Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Ian Cockill Governance Officer
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To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the following meetings for signature by the Mayor as Chair of the Council:
To receive any announcements from the Mayor, Leader of the Council, Members of the Executive, Chairs of Scrutiny Committees and the Head of Paid Service.
Questions By Members
This is an opportunity for Members of Council to ask the Mayor, Members of the Executive or the Chairs of any Committee or Sub-Committee a question on notice under Procedure Rule 10.2.
Membership of Committees and Outside Bodies
To note that the Chief Executive, under delegated authority, agreed the appointment of Councillor Butt to the Greater Manchester Waste and Recycling Committee as a replacement for Councillor Shaw, effective from 18 January 2021.
To note a report of the Executive Member for Finance and Governance.
To consider the following motions submitted in accordance with Procedure Rule 11:
Motion Submitted by the Labour Group - Poverty Emergency
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges across all sections of society, it has deepened existing inequalities, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable communities the hardest. It has put a spotlight on economic inequalities and fragile social safety nets that have left vulnerable communities bearing the brunt of the crisis. Both the health and economic consequences of the pandemic will be long lasting. It threatens to compound the damage done to low-income households by ten years of austerity.
Even prior to the pandemic poverty across the UK was increasing, particularly among low-income families. The independent Resolution Foundation predicted that by 2023-24 the proportion of children living in relative poverty (after housing costs) is on course to hit 37% – exceeding the previous record high of 34% in the early 1990s.
This motion recognises that some temporary steps have been taken by government to support some low-income families during the pandemic but that these have fallen well short of preventing more people falling into hardship and deprivation. Notes that this support is a drop in the ocean compared the £37 billion cut from working-age and family benefits since 2010.
It is not surprising therefore that we have seen a huge increase in the number of people using foodbanks and relying on other voluntary and community sector support in recent years. In spite of this huge level of need and rising levels of poverty, the UK government does not have a poverty strategy in place.
It is in this context that we are declaring a Poverty Emergency.
As a local authority, working with partners across the private, public and voluntary, faith and community sectors, we commit to doing what we can to prevent and reduce poverty as well as mitigating against the worst effects of central government policy. We are urging the government to take urgent steps to respond to growing levels of poverty across the country, whilst working to maximise what the council can do locally to address the issue.
Building on the Trafford Poverty Strategy 2021/22 approved by Executive in December 2020, this council resolves to:
· Formally acknowledge the rising levels of poverty so widely evidenced over the past decade and further exacerbated by the dual crises of pandemic and recession.
· Implement the actions set out in the Trafford Poverty Strategy 2021/22 (approved by Executive in December 2020).
· Support people experiencing poverty to have their voices heard through the establishment of a Poverty Truth Commission and other mechanisms.
· Recognise socio-economic deprivation as an equalities issue. Acknowledging that the stress of being poor and in crisis has a detrimental impact on health, including mental health and wellbeing, achievement, life chances, participation, resilience and social cohesion.
· Commit to taking socio-economic status into account when making decisions, alongside the requirement to assess decisions against protected characteristics under the Equalities Act.
· Write to the government calling on them to introduce a UK wide poverty strategy and to urgently improve the value of support provided to low income households through the social security system, including ... view the full agenda text for item 6a
Motion Submitted by the Labour Group - All-Party Parliamentary Group Definition of Islamophobia
Trafford is proud of its diversity as a huge asset and a source of great strength. A substantial proportion of its residents are Muslim, who are an integral part of its make-up, playing a huge role in all aspects of the borough’s life.
Trafford Council has a strong history of promoting cohesion and welcoming people from all over the world. Its residents have always united and supported each other in the fight against racism and discrimination in all its forms.
"Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness."
Contemporary examples of Islamophobia in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in encounters between religions and non-religions in the public sphere could, considering the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
· Calling for, aiding, instigating or justifying the killing or harming of Muslims in the name of a racist/fascist ideology, or an extremist view of religion.
· Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Muslims as such, or of Muslims as a collective group, such as, especially but not exclusively, conspiracies about Muslim entryism in politics, government or other societal institutions; the myth of Muslim identity having a unique propensity for terrorism and claims of a demographic ‘threat’ posed by Muslims or of a ‘Muslim takeover’.
· Accusing Muslims as a group of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Muslim person or group of Muslim individuals, or even for acts committed by non-Muslims.
· Accusing Muslims as a group, or Muslim majority states, of inventing or exaggerating Islamophobia, ethnic cleansing or genocide perpetrated against Muslims.
· Accusing Muslim citizens of being more loyal to the ‘Ummah’ (transnational Muslim community) or to their countries of origin, or to the alleged priorities of Muslims worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
· Denying Muslim populations, the right to self-determination e.g., by claiming that the existence of an independent Palestine or Kashmir is a terrorist endeavour.
· Applying double standards by requiring of Muslims behaviours that are not expected or demanded of any other groups in society, e.g. loyalty tests.
· Using the symbols and images associated with classic Islamophobia.
· Holding Muslims collectively responsible for the actions of any Muslim majority state, whether secular or constitutionally Islamic.
This Council asks the Chief Executive of the Council to:
1. Write to government ministers asking them to listen to Muslim communities and the cross-party group of MPs and peers and to adopt this definition of Islamophobia which classifies discrimination against Muslims as a form of racism.
2. Continue to prioritise tackling hate crime and Islamophobia in partnership. Trafford Council works with partners, especially Greater Manchester Police, on a rolling basis, and will now coordinate future actions in line with this definition of Islamophobia for all Muslims.
Motion Submitted by the Labour Group - Council Core Spending Power Increase and Reliance on Council Tax Increases
This Council notes that:
i. On 25 November 2020, the government set out the outcome of the 2020 Spending Review, suggesting that core spending power for councils in England would increase from £49.0 billion to £51.2 billion in 2021/22, an estimated 4.5% cash-terms increase and a rise in real terms.
ii. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s provisional local government finance settlement 2021/22 supplies the detail behind the increase and conducted a 4 week consultation between 17 December 2020 and 16 January 2021.
iii. The data behind the provisional settlement shows that, when the government suggested in the 2020 Spending Review an estimated 4.5% cash-terms increase for councils in England, they are in fact assuming that councils in England will increase council tax by 1.99% and the adult social care precept by 3% to raise £1.92 billion from council tax payers in England in 2021/22.
iv. Consequently within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s core spending calculations for councils in England, the government contribution element constitutes only 13% of the overall increase of £2.2 billion - so, of the stated overall increase of 4.5%, only 0.6% (£292.7 million) amounts to a financial contribution from government.
v. The government’s 2020 Spending Review and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s provisional local government finance settlement 2021/22 set against a backdrop of 10 years of austerity and local government cuts, which has seen Trafford Council face huge budget cuts as a result of unfunded pressures and the phasing out of the revenue support grant.
This Council recognises that:
i. The underlying assumptions within consecutive government Spending Reviews and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s core spending power calculations for councils in England has been to force councils in England to increase council tax and precepts and passport the costs of any increases onto local council tax payers.
ii. The government has failed numerous times over a number of years to hit its own deadlines to publish details of care system reforms for adults with disabilities and the elderly, which has resulted in the government introducingthe Adult Social Care (ASC) precept in 2016/17, with no national funding solution still on thehorizon.
iii. The fair funding review for local government has also been delayed for a second year, with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirming in April 2020 that the implementation of the review will not go ahead in 2021/22 to allow councils to focus on meeting the immediate public health challenge posed by the pandemic.
Therefore, this Council calls on the Conservative Government to:
i. Urgently increase the overall funding provided by the government to all councils in England from the government’s £292.7 million in the core spending power calculations to at least the £1.92 billion that would allow councils in England to mitigate the impact(s) on local council tax payers.
ii. Urgently resolve the adult social care funding crisis and bring forward proposals to mitigate the ... view the full agenda text for item 6c
Motion Submitted by the Liberal Democrats Group - Responding to Greater Manchester Police Special Measures
This Council notes with deep concern:
- The December 17th announcement that Greater Manchester Police will enter the ‘engage’ phase of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMIC) formal monitoring process.
- That this is only the second time a police force has required this level of intervention.
- That 80,100 crimes went unrecorded in the year ending 30June 2020, equating to 220 crimes each day or one in five crimes in total across the period.
- That HMIC has indicated that one in four violent crimes went unrecorded.
- The failure of the force to improve after initial concerns were raised by the Inspectorate in 2016, indicating a serious lack of organisation and leadership within Greater Manchester Police.
- That the inspectorate has estimated a drop of 11.3% in recorded crimes since 2018.
- That the inspectorate found that some investigations had been wrongly and prematurely concluded.
- The resignation and ill health of former Chief Superintendent Ian Hopkins. The Council thanks him for his service to the city region.
This Council also notes that:
- The majority of Greater Manchester Police staff perform their duties with a high degree of dedication and professionalism and this Council thanks them for their service in challenging times.
- Since 2016, GMP has endured frontline cuts amounting to 33% of its PCSOs and 6% of its support staff.
- This places GMP at a significant disadvantage given that since 2016, the average cut to PCSOs across England and Wales has been 6%.
The Council recognises the significant challenge that coronavirus has posed to policing and gives thanks to all GMP personnel, who work tirelessly to protect communities across Trafford.
This Council welcomes the publication of the Police Foundations first report, ‘The Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales’ which was published in July 2020. The report highlights the difficulties that our police forces face, placing them in the context of severe police cuts which Conservative governments continue to pursue.
This Council particularly notes (from the above report):
- ‘… the critical importance of developing the public dialogue in relation to policing and public safety. Substantive strategic change is unlikely to be achieved while the public understanding of ‘what the police do’ extends very little beyond functions.’
This council resolves to:
- Extend its full support and cooperation to GMP, HMIC and other affiliated stakeholders throughout the monitoring process.
- Work towards the Police Foundations objective of preventative, community focused policing by highlighting opportunities to bring local officers and residents together at a borough and ward level.
- Request that the Mayor of Greater Manchester provides a detailed report to Trafford Council indicating the action plan that will be undertaken in order to return policing in the Borough and the city region to an efficient and effective level.
Motion Submitted by the Liberal Democrats Group - Encouraging Public Transport Use Through Employer-linked Season Ticket Purchases
“This Council notes that:
In his article for the Daily Telegraph ‘Tax Relief just the Ticket’ (6 October 2013), journalist Boris Johnson called for employees to be ‘allowed to pay for their season tickets from their pre-tax income.’
Mr Johnson advocated for the introduction of a new tax relief scheme, limited to the basic rate, whereby ‘the employer would buy the season ticket and deduct the cost from his or her (employee’s) pay packet – and only then would the employee be assessed for tax.’
The impact of such a scheme would mean that employees would have less taxable income reducing their liability for income tax and national insurance and the employer would also save on national insurance contributions.
An Annual Metrolink ticket from Altrincham to the City Centre costs a commuter £1,154.
A Northern Rail season train ticket from Urmston to Oxford Road costs a commuter £944.
Such a scheme would represent a significant financial incentive for working Trafford residents who need to commute to resume public transport when they feel safe to do so in greater numbers.
Council further notes that:
Now Mr Johnson is Prime Minister he has it within his power to put his aspirations for tax relief on seasonal travel tickets into practice.
Council resolves to:
Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer to request that the Government introduces a scheme for commuters to have the cost of public transport season tickets.
Motion Submitted by the Labour Group - Condemning the Government's Inadequate Response to the Basic Needs of Students, Schools and Colleges During the Pandemic
This Council believes:
The impact of COVID 19 on the lives of all Trafford residents has been severe. Children’s education has been particularly affected with schools locked down for two significant periods over the last 12 months. Increasing unemployment and levels of poverty as a result of the pandemic have also provided a stark reminder of the reality of child hunger in the UK and the importance the provision of Free School Meals plays in combating this injustice. These damaging childhood experiences have been made worse by a series of incompetent decisions made by the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williams MP. These mistakes rank among the worst the government has made during the pandemic because of their impact, as well as being avoidable if the Secretary of State had demonstrated trust in teachers and their democratically elected representatives in Parliament and the unions. These serious mistakes include:
· In March 2020 the government ordered schools to close with no clear direction or guidance on how they should conduct learning at a distance, either in what the online lessons should be or how pupils without technology could get access. The Secretary of State failed to deliver the number of laptops promised for disadvantaged students in the first lockdown. Now, by the Education Secretary’s own estimate, the roll out of one million devices will not be reached until the end of January – two thirds of the way through the current lockdown. With last summer squandered by the Department for Education (DfE), it is galling that this remains an issue. The result has been that the gap between pupils in high and low achieving schools has widened and continues to do so.
· The catastrophe of the 2020 GCSE and A-level results stemmed from a decision that grade inflation should be avoided and a lack of regard for the injustices that Ofqual’s algorithm would produce, for individuals and social groups, as well as a failure to set up an extensive appeals process.
· The U-turn on 2020 exam results after five days meant that universities had already filled up many places. That led to a scramble in which some would take more pupils (requiring more funding), some would force pupils to defer their places with a knock-on effect on 2021, and some would be left underfunded, without enough pupils to fill their places.
· Experienced teachers, headteachers, unions and parents identified in July 2020 that GCSE and A-Levels in 2021 could not possibly take place fairly due to the wide ranging amounts of time Year 10 and 12 students had lost from the classroom and they called for internal assessments with external moderation. It took until early January 2021 for the Secretary of State to announce to Parliament that internal assessments would replace externally assessed exams but still without any details allowing teachers, students and parents to effectively plan for them.
This Council calls for:
· Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education to resign or for the Prime Minister to replace him immediately. ... view the full agenda text for item 6f