Agenda item

Motions

To debate the motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 41.

 

Members are asked to note that the motions submitted will be circulated as a supplementary paper in advance of the meeting, in accordance with Standing Order 41(c).

Decision:

17.1  The following motion submitted by the Labour Group was approved:

 

This Council notes:

·                It is now twenty-eight months since the referendum in which 72,523 Brent residents voted by a clear majority, to maintain the current benefits Britons enjoy, by staying in the European Union.

·                In the months since, the “Vote Leave” campaign has been fined by the Electoral Commission, and, the Chancellor has conceded that leaving the EU without a deal would blast an £80bn black hole in the creaking public finances.

·                Those that voted to leave, did not vote to be poorer. But it is some of our poorest residents that will be hardest hit; with a squeeze in living standards brought on by increased inflation and the depreciation of the pound.

·                That, despite promises to the contrary, Government engagement of local political leaders has been virtually non-existent.

·                That the London Assembly, the neighbouring boroughs of Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham have all passed motions that back a “People’s Vote” on the final deal and an option to stay within the European Union.

 

This Council believes:

·                That Brent is better off together. And put simply, we are a global borough, united in opposition to any form of Brexit that has deleterious effects on our residents.

·                That leaving the EU will disproportionately impact Brent, not least because Brent has the second highest number of European residents in London. Moreover, many of the public services our residents rely upon, from their GP to their waste collection, are provided by dedicated European citizens.

·                That any deal which undermines the principles of the hard-fought “Good Friday Agreement” should face wholesale rejection.

·                It is evident that a calamitous Brexit will hurt all but the very richest, and that it will be our children, for the first time, poorer, less prosperous, with fewer opportunities than the generation before.

 

With this in mind, this Council resolves to:

·                Voice its concern against any arrangement that damages the rights or prospects of EU nationals in this proudly diverse borough.

·                Work with organisations representing EU nationals to help address the uncertainty that this careless Government has left in its wake.

·                To liaise with local businesses, public sector partners, trade unions and our colleagues at the West London Alliance to ensure that Brent remains open for business throughout any transition period.

·                Call upon Parliament to entrust the British people with a meaningful vote on the final deal; with options to remain in the European Union upon the ballot paper.

 

17.2  The following motion submitted by the Conservative Group was not approved:

 

This Council calls upon the Executive to undertake to repair all of the pavements across the Borough within the next 12 months, in light of the increasing numbers of residents being admitted to hospital after tripping on poor quality pavements.  Brent Council acknowledges that it has a duty of care to its residents, ensuring that the elderly can walk safely without fear of injury, that children can ride their bikes and scooters without being thrown off by rubbish quality pavements.

 

Brent Council Executive should also commit to opening its transparency, by placing online, the repair schedule for each and every pavement in Brent.  The Council commits to ensuring that this schedule is easily accessible, and promoted on the Brent Council social media pages, so that all residents in Brent can hold their elected Council to account, and ensure they are delivering on the works they promised, on time, to schedule, and to budget.

 

The decision not to approve the above motion was subject to a recorded vote with members voting as follows:

 

For (3): Councillors Colwill, Kansagra and Maurice

 

Against (45): Councillors Abdi, Aden, Agha, S.Butt, Chan, Chappell, Chohan, S Choudhary, Choudry, Daly, Dar, Dixon, Donnelly-Jackson, Ethapemi, Farah, Gbajumo, Gill, Hassan, Hector, Hirani, Hylton, Kabir, Kelcher, Kennelly, Knight, Long, Mashari, McLeish, McLennan, Miller, Murray, Naheerathan, Nerva, M.Patel, R.Patel, Patterson, Perrin, Sangani, Shahzad, Ketan Sheth, Krupa Sheth, Southwood, Stephens, Tatler and Thakkar.

 

Abstain (2): Councillors Johnson and Mitchell Murray.

 

17.3  The following motion submitted by the Labour Group was approved:

 

This Council notes that many council budgets are now at Breaking Point. Austerity has caused huge damage to communities up and down the UK, with devastating effects on key public services that protect the most defenceless in society – children at risk, disabled adults and vulnerable older people – and the services we all rely on, like clean streets, libraries, and the teachers in our schools.

 

           Government cuts mean that Brent has £177m less to invest in essential and much loved public services than under the last Labour government in 2010;

           With an aging population and growing demand adult social care faces a gap of £3.5 billion – with only 14% of council staff now confident that vulnerable local residents are safe and cared for;

           Government cuts have seen local authorities left with impossible choices, and 80% of council staff now say they have no confidence in the future of local services;

           Brent schools will have lost out on more than £6k per pupil over the last decade, equating to a loss of an entire academic year’s funding;

           Northamptonshire has already gone bust due to Tory incompetence at both national and local level, and more councils are predicted to collapse without immediate emergency funding;

           Councils now face a further funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025 just to keep services ‘standing still’ and meeting additional demand. Even Lord Gary Porter, the Conservative Chair of the Local Government Association, has said ‘Councils can no longer be expected to run our vital local services on a shoestring’.

This Council condemns Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss MP for stating on BBC Newsnight on 1st October 2018 that the government is “not making cuts to local authorities”, when all independent assessments of government spending show that this is entirely false; and that this Council further notes that Prime Minister Theresa May has also claimed that “austerity is over” despite planning a further £1.3bn of cuts to council budgets over the next year.

 

This Council agreeswith the aims of the ‘Breaking Point’ petition signed by Brent Labour councillors, in calling forthe Prime Minister and Chancellor to truly end austerity in Local Government by:

 

           Using the Budget to reverse next years planned £1.3bn cut to council budgets; and

           Pledging to use the Spending Review to restore council funding to 2010 levels over the next four years.

 

This Council resolves to:

 

·                Support the ‘Breaking Point’ campaign, recognising the devastating impact that austerity has had on our local community.

 

·                Ask the Leader of the Council to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government setting out the funding pressures faced by Brent Council, and calling on the Government to truly end austerity in Local Government.

Minutes:

18.1  Motion from the Labour Group – People’s Vote

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Nerva to move the motion he had submitted on behalf of the Labour Group who began by highlighting, in respect of the 22% of residents currently living in Brent that were EU citizens, how they were regarded by the Council as community makers and not “queue jumpers”.  Having reminded members of the background to the original Referendum he felt the biggest challenge remained tackling austerity which Brexit would only make worse.  Given that Brent had voted to remain at the original Referendum and that recent research had demonstrated the extent to which a majority of individuals were expected to be worse off financial as a result of Brexit he felt there was a need to demonstrate true leadership in the form of support for a People’s Vote, including remain as an option in order to allow reform from within.

 

Before moving on to open up the debate, the Mayor reminded Members of the procedure now in operation for Motions as a result of the changes agreed earlier to Standing Orders.  A total of 30 minutes was now set aside for dealing with Motions, based on a total of 10 minutes being allocated for debate on each of the three motions received.  Within this time, once each Motion had been moved the debate would be opened up for any other Members to speak for which they would each have up to 2 minutes prior to any right of reply.  The Mayor then invited other Members to speak on the motion, with the following contributions received.

 

Councillor Daly, in seconding the motion, made reference to a quote from Tony Blair in 1998 relating to signing of the Good Friday Agreement and to the significance of the peace delivered as a result, which she felt was now at risk as a result of Brexit.  Given the greater understanding around the impact of Brexit not only economically, but also in terms of the Union, local communities and on relationships with neighbouring countries she felt people deserved to be given an opportunity to pause and to think again and was therefore supportive of the motion and call for a People’s Vote.

 

In terms of other contributions, Councillor Naheerathan highlighted a need to consider the impact of the current process on the rights of those EU citizens currently living in the UK whilst Councillor Colwill felt it important to recognise that the overall majority of those who had voted in the Referendum had chosen to leave with the result needing to be honoured.

 

In view of the remaining time available, the Mayor then invited Councillor Nerva to exercise his right of reply who thanked Members for their contributions and responded by highlighting what he felt had been the cry for help from many communities seeking relief from the impact of austerity, which the vote for Brexit had represented.  Given the implications of Brexit were now much clearer than they had been at the time of the original Referendum he felt people deserved the chance to reconsider the position and therefore commended the motion for approval.

 

The Mayor then put the motion (as set out below) to a vote, by show of hands, which was declared CARRIED:

 

“This Council notes:

·                It is now twenty-eight months since the referendum in which 72,523 Brent residents voted by a clear majority, to maintain the current benefits Britons enjoy, by staying in the European Union.

·                In the months since, the “Vote Leave” campaign has been fined by the Electoral Commission, and, the Chancellor has conceded that leaving the EU without a deal would blast an £80bn black hole in the creaking public finances.

·                Those that voted to leave, did not vote to be poorer. But it is some of our poorest residents that will be hardest hit; with a squeeze in living standards brought on by increased inflation and the depreciation of the pound.

·                That, despite promises to the contrary, Government engagement of local political leaders has been virtually non-existent.

·                That the London Assembly, the neighbouring boroughs of Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham have all passed motions that back a “People’s Vote” on the final deal and an option to stay within the European Union.

 

This Council believes:

·                That Brent is better off together. And put simply, we are a global borough, united in opposition to any form of Brexit that has deleterious effects on our residents.

·                That leaving the EU will disproportionately impact Brent, not least because Brent has the second highest number of European residents in London. Moreover, many of the public services our residents rely upon, from their GP to their waste collection, are provided by dedicated European citizens.

·                That any deal which undermines the principles of the hard-fought “Good Friday Agreement” should face wholesale rejection.

·                It is evident that a calamitous Brexit will hurt all but the very richest, and that it will be our children, for the first time, poorer, less prosperous, with fewer opportunities than the generation before.

 

With this in mind, this Council resolves to:

·                Voice its concern against any arrangement that damages the rights or prospects of EU nationals in this proudly diverse borough.

·                Work with organisations representing EU nationals to help address the uncertainty that this careless Government has left in its wake.

·                To liaise with local businesses, public sector partners, trade unions and our colleagues at the West London Alliance to ensure that Brent remains open for business throughout any transition period.

·                Call upon Parliament to entrust the British people with a meaningful vote on the final deal; with options to remain in the European Union upon the ballot paper.”

 

18.2  Motion from the Conservative Group – Pavement Repairs

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Colwill to move the motion, submitted on behalf of the Conservative Group, who highlighted what he felt was a duty of care to local residents in terms of addressing the poor quality of repair of many pavements across the borough.  As an action arising from the motion he advised Members he was seeking greater transparency in terms of the pavement repair programme and timescales.

 

The Mayor then invited other Members to speak on the motion, with the following contributions received.

 

Councillor Long highlighted support for the programme of tarmac rather than block paving being rolled out in parts of the borough.

 

Councillors Naheerathan and Mitchell Murray, whilst also raising concerns regarding the quality of repair of pavements in their wards advised they could not support the motion in principle given the pressure on funds available as a result of Government funding reductions and the practicality of producing a detailed timetable for the scheduling of all repairs.

 

Councillor Miller, opposing the motion, advised he was concerned that no indication had been included of costs associated with the proposal which he felt needed to be provided as part of any amendment or change in Council policy being sought.

 

Councillor Maurice advised that he would be supporting the motion, given what he felt to be the dangerous state of repair of many roads and pavements in the borough and potential implications should any serious injury or death be caused as a result.

 

Councillor Chan advised that whilst supportive of repairs being undertaken to damaged pavements he was concerned at the priority given to this issue by the Conservative Group when compared to the financial pressures being faced by many other local services such as police, fire and schools as a result of the Governments ongoing programme of austerity.

 

As no other members indicated they wished to speak, the Mayor then invited Councillor Colwill to exercise his right of reply.  In summing up, Councillor Colwill felt sufficient funds were available to complete a programme of repair but felt this needed to be matched by a will to do so in terms of the Council’s duty of care for its residents.

 

Prior to the Mayor then putting the motion to a vote, Councillor Colwill (in accordance with Standing Order 43 (c) and as Leader of the Conservative Group) requested a recorded vote.  Having confirmed the request, the Chief Executive therefore undertook a recorded vote and on this being completed the motion (as set out below) was declared LOST.

 

“This Council calls upon the Executive to undertake to repair all of the pavements across the Borough within the next 12 months, in light of the increasing numbers of residents being admitted to hospital after tripping on poor quality pavements.  Brent Council acknowledges that it has a duty of care to its residents, ensuring that the elderly can walk safely without fear of injury, that children can ride their bikes and scooters without being thrown off by rubbish quality pavements.

 

Brent Council Executive should also commit to opening its transparency, by placing online, the repair schedule for each and every pavement in Brent.  The Council commits to ensuring that this schedule is easily accessible, and promoted on the Brent Council social media pages, so that all residents in Brent can hold their elected Council to account, and ensure they are delivering on the works they promised, on time, to schedule, and to budget.”

 

Voting on the above Motion was recorded as follows:

 

For the Motion (3)

 

Councillors Colwill, Kansagra and Maurice

 

Against the Motion (45)

 

Councillors Abdirazak, Aden, Agha, S.Butt, Chan, Chappell, Chohan, S.Choudhary, A.Choudry, Daly, Dar, Dixon, Donnelly-Jackson, Ethapemi, Farah, Gbajumo, Gill, Hassan, Hector, Hirani, Hylton, Kabir, Kelcher, Kennelly, Knight, Long, Mashari, McLeish, McLennan, Miller, Murray, Naheerathan, Nerva, M Patel, R Patel, Patterson, Perrin, Sangani, Shahzad, Ketan Sheth, Krupa Sheth, Southwood, Stephens, Tatler, Thakkar.

 

Abstentions to the Amendment (2)

 

Councillors Johnson and Mitchell Murray.

 

18.3  Motion from the Labour Group – Breaking Point

 

The Mayor then invited Councillor Patterson to move the second motion submitted on behalf of the Labour Group who began by highlighting what he felt to be the huge damage being caused to local services and Council budgets as a result of the Government’s programme of austerity.  As a result of the significant reductions in Government funding, he pointed out that many Councils were now at breaking point with some of the most severe impact being experienced by the most vulnerable members of society – children at risk, disabled adults and the elderly.  In terms of Brent, Government funding reductions had meant the Council had £177m less to invest in essential services with its schools having lost out on more than £6k per pupil in funding over the last decade, which equated to the loss of an entire academic year’s funding.  With Council’s now faced by a further funding gap of £7.8b nationally by 2025 just to keep services standing still and meet additional demand he urged Members to support the motion seeking an end to austerity and in support of the “Breaking Point” campaign.

 

The Mayor then invited other Members to speak on the motion, with the following contributions received.

 

Councillor Chan in seconding the motion felt it was important to recognise the severity of the impact being created by austerity on education and schools highlighting the projected loss nationally of approx. £2.8b worth of funding in real terms in relation to education and schools budgets.  Although the Government had recently announced an additional £500m funding for schools he felt that in real terms this would have minimal impact on the difficulties being experienced by teachers, governors, parents and students in maintaining the level of services and support required.  Given the background and damaged being caused by the Government’s programme of austerity he also urged all members to support the motion.

 

At this stage in proceedings, the Mayor advised that as the remaining time available for the meeting was shortly due to expire he would be moving the suspension of Standing Order 44 (Council Guillotine Procedure) in order to extend the time of the meeting by 2 minutes and enable the debate on the Motion to be concluded.  In accordance with Standing Order 42 (d) the procedural motion was put to the vote without further discussion and AGREED.

 

As a final contribution to the debate Councillor Kansagra was then invited to speak by the Mayor, who felt it important to highlight the increased levels of funding being provided by the Government on education and impact this was having in raising standards and levels of attainment.  From his perspective the issue needing to be addressed related to the decisions being made about how the funding available was being prioritised and allocated rather than the levels being received.  For these reasons he advised the Conservative Group would not be supporting the motion.

 

The Mayor then invited Councillor Patterson to close the debate.  As Councillor Patterson advised he had no further comments to make in exercising his right of reply the Mayor then put the motion (as set out below) to a vote, by show of hands, which was declared CARRIED:

 

“This Council notes that many council budgets are now at Breaking Point. Austerity has caused huge damage to communities up and down the UK, with devastating effects on key public services that protect the most defenceless in society – children at risk, disabled adults and vulnerable older people – and the services we all rely on, like clean streets, libraries, and the teachers in our schools.

 

           Government cuts mean that Brent has £177m less to invest in essential and much loved public services than under the last Labour government in 2010;

           With an aging population and growing demand adult social care faces a gap of £3.5 billion – with only 14% of council staff now confident that vulnerable local residents are safe and cared for;

           Government cuts have seen local authorities left with impossible choices, and 80% of council staff now say they have no confidence in the future of local services;

           Brent schools will have lost out on more than £6k per pupil over the last decade, equating to a loss of an entire academic year’s funding;

           Northamptonshire has already gone bust due to Tory incompetence at both national and local level, and more councils are predicted to collapse without immediate emergency funding;

           Councils now face a further funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025 just to keep services ‘standing still’ and meeting additional demand. Even Lord Gary Porter, the Conservative Chair of the Local Government Association, has said ‘Councils can no longer be expected to run our vital local services on a shoestring’.

 

This Council condemns Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss MP for stating on BBC Newsnight on 1st October 2018 that the government is “not making cuts to local authorities”, when all independent assessments of government spending show that this is entirely false; and that this Council further notes that Prime Minister Theresa May has also claimed that “austerity is over” despite planning a further £1.3bn of cuts to council budgets over the next year.

 

This Council agrees with the aims of the ‘Breaking Point’ petition signed by Brent Labour councillors, in calling forthe Prime Minister and Chancellor to truly end austerity in Local Government by:

 

           Using the Budget to reverse next years planned £1.3bn cut to council budgets; and

           Pledging to use the Spending Review to restore council funding to 2010 levels over the next four years.

 

This Council resolves to:

 

·                Support the ‘Breaking Point’ campaign, recognising the devastating impact that austerity has had on our local community.

 

·                Ask the Leader of the Council to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government setting out the funding pressures faced by Brent Council, and calling on the Government to truly end austerity in Local Government.”

Supporting documents: