Agenda

Council - Tuesday, 9th July, 2024 1.00 pm

Venue: Cathedral Room - Civic Centre, Carlisle. View directions

Contact: Gayle Roach  Email: gayle.roach@cumberland.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

PART A - ITEMS TO BE CONSIDERED IN PUBLIC

1.

Roll Call and Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Council meeting held on 15 May 2024.

 

3.

Declaration of Interests

To receive declarations by Councillors of any disclosable pecuniary interest, personal interests, other registrable interests or any other interests in respect of items on the agenda.

 

4.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any items of business on the agenda.

 

5.

Announcements

1)    To receive any announcements from the Chair;

2)    To receive any announcements from the Leader;

3)    To receive any announcements from Members of the Executive;

4)    To receive any announcements from the Chief Executive.

 

6.

Public Participation

1)    To receive any questions from members of the public in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 10;

2)    To receive any deputations or petitions from members of the public in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 9.

 

7.

Minutes of the Executive pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To receive the Minutes of the meetings of the Executive held on 23 April and 4 June 2024 and ask questions of the Leader and Portfolio Holder on those minutes.

 

Additional documents:

8.

Capital Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To consider a report by the Director of Resources (copy enclosed).

 

Additional documents:

9.

Asset Management Strategy 2024-2027 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider a report by the Director of Resources (copy enclosed).

 

Additional documents:

10.

Audit Committee Annual Report 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To receive and note the Annual Report detailing the work undertaken by the Audit Committee during 2023/24.

 

 

11.

Operation of the Provisions relating to call in and urgency pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To receive a report from the Monitoring Officer on the operation of call-in and urgency provisions.

12.

Representative on Outside Bodies

At its meeting on 15 May 2024 Council appointed Councillors Markley and Quilter to be representatives on the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.  The organisation has since informed the Monitoring Officer that they only require one appointment from Cumberland Council.  

 

Council is asked to appoint one representative to the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

13.

Questions (with Notice) pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider the following questions submitted by members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 11:

 

(1)       Councillor Allison submitted the following question to Councillor Williamson:-

 

I fully support the Empty Homes Policy (EHP) targeting Landlords and Developers who choose to leave properties empty beyond the twelve-month concessionary period and appreciated your full response to my previous letter on this subject. But, with long delays in granting Probate and Covid, the EHP is catching young couples and those of more mature age buying their first property.   hese tend to be the more affordable run-down properties but with potential to bring up to modern standards.

 

Since the introduction of the EHP I have been contacted by four couples across a wide spectrum. The first are as I described previously.

 

(a)       This was a young couple with two children in rented accommodation and with their children at the local school. They had bought an uninhabitable property in the village. Delays in granting Probate and Covid added to the time, together with cost inflation and availability of contractors. Under the Empty Homes Policy they were obliged to pay triple Council Tax. they moved into the property before it was completed.

 

(b)       Another young couple purchased a property in need of restoration and bringing up to modern thermal efficiency standards. They are doing much of the work themselves. It will be some time before they can move in. They are not speculators or developers but are also caught by the Empty Homes Policy.

 

(c)       A more mature couple living down-country who wish to return to the District. As with the others they purchased a rundown property in need of renovation. Initially they employed contractors to do essential work but building cost inflation means that they are doing as much as they can themselves. They are faced with double Council Tax on a property that is uninhabitable and for which no Council Services are provided.

 

(d)       This last one is a couple who purchased a property which like the others is in need of substantial work including taking the roof off. The new owner was surprised to receive a Council Tax bill within a few weeks of purchase. They were under the impression that they had up to twelve months to undertake the necessary repairs.

 

In my view three of the above examples are of punitive Council Tax premiums being levied on aspiring homeowners who simply cannot afford it. Yet they are bringing derelict properties back into use, the very aim of the EHP.

 

To address this would require a version of the CTRS to allow those who qualify in the sort of circumstances described here, up to a twelve-month concessionary period to undertake the restoration work, disregarding the prior history. Given your majority in Council, this would need the initiative to come from the Authority.  

 

MY QUESTION:  Can I have an assurance this Council will review the Policy to provide support for those who face the sort of circumstances as in these  ...  view the full agenda text for item 13.

14.

Motions

To consider the following Motion submitted by members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No.12:

 

Crisis in Local Government Funding

 

Proposer:       Cllr Tim Pickstone

Seconder:     Cllr Roger Dobson

 

Council notes:

 

1.         Figures from the Local Government Association (LGA)[i] estimating that councils in England have a funding gap of £4 billion in the current two-year period.

 

2.         That one in five English local authorities are in danger of issuing a Section 114 Notice this year or next.

 

3.         That half of English councils are not confident that they have the money to fulfil their legal duties next year.

 

4.         Figures from the National Audit Office[ii] estimate that the real spending power of English local councils was reduced by 29% in the 11 years to 2021-22.

 

Council further notes: 

 

1.         The older age population is increasing faster than the general population and an ageing population is increasing the complexity of the care required - the Health Foundation[iii] suggests that £14 billion may be needed by 2030/31 to fund Adult Social Care alone.

 

2.         The number of Looked After Children is 80,000 and rising.

 

3.         Many councils in England are struggling to meet the demand for SEND support already.

 

4.         Councils are struggling to fund the increase in the need for homeless placements and supported accommodation.

 

5.         Councils are under increasing pressure on costs, in particular to meet inflation and rising staff costs, including the National Living Wage.

 

Council notes that in the 2024-25 financial year:

 

1.         The government agreed to provide 19 councils with support to manage financial pressures via the Exceptional Financial Support framework (EFS)[iv]. For 11 councils this included agreement to support for prior years. 

 

2.         That due to the impacts of local government reorganisation and the effects of disaggregation of the County Council, Cumberland Council was one of those 19 councils to request EFS and received £41.23 million capitalisation support which helped to close the budget gap in 2024/25.  The budget gap for 2025/26 as reported to Council in March was £17.658

 

The Council therefore calls on the government to:

 

1.         Put in place proper long-term funding of local government and, as a matter of urgency, to close the £4 billion funding gap;

 

2.         Support policies to build a consensus on long-term funding of social care;

 

3.         Review the main sources of income available to local government, in particular ways that Council Tax and Business Rates can be made fairer for all;

 

4.         Move away from annual financial settlements and introduce multi-year financial settlements for local government;

 

5.         End the delay in progressing the fair funding review and ensure that any new funding system is transparent;

 

6.         End the resilience on councils having to competitively bid for significant new resources and new initiatives.

 

The motion if passed to be sent to the Secretary of State for DLUHC and the four Cumberland MPs.

 

 

 



[i] Section 114 fear for almost 1 in 5 council leaders and chief executives after cashless Autumn Statement leaves a £4b funding  ...  view the full agenda text for item 14.

15.

Portfolio Holder Reports pdf icon PDF 70 KB

The Portfolio Holder Update Reports are not being published during the pre-election period but will follow on 5 July.

Additional documents:

PART B - ITEMS TO BE CONSIDERED IN PRIVATE

Not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information

16.

Award of Construction Contract for the Workington Innovation Centre

To consider a report by the Programme Director.