Agenda and minutes

Budget, Council
Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

106.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Meeting of Council held on the 30 January 2019 were approved as a correct record.

107.

Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Mayor is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

No items of urgent business were received.

108.

Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.

Minutes:

No declaration of interests were received.

109.

Announcements on behalf of the Mayor or the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Mayor reminded Members of the Giving for Thurrock Day, a day for communities, charities and for the good causes in Thurrock which would take place on Friday 29 March 2019. The Mayor stated a donation box had been placed in the Chamber for any welcomed donations.

 

The Mayor, on behalf of Members of the Chamber, thanked those retiring Members for their service to Thurrock and wished those up for re-election well in the May elections.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Gledhill, updated Members on the Great British Spring Clean which would take place between the 22 March and the 23 April 2019. An opportunity for local groups to run clean-up events in their area to keep the community clean with the Council supplying equipment and organising the pick-up of rubbish bags. The Leader thanked Mr Harrington, residents and Councillor Cherry for an organised event that took place in Little Thurrock at the weekend.

 

The Leader would be contacting Connect Plus and Highways England in regards to the laybys on the A1089 to insist that these are maintained and tidied up as Thurrock residents deserved better.

 

The Leader stated the part of the A13 in Thurrock would be cleaned as part of the Great British Spring Clean.

 

The Leader moved onto Regeneration and referred to the New River Retail Project and plans for the Grays Shopping Centre which had been purchased last year for £20m and showed that the borough was attracting investors.

 

The Leader gave a quick update on Clean It Cut It Fill It:

 

2085 potholes had been filed

1130 acres of grass had been cut

1739 fly-tips had been cleared

3150 tonnes of waste collected

3338 fixed penalty notices had been issued

 

Finally, the Leader thanked all retiring members for their service to Thurrock who included Councillors Smith, Hamilton, Cherry, Coxshall, Huelin, Baker, Pothecary, Kelly, C Kent, Jefferies, Churchman, Hebb, Gamester, Tolson, Baldwin and Holloway.

 

Those Members had worked hard in their 4 years of service, and 1 year of service for Councillor Jefferies, to make Thurrock a better place.

 

Councillor J Kent echoed the Leader’s comments and stated that it was not the time a Member served but what that Member had achieved in that time. Members had made a real contribution to the Council and to residents. Councillor J Kent stated that all retiring Members would be missed but looked forward to the battles ahead leading up to the May elections and wished all candidates well.

 

Councillor Spillman echoed the Leader’s comments and stated it had been a pleasure to meet those Members up for election. That friendships had been made at committees and hoped that those candidates up for re-election were successful.

110.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 38 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be viewed under the relevant meeting date at http://democracy.thurrock.go.uk/thurrock and are attached at Appendix 1 at these minutes.

111.

Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2(Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s petition scheme no notices of petition had been received.

112.

Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Minutes:

Members received a report on the status of those petitions handed in at Council Meetings and Council Offices.

 

Councillor Watkins provided an update to Petition 519 “Air Quality and Pollution Review in Tilbury”. The Steering Group had met in November 2018 and would continue to apply the appropriate pressure on the Environment Agency and would also continue to work with residents to ensure that the dust issues go away. Councillor Watkins agreed to report back and keep Members updated.

113.

Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies, Statutory and Other Panels

The Council are asked to agree any changes to the appointments made to committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels, as requested by Group Leaders.

Minutes:

The Mayor enquired whether Group Leaders wished for any changes to be made to the appointments previous made by Committees and Outside Bodies, statutory and other panels.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Gledhill, informed the chamber that he had no changes to make.

 

Councillor J Kent, Leader of the Labour Group, informed the chamber that he had no changes to make.

 

Councillor Spillman, Leader of the Thurrock Independence Group, informed the chamber that he had no changes to make.

114.

Annual Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Collins, Portfolio Holder for Central Services, presented the report which sought the approval of the Council’s Annual Pay Policy Statement. That Thurrock’s statement included a pay policy for all categories of employees which reflected the existing employment terms and conditions.

 

Councillor J Kent stated the Labour Group support to the recommendation.

 

Councillor Spillman stated he had concerns on how changes to bandings could affect staff’s pay and questioned how many staff would be affected, how many staff would benefit and how many staff’s salaries would stay the same following the band changes.

 

Councillor Collins stated that the Pay Policy had the agreement of all interested parties who all stated the policy to be agreeable and acceptable and that further information would be sent to Councillor Spillman.

 

Councillor Collin’s summed up by stating that nobody would lose with many members of staff and apprentices gaining from the change. Councillor Collins stated it was a good policy that had the support of all trade unions and urged members to vote in favour.

 

The Mayor called a vote on this item to which Members voted unanimously in favour.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Annual Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 is agreed in line with the Council’s obligations under the Localism Act 2011, the Single Status Agreement , the recommendations by the independent market assessment and the output of the pay review project (as agreed by General Services Committee on the 8 October 2018).

115.

Capital Strategy 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hebb, Portfolio Holder for Finance, presented the report that set out the strategic framework underpinning capital expenditure and the associated financing at the Council. The report also included the Treasury Management Strategy which had been previously considered in isolation up to 2018/19 which was also linked to the Council’s ambitions of becoming a more commercially focused borough; one where sensible transactions were completed which created revenue returns that could then be allocated to spending on the services for Thurrock residents.

 

A sheet had been tabled for this item which reflected changes to Pages 65 and 66 of the agenda. This sheet can be found as a supplementary item on-line.

 

Councillor J Kent stated the Labour Group support to the recommendations.

 

Councillor Spillman stated the Thurrock Independent Group support to the recommendations.

 

The Mayor called a vote on this item to which Members voted unanimously in favour.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Council:

 

1.         Approved the Capital Strategy for 2019/20 including approval of the Annual Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) statement for 2019/20; and

 

2.         Approved the adoption of the Prudential Indicators as set out in Appendix 1; and

 

3.         Noted the revised 2018/19 and 2019/20 Treasury Management projections as set out in Annex 1 paragraph 2.32.

116.

General Fund Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor invited the Leader of the Council, Councillor Gledhill, to introduce the budget and advised that he had 20 minutes to do so.

 

Councillor Gledhill

 

Stated that 33 months ago the Conservatives took control of the Council after 6 years of a Labour administration, as I have outlined before we were told there was not enough taxpayers money coming in to supply basic services like street cleaning, grass cutting and pothole filling. A budget where the reserves had not been reviewed for six years despite rhetoric to the contrary. A budget where the graph of doom reigned supreme leaving a Council that was frankly dying of death of a thousand cuts to meet a political message rather than getting on with job of supplying public services.

 

In those 33 months we have seen external pressures put strain on the ever decreasing taxpayers funded income from Government which we have faced head on and tabled within budget. Indeed as a Council we receive £3.3m less in direct support than in 2016 yet despite this the only service cuts have been those agreed in those years’ budgets.

 

The highest number of unaccompanied asylum seekers reduced to near maximum assumed level but now on the way up.

 

Vital equipment and staff replaced at a cost of £13.5m over both the capital and revenue budgets to replace that was either sold, unserviceable or released from service to ensure our streets are cleaner, our bins collected weekly and our parks and green spaces cut and cleared to be useable by all.

 

I remember at my first budget speech after only 9 months being elected leader I brought you the outcome of the same cash envelope that Labour and the then UKIP Councillors had agreed. Had we stuck to that budget we would have seen no street cleaners, no grass cutting ability, massive over spends in children’s and adult social care, other non-statutory services costing the taxpayer money month in month out and so on. But instead, I brought you all the good news. Nearly £1/2 million extra in reserves, kept weekly bin collections, street cleaners removing tonnes of rubbish and a small surplus of £44 thousand, Oh boy how much has that changed.

 

We also promised in that budget: £1m increase in the environment department to continue clean it cut it fill it, £420 thousand in reserves, £1.3m investment in play equipment for our parks, £8.75m extra for new refuse and environmental support vehicles ensuring weekly bin collections, up to £2.6m redeveloping the civic amenity site.

 

Leap towards a year and not only did we deliver that but we exceeded it.

 

£3m into reserves, a one off budget surplus of £2.3m and a promise of the same year on year for the term of the MTFS, assigned £250k to tackle ABS which as I outlined in my portfolio holders report last month has delivered results, replaced the bin lorries and plant fleet, assigned more money to challenge the Lower Thames Crossing Proposals and to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116.

117.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 53 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

The Mayor informed the Chamber that 5 questions to the Leader had been received and 8 questions to Cabinet Members. Those not heard would either receive a written response or have the option to withdraw and resubmit.

 

A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.

 

At 8.59pm Councillors MacPherson and Tolson left the Council Chamber.

 

At 9.06pm the mayor called time on this item.

 

Councillor Redsell requested question to be resubmitted.

 

Councillor Cherry requested a written response.

 

Councillor Worrall requested a written response.

 

Councillor J Kent requested a written response.

 

Councillor Akinbohun requested a written response.

 

Councillor Smith requested a written response.

 

Councillor Allen requested question to be resubmitted..

118.

Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies

Minutes:

The Mayor informed the Chamber that no reports had been received.

119.

Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee

Date

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

20 November 2018

Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

11 December 2018

Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee

6 December 2018

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force

14 January 2019

Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

4 December 2018

Planning Committee

10 January 2019

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of Committees as set out in the Agenda were received.

120.

Update on motions resolved at Council during the previous year pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Minutes:

Members received an information report updating the progress in respect of Motions received at Council.

121.

Motion submitted by Councillor Holloway pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Minutes:

The Motion was withdrawn by Councillor Holloway prior to the meeting.

.

122.

Motion submitted by Councillor Duffin pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Duffin and seconded by Councillor Spillman. The Motion read as follows:

 

Thurrock Council will write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling on the Government to reverse its policy of placing Authorities who do not increase Council Tax to the maximum level at a financial disadvantage by assuming such a notional increase have been made when calculating the amount of business rates they will be allowed to retain.

 

Councillor Duffin introduced the Motion by stating that those Authorities that did not increase Council Tax to a maximum level were being punished by the Government and recommend the Council to call on the Government to stop this practice.

 

Councillor Gledhill stated that it was a good motion and the policy should be reversed to ensure that those Authorities that do well on finances should not be penalised.

 

Councillor Duffin stated that Thurrock was already below the notional level and that with any further cuts and punishments from the Government would make it harder for the Council to deliver.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.

 

Upon being put to the vote members agreed unanimously, whereupon the Mayor declared the Motion carried.