Agenda and minutes

County Council - Thursday, 18th February, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: This meeting will not be held in a physical location, but will be held remotely. Please follow the link below to access the meeting:-

Contact: Jackie Currie  Email: jackie.currie@cumbria.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

138.

Roll Call of Members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr W Graham and Ms H Wall.

 

 

139.

Declarations of Interest

To disclose any disclosable pecuniary interests relating to any item on the agenda.

 

Members are asked to refer to the Monitoring Officer for advice in relation to the declaration of interests at meetings of the full Council.  A complete list of declarations notified to the Monitoring Officer by 5.00 pm on Monday ???  will be circulated at the meeting. If any member wishes to correct or add to the circulated list, guidance on what constitutes a disclosable pecuniary interest is set out below.

 

NB The following is a summary of what constitutes a disclosable pecuniary interest. Please seek advice from the Monitoring Officer.

 

Members must disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises

 

1          Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for       profit or gain.

 

2          Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses.  (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

3          Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority

 

(a)       Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be           executed; and

 

            (b)       Which has not been fully discharged.

 

4          Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority. 

 

5          Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer. 

 

6          Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)

 

            (a)       The landlord is the authority; and

 

            (b)       The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.

 

7          Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where

 

(a)       That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the          area of the authority; and

 

(b)       Either –

 

(i)      The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one        hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or

 

(ii)     If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.

 

Note

 

A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).

 

Minutes:

Mr K Hitchen declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item No 8- Draft Budget 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 to 2025/26 and Draft Capital Programme 2021-2026, as his wife was in receipt of services provided by the Adult Social Care directorate.

 

Mr S Wielkopolski declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item No 13 – Notices of Motion as he had been an employee in the nuclear industry.

 

140.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider whether there are any items on the agenda in respect of which the press and public should be excluded during consideration of the item.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,     that the press and public be not excluded from any item of business on the agenda today.

 

141.

Public Participation

To receive petitions or questions from the public under the Public Participation Scheme for the Council.  This item is time limited to 30 minutes.

 

Minutes:

There were no public questions, petitions or statements made to this meeting.

 

142.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 19 November 2020 (copy enclosed)

 

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,     that the minutes be agreed with the following amendments:-

 

On Minute No 125 Minutes of Cabinet - (B) Minutes of the Cabinet - 3 September 2020 - page 14 5th paragraph remove the words ‘that with’ and replace with ‘on’, and take out the word ‘and’ further along in the sentence so it read ‘Mr Hughes started by commenting on the national economy shrinking with many people continuing on the furlough scheme .....’

 

On Minute No 133 – Questions Page 26 3rd paragraph change the word ‘circa’ to SERCO.

 

 

143.

Announcements and Communications

To receive any announcements from the Chair, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive

 

Minutes:

The Chair began by informing members of the sad passing of several former County Council colleagues in recent months, including Harold Browne, John Ardron, Bert Richardson, Miller McLeish and Nonie Wrightson.  She asked members to join her in a minutes silence as a mark of respect.

 

The Chair informed members that several Cumbrian people had been awarded honours in the New Year's Honours List, including:-

 

·         Mr John Michael Breon Margeson of Kirkby-in-Furness, for services to Mountain Rescue

·         Mr Eric Bell Robson of Wasdale, for services to Tourism

·         Mr Ray Griffiths of Penrith, for services to Mountain Rescue

·         Mr Paul Birkby of Barrow-in-Furness, for services to the community in Barrow-in-Furness, during the Covid-19 response

·         Mr John Kane of Whitehaven, for services to people with Parkinson’s Disease in West Cumbria

·         Mr William Little of Carlisle, for services to the community in Baldwinhome, Cumbria

·         Mr Stuart Stokell of Brampton, for services to the community in Brampton, Cumbria

 

The Chair congratulated all those that had received honours and reminded all that the link to nominations, and how to nominate could be found on the County Council website by searching for ‘honours nominations’.

 

Last month marked national Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. It had been a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who had been murdered or whose lives had been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.  Numerous buildings and landmarks in Carlisle were illuminated in purple and schools helped to ‘light up’ social media in remembrance by creating memorial flames. The Chair thanked all those involved for showing support.

 

The Chair reflected that the county was now 6 weeks into the third national lockdown in England. Her thoughts remained with everybody as it continued to be a difficult and challenging time for individuals, families and communities alike. The Council had worked very hard to ensure that there continued to be a range of support available and information was available on the Council website.

 

The Chair ended her announcements by mentioning the tragic event that took place last weekend, in which a member of a local Mountain Rescue team had been injured whilst out on a call.  The Chief Executive would be making an announcement on this shortly but the Chair wanted to extend her thoughts to Chris Lewis and his family and she wished him well in his recovery.

 

The Cabinet Member for Economic Development informed Council that the County Council was currently progressing the development of a new masterplan to consider future opportunities for the Port of Workington; the aim of this would be to strengthen its role and contribution to the Cumbrian economy. 

 

In February Cumbria LEP had submitted a proposal for the creation of a multi-centre Freeport within the County; this focused on Barrow Port, Carlisle Airport and the Port of Workington and the Council supported this application. A decision on this was expected from Government in the near  ...  view the full minutes text for item 143.

144.

Minutes of the Cabinet

144a

Cabinet Minutes - 12 November 2020 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

The minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 12 November 2020 are enclosed (copy attached)

 

The Chair will ask members if they have any questions on the minutes taking each page in turn. Members should state clearly the minute number of the item concerned

Minutes:

Mr P Dew asked a question on Minute No 61 – English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS), to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.  He was aware that Section 22 community bus operators had been forced to run a much reduced service during the pandemic to allow for social distancing, so their income had been reduced whilst running costs had remained the same, which had led to a financial shortfall.  He asked whether Cabinet had any plans to assist these bus operators.   

 

The Cabinet Member responded to say that operators were reimbursed at the average of their January and February 2020 rates between March and June 2020 inclusive.  From 1 July 2021 operators would be reimbursed based on the actual use of the ENCTS passes. Officers had signposted operators to the various grants which they may be eligible to apply for.

 

Mr Lamb asked a question on Minute No 62 – Digital Infrastructure Strategy.  Digital connectivity was becoming more crucial to societal resilience especially in times of crisis.  He asked the Cabinet Member for Economic Development whether he would commit Cumbria County Council to working with partners to resolve the issue of ‘not spots’ through the rural areas of the county, to allow more residents to benefit from digital connectivity.

 

The Cabinet Member responded to say the County Council was using all resources provided by Government in the collaborative effort with Open Reach to improve connectivity across Cumbria.  The current coverage across Cumbria was in excess of 94%.    

 

Mr S Stoddart joined the meeting at this point.

 

RESOLVED,     that the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 12 November 2020 be noted.

 

144b

Cabinet Minutes - 17 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 192 KB

The minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 17 December 2020 are enclosed (copy attached)

 

The Chair will ask members if they have any questions on the minutes taking each page in turn. Members should state clearly the minute number of the item concerned.

 

 

Minutes:

Mr Dew asked a question on Minute 82 – Award of Design and Build Contract Alternative Provision of the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning.  He welcomed the much needed investment in the alternative provision hubs, but felt the County Council had relied too much on mainstream schools in the past regardless of its suitability for the young people.  He asked the Cabinet Member to assure members that lessons had been learned and that ideology and dogma would not be allowed in the education policy in Cumbria.

 

The Cabinet Member said she was not aware that Cumbria County Council had a policy against ‘inclusion’ and the council always endeavoured to do the best for each and every child.  She agreed that one size does not fit all and the county council always tried to take this into consideration when considering provision.

 

RESOLVED,     that the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 17 December 2020 be noted.

 

 

144c

Cabinet Minutes - 4 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

The minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 4 February 2021 are enclosed (copy attached)

 

The Chair will ask members if they have any questions on the minutes taking each page in turn. Members should state clearly the minute number of the item concerned.

 

 

Minutes:

Mr Whiteside asked the Leader of the Council a question on Minute 95 – Strategic Framework for Public Health Covid-19 Grant Funding.  He was aware that officers had consulted all district councils, the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Constabulary on how best to spend the £3.7m of Government Grant for the Contain Management Outbreak Fund (COMF).  He asked the Leader why there had not been an allocation of funding from the COMF to Cumbria Constabulary to mitigate the additional cost of enforcement incurred by the Police during the pandemic.

 

The Leader responded to say that partners had been consulted widely during consideration of how the COMF might be spent, and as part of this a number of organisations had made requests for a share of this funding, including Cumbria Constabulary.  This request had been considered during the prioritisation process, along with other priorities, which were outlined by the Leader. Since the decision had been taken he had spoken to the Police and Crime Commissioner about the outcome and had agreed to support Cumbria Constabulary with any funding requests they may choose to submit to the Home Office.

 

Dr Haraldsen commented that Cumbria County Council was given the funding for onward distribution and one of the priorities stated in the letter from Government said this could be used to enhance enforcement.  He felt enforcement had to be backed by recourse to the law and he was disappointed that there was still no commitment from the Leader to consider the possibility of supporting Cumbria Constabulary in its drive to stop the spread of this virus.

 

The Leader confirmed that the funding had been prioritised, and unfortunately Cumbria Constabulary had been lower down on the list of priorities for the allocation of this funding.  However, he was fully in support of all the actions being taken by Cumbria Constabulary to help to contain the spread of the virus and he had weekly briefings with the Chief Constable, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chair of the SCG to discuss issues such as this.

 

Mr A Connell joined the meeting at this point.

 

Miss Fearon asked whether it was correct that some of the Contain Outbreak Management Funding remained unspent, and if so, would it not be sensible to consider allocating some of the money to Cumbria Constabulary rather than send it back to the Government.

 

The Leader assured members that none of this funding would be sent back to the Government.

 

RESOLVED,     that the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 4 February 2021 be noted.

 

The meeting adjourned at 11am and reconvened at 11.10am.

 

145.

DRAFT BUDGET 2021/22 AND MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL PLAN 2021/22 - 2025/26 AND DRAFT CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2021-2026 pdf icon PDF 380 KB

To consider a report from the Deputy Leader of the Council (copy enclosed)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr K Hitchen declared a non pecuniary interest in this item as his wife benefitted from services provided by the Adult Social Care directorate.

 

Members had before them a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer), which informed them that on 4 February 2021, Cabinet agreed the budget proposal for recommendation to Council after consideration of the budget consultation process. 

 

The Deputy Leader presented the report and began by saying it was just over a year since our 2020 Budget meeting, which was the last physical meeting of this Full Council.  The Covid-19 pandemic had meant all face to face meetings had been suspended and council meetings were still being held remotely.

 

This had been a steep learning curve for everyone involved, and he congratulated all members and officers for the way in which they have adapted to ensure council business and meetings were still taking place.

 

At the start of pandemic the Government had told local authorities to do what was needed, and spend what was needed and the Government would reimburse councils.  He was pleased to report that the Government had delivered on this promise.

 

Cumbria County Council had received a number of payments of approximately £60 million, which resulted in budget projections similar to those predicted 12 months ago.  He thanked the Secretary of State for delivering on this promise.

 

He paid tribute to the Finance team and especially the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer).  This year had proven to be challenging for all concerned, as new expense lines and sources of finance were constantly being introduced.  It had been a tremendous task and he congratulated all officers involved for their dedication, knowledge and skill in managing this endeavour.

 

Cumbria County Council was a well-managed, prudent authority, used to managing scarce resources having spent many years running challenging yet sound budgets.

 

He also paid tribute to the Council’s frontline staff, who over the past year, had often put themselves at risk in order to provide services to the people of Cumbria. Care workers, teachers, highway engineers and all those whose jobs brought them into daily contact with the public.

 

The Deputy Leader went on to say that for many years the Council had been asking the Government for delivery of the Fair Funding Review, Business Rate Reform and the Adult Social Care Green Paper which were all critical to the future funding of Local Government, but these had again been delayed.  Council services needed to be planned on a multi year basis and it was difficult to plan income and spending when funding was currently being received on a yearly basis.

 

The Council had issued a late addendum to the budget paper, which was due to notification earlier in the week from Government that the Highways Maintenance Budget was being cut by around £10 million compared to the current year.

 

The result of this was a proposed amendment to recommendation 1.3 to read ‘The Cumbria County Council Capital Budget for 2021/22 of £122.396m set  ...  view the full minutes text for item 145.

146.

URGENT DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To consider a report from the Chief Executive (copy enclosed)

 

 

Minutes:

Members had before them a report from the Leader of the Council, which informed members of any urgent decisions taken by the Chief Executive since the last meeting of the Council.

At the Council meeting held on 5 November 2020 the meeting had to be adjourned due to technical difficulties associated with holding the meeting remotely.  The meeting was reconvened on 19 November 2020.

In between the 5 November and 19 November the Chief Executive had taken an urgent decision to approve the acceleration of £4m of funding from future years in the 2020-2025 Capital Programme to 2020/21 Capital Programme and temporary virements of £6.1m to Carlisle Station Gateway scheme.

 

The decisions were necessary to facilitate the acquisition of a strategically essential site for the delivery of the Borderlands Carlisle Station project. 

 

RESOLVED,     that the report be received and noted.

 

147.

Questions

To consider questions from Members, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 11.2 to 11.5 to the Leader, a Member of the Executive or the Chair of any Committee.

Minutes:

Mr Whiteside asked the Cabinet Member for Environment a question about the decision to refer the West Cumbria Mining application back to the Development Control and Regulation Committee for the fourth time.  He asked who took this decision, and what if any, was her role, and the role of any members in the decision making process.  He also asked whether any consideration was given to the challenge from Richard Buxton from South Lakes Action Committee which had been shared on Facebook.

 

The Cabinet Member responded to say that she would provide a written response on this.

 

Mr M Wilson asked whether the Cabinet Member – Highways and Transport could provide an update on the Winter Maintenance Programme.

 

The Cabinet Member replied to say that the winter maintenance programme had started in October 2020, and there had been some challenging times.  The teams had carried out 25% more treatment than in an average year there had been 130 full treatment days carried out on the network and during the last 30 days over 34,000 miles of carriageway had been treated.  The Council currently had ample supplies of salt still available for use.

 

He apologised for the number of potholes currently on the network in Cumbria and Highways Teams were working hard to try to repair these.  In the next couple of weeks further assistance was being brought into the County to help with the back log. 

 

Mr Hughes asked the Cabinet Member for the Environment a question about the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership which was working towards the shared aim of making Cumbria the first carbon-neutral county in the UK, by 2037.  He asked the Portfolio Holder to inform members of some of the key initiatives that the county council was currently taking to help achieve this.

 

The Cabinet Member responded to say there was significant activity currently ongoing within the Council and with partners to help achieve a carbon neutral Council and contribute towards a Carbon Neutral County.  She outlined some of this to members.

 

Mr Lamb asked the Leader of the Council about a joint press release issued on 8 January and signed by the 6 local authorities, the Chief Constable, the Police and Crime Commissioner and various other public organisations in Cumbria, emphasising the public health messages about Covid-19 in particular the need to stay local when exercising, stay at home, save lives to protect the NHS.  As the local authority with the vast majority of responsibilities for public health he asked why the Leader of Cumbria County Council and the Chief Executive had not signed the letter.

 

The Leader responded to say that there were a number of organisations involved in agreeing the wording for this statement, and it was a time consuming process to consult all partners.  In order to save time he had agreed that the press release be issued without his agreement to the wording.    

 

Mr Hogg asked the Cabinet Member for Economic Development to inform Council about the recent event he attended in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 147.

148.

SCRUTINY UPDATE REPORT pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider a report from the Chair of Scrutiny Management Board (copy enclosed)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board presented a report which updated Council on the work of Scrutiny and any issues and developments that have occurred since the last meeting of the County Council.

 

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board took members through the report, highlighting the following:-

·      Scrutiny Work Programme

·      Scrutiny Task and Finish Activity

·      Other Scrutiny Activity

 

Mr Hughes asked for a brief explanation on what would be included in the Deep Dive – Restart, Reboot, Rethink referenced at the bottom of page 307 of the report pack.

 

Mr Wearing responded to say it would encompass all aspects of the pandemic, and some of the focus of this would be about business recovery.

 

Mr Wiekopolski asked the Chair of SMB to do everything possible to minimise the risks to Cumbria County Council for Climate Change of any future developments, such as West Cumbria Mining which may come forward in the future.

 

The Chair responded to say that Scrutiny Management Board would have no influence over planning matters considered by Cumbria County Council.  This was the responsibility of the Development Control and Regulation Committee.

 

RESOLVED,     that the report be received and noted.

 

149.

Minutes of Committees

To receive reports from Committees of the Council and receive questions and answers in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 11.1 to 11.5.

149a

Cumbria Pensions Committee pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To receive the draft minutes of a meeting of the Cumbria Pensions Committee held on 18 December 2020 (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,     that the draft minutes of the Cumbria Pensions Committee held on 18 December 2020 be received and noted.

 

149b

Audit and Assurance Committee pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To receive the minutes of a meetings of the Audit and Assurance Committee held on  24 November 2020, and 27 November 2020 (copy enclosed)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED,     that the minutes of the Audit and Assurance Committee meetings held on 23 November 2020 and 27 November 2020 be received and noted.

 

149c

Workington Harbour Management Committee pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To receive the draft minutes of a meeting of the Workington Harbour Management Committee held on 22 January 2021 (copy enclosed)

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,     that the draft minutes of the Workington Harbour Management Committee held on 22 January 2021 be received and noted.

 

149d

Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To receive the draft minutes of a meeting of the Standards Committee held on 25 January 2021 (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,     that the draft minutes of the Standards Committee held on 25 January 2021 be received and noted.

 

 

150.

Notice of Motions

To consider notice of motions for up to a specified period of one hour.

 

Mr Arthur Lamb to move:-

 

‘This Council calls on the Leader of the Council to take up the offer from Radioactive Waste Management and ensure the Council is represented on the Working Groups set up in Copeland and Allerdale.’

 

Mr Pete McSweeney will move:-

 

“Council asks Cabinet to consider arranging an urgent external holistic review of public transport in the county to consider multimodal solutions and integrated low carbon transport with an emphasis on those rural areas which support the most vulnerable in our communities.  The review to include consultation with Members, stakeholders and community groups and also give consideration of the practicality of localised funding.

 

The review to be completed and with results published, by the end of 2021"

 

Minutes:

Mr Wielkopolski declared a non pecuniary interest in this item as he had been an employee in the nuclear industry.

 

Mr Arthur Lamb moved that

 

‘This Council calls on the Leader of the Council to take up the offer from Radioactive Waste Management and ensure the Council is represented on the Working Groups set up in Copeland and Allerdale.’

 

Although there was a referral on this coming to the next meeting of Cabinet on 18 March, the reason this had been brought before Council was in response to comments made by the Leader of the Council on 22 January 2021, and reported in the press, which stated that the County Council had been through this process before and had given an answer in 2013, and that the preference of the Leader was that the County Council would not be involved in either of the working groups.  Mr Lamb said in 2013 only 2 of the current members of Cabinet were in post, and one of them had voted in the opposite way to the Leader of the Council.  This was a new process and not a follow on from the previous one, which had ended in 2013. This motion was not about the merits of a GDF but about Cumbria County Council engaging with the new process rather than being unrepresented.

 

Mr Whiteside seconded the motion, and this was then opened for debate.

 

Following a detailed debate, this was then put to a roll call vote, and with 40 for, 18 against and 5 abstentions the motion was CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED,     that this Council calls on the Leader of the Council to take up the offer from Radioactive Waste Management and ensure the Council is represented on the Working Groups set up in Copeland and Allerdale.

 

 

Mr Pete McSweeney moved that

 

“Council asks Cabinet to consider arranging an urgent external holistic review of public transport in the county to consider multimodal solutions and integrated low carbon transport with an emphasis on those rural areas which support the most vulnerable in our communities.  The review to include consultation with Members, stakeholders and community groups and also give consideration of the practicality of localised funding.

 

The review to be completed and with results published, by the end of 2021"

 

Mr McSweeney said the purpose of this motion was to ‘kick start’ the process to help Cumbria County Council to build a medium to long term strategy for public transport for Cumbria.

 

This was seconded by Mr G Cook, who reserved his right to speak.

 

The Council Leader spoke to say he supported the motion, but that he would prefer the language to be changed to refer to passenger transport rather than public transport, and outlined the reasons why.

 

Dr Haraldsen spoke to say he did not feel that the Conservatives could support this motion, and he suggested an amendment to the wording to say ‘This Council calls upon Cabinet to request Scrutiny to undertake a review of integrated passenger transport  ...  view the full minutes text for item 150.

151.

Speeches

To hear speeches (not exceeding five minutes each) for up to a specified period of 30 minutes, from individual members, of which at least 24 hours’ notice has been given to the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services.

Minutes:

There were no speeches made on this occasion.