAPCO Armistice Day Celebration in Covent Garden.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on November 5th, he visited the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on November 20th, he visited St Mary of the Angels School, Bayswater to attend a Poetry Society workshop.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 2nd, he attended the NWEC Bond Street Lights event.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 2nd, he was interviewed by The One Show (Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree)

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 4th, he attended the opening of ‘Paddington Small World’ at Paddington Recreation Ground.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 4th, he attended the Tachbrook Street Christmas Lights event.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 5th, he attended the Regent Street Traffic Free Day event.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 10th, he attended the Concord London Marylebone Square ‘Breaking Ground’ event.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 20th, he attended the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at St John’s Church, Hyde Park.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 22nd, he visited the AGE UK hamper distribution hub to assist volunteers at St John’s Church, Hyde Park.

 

The Lord Mayor to report that, on December 24th, he attended the Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols at Westminster Abbey.

 

Minutes:

3.1      The Lord Mayor referred to these as set out on the agenda.

 

4.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

4.1      There were no declarations.

 

5.

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.

 

Minutes:

5.1      The Leader of the Council, Councillor Rachael Robathan, made an urgent statement and the Council’s response to it.

 

5.2      After Councillor Robathan had spoken the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Adam Hug, replied.

 

6.

Vote of Thanks to the former Lord Mayor, Councillor Ruth Bush

Minutes:

6.1       Councillor Guthrie McKie gave the first speech in thanks to the former Lord Mayor, Councillor Ruth Bush and her Consorts, Dr Hannah Robbins, Thomas Bush and Foluke Gale-Hay for their distinguished service to the city of Westminster in the previous municipal year.

6.2       Councillor Rachael Robathan also spoke and thanked the former Lord Mayor and her Consorts.

 

6.3       Councillor Ruth Bush then gave the reply.

 

6.4       The Lord Mayor advised that the various insignia and the Vote of Thanks

            inscribed under the Common Seal will be presented to Councillor Bush and her Consorts at a future civic event when circumstances allow.

 

 

7.

Petitions and Deputations, if any

Minutes:

7.1      There were no petitions or deputations received.

 

8.

Questions

 

The Lord Mayor will call members who have previously indicated that they wished to ask a question in accordance with the circulated list after the Leader of the Opposition has asked his questions

 

Minutes:

8.1      The questions, supplementary questions and replies are included as a recording on the Council’s website.

 

9.

Councillor Issues

Councillor Mark Shearer: Council 3.0 and Westminster Connects

 

Councillor Andrea Mann: A tale of two cities; inequality in Westminster

Minutes:

           Council 3.0 and Westminster Connects

 

9.1      Councillor Mark Shearer spoke and Councillor Heather Acton replied.

 

           A tale of two Cities; Inequality in Westminster

 

           Councillor Andrea Mann spoke and Councillor Rachael Robathan replied.     .

 

10.

Future Policy Plan pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To consider items chosen for debate from the attached Future Policy Plan.

Minutes:

10.1    The meeting debated the item chosen for debate from the Future Policy Plan by the Majority Party.

 

           Climate Emergency

 

10.2    The Majority Party had selected item number 24 on the Future Policy Plan,Climate Emergency.  The debate will be referred to the relevant Executive Director for consideration when reporting on the subject.

 

11.

Council Tax Discounts (including Council Tax Local Reduction Scheme) and Council Tax Base pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Report of the Cabinet: 14 December 2020

Minutes:

Report of the Cabinet (14 December 2020):  Council Tax Discounts

and Council Tax Base

 

           RESOLVED:

 

1.              That the Council approved the following recommendations for the financial year 2021/22:-

 

(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 2021/22:

 

-          Properties empty between 2 years - 5 years:       100% Increase

-          Properties empty between 5 years – 10 years:     200% Increase

-          Properties empty over 10 years:                      300% Increase

 

(iv)      that the Director of Revenues & Benefits be given delegated authority to easHejhfifhjdetermine any individual local discount applications received from Council Taxpayers during the 2021/22 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 2021/22 which has operated successfully since 2013/14. 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.

 

3.        That the Council resolved that the Council Tax Base for    2021/22 for the Whole City is 133,817.98equivalent Band D properties, for Montpelier Square alone 100.40 equivalent Band D        properties and for Queen’s Park 3,514.63 equivalent Band D properties.

 

4.        That the Council resolved that the   figures set out in paragraph 2.3 of the report for the Council Tax Base for 2021/22 be used by the Council to make a determination pursuant to the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

 

 

 

12.

Proposed Changes to Policy and Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Report of the Director of Law

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

12.1    That Council agreed the reorganisation of the Policy and Scrutiny Committees with the terms of reference and proportionality as set out in Appendix A to the report

 

13.

Notices of Motion

To be moved by Councillor Tim Roca and seconded by Councillor Nafsika Butler-Thalassis:

 

This Council notes, as we endure a third national lockdown, that many children are again facing the reality of online teaching without adequate computer equipment or broadband connectivity. Teachers and parents across our City are continuing to report shortages of devices for pupils and access to education is being negatively impacted. There are also reports of schools where teaching staff are still in need of laptops and other ICT equipment.

 

The education of our children is crucial and therefore this Council resolves to:

 

1.              Ensure proper data is collected across state-funded schools in Westminster

to understand the need/gaps for electronic devices and connectivity as soon as possible;

 

2.                 Ensure that by whatever means necessary, including a recommendation to

Cabinet for direct Council funding, an appropriate electronic device is provided to all pupils eligible for free school meals who require one, and to other children identified at the discretion of the school as being in need, as soon as possible and no later than 1st February 2021.

 

3.              Ensure that by whatever means necessary, including a recommendation to

Cabinet for direct Council funding, adequate internet connectivity is provided to all pupils eligible for free school meals who require it, and to other children identified at the discretion of the school as being in need, as soon as possible and no later than 1st February 2021.

 

4.              Ensure that by whatever means necessary, including a recommendation to

Cabinet for direct Council funding, all teaching staff have appropriate electronic devices for classes, as soon as possible and no later than 1st ssFebruary 2021.

 

Minutes:

13.1    The Labour Party had selected for debate the Notice of Motion          (Provision of IT and Connectivity for School Aged Children for Home Schooling) as set out on the agenda.  The Notice of Motion was moved by Councillor Tim Roca and seconded by Councillor Butler-Thalassis

 

13.2    Councillor Tim Barnes moved and it was seconded by Councillor Paul Swaddle that the Notice of Motion be amended, as follows:

 

The education of our children is crucial and therefore this Council resolves to:
 

1.        Ensure proper data is collected across state-funded schools in   Westminster to understand the need/gaps for electronic devices and       connectivity as soon as possible;

 

2.        Ensure that by whatever means necessary, including a recommendation to Cabinet for direct Council funding, an appropriate electronic device is provided to all pupils eligible for free school meals who     require one, and to other children identified at the discretion of the school as being in need, as soon as possible and no later than 1st February 2021.


3.       Ensure that by whatever means necessary, including a           recommendation to Cabinet for direct Council funding adequate internet    connectivity is provided to all pupils eligible for free school meals who    require it, and to other children identified at the discretion of the       school as being in need, as soon as possible and no later than   1st February 2021.

 

4.        Ensure that by whatever means necessary, including a recommendation to Cabinet for direct Council funding, all teaching staff       have appropriate electronic devices for classes, as soon as possible and no later than 1st February 2021.

 

13.3    Following debate, The Lord Mayor put the amendment to the motion to the vote and following an electronic poll declared the amendment to the motion CARRIED.

 

13.4    The Lord Mayor then put the substantive motion as amended to the vote and following an electronic poll declared the substantive motion as amended CARRIED.

 

The education of our children is crucial and therefore this Council resolves to:
 
1.        Ensure proper data is collected across state-funded schools in               Westminster to understand the need/gaps for electronic devices and            connectivity as soon as possible;


           2.        Ensure an appropriate electronic device is provided to all children                      identified as being in need, as soon as possible and no later                                       than 1st February 2021.

        3.          Ensure adequate internet connectivity is provided to all children                          identified as being in need, as soon as possible and no later than                               1st February 2021.


4.          Ensure teaching staff have appropriate electronic devices for classes,           as soon as possible and no later than 1st February 2021.