Council 20-OCT-2015

20 October 2015 at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber

Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU

Committee Administrator(s)

Michael Popham & Richard Woodford. Contact Committee Services Team

Access Arrangements

All ground floor meeting rooms are accessible to wheelchair and scooter users.

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Attachments

pdf icon Agenda [141kb]

pdf icon All papers [441kb]

Agenda

ItemDescriptionWards affectedReport
1.

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

To receive Mayor's announcements

  
2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive any declarations of interest

  
3.

MINUTES

The Mayor to sign the Minutes of the proceedings of the Council Meeting held on 7 July 2015 

 pdf icon Minutes [49kb]
4.

PETITIONS

To receive petitions in accordance with Standing Order 8

 pdf icon Item 4 [21kb]
5. 

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 9

 pdf icon Item 5 [34kb]
6.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 10

 pdf icon Item 6 [45kb]
7.

SOUTH STREET ARTS CENTRE - PETITION

(To hold a debate in accordance with Standing Order 8(5)(e))

Report by Managing Director 

 pdf icon Item 7 [29kb]
8.

DRAFT REVISIONS TO THE PLANNING CODE OF CONDUCT

Report by Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services 

 pdf icon Item 8 [93kb]
9.

STANDARDS COMMITTEE

Report by Monitoring Officer

 pdf icon Item 9 [80kb]
10. 

READING PRISON AND THE ABBEY QUARTER REGENERATION

Councillor Page to move:

This Council calls on the Government to reverse their decision to retain Reading Prison 'as a contingency measure' and 'reserve capacity'.

We urge the Secretary of State for Justice to bring forward an early timetable for the disposal of Reading Prison, so as to secure the integration of this site of national and international significance into the exciting regeneration of the adjoining Abbey Quarter.

We therefore instruct the MD to write in these terms to the Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State for Justice, the Minister for Prisons, and local Reading MPs.

  
11.

TRADE UNION BILL

Councillor Hoskin to move:

As a major and responsible local employer, this Council welcomes the positive benefits that arise from the relationship that we have with our recognised trade unions. We believe that the relationship between employers and their employees through their collective representatives would be damaged by reducing facility time for elected representatives and by removing the ability of union members to pay union dues direct from wages.

This Council notes that:

  • In February 2015, the United Nations agency, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), reaffirmed its belief that 'without protecting a right to strike, Freedom of Association, in particular the right to organise activities for the purpose of promoting and protecting workers' interests, cannot be fully realised.
  • In July 2015 the Conservative government announced its intention to change legislation affecting trade unions and their members to make it harder to win ballots for industrial action. This will only be lawful if there is a 50% turnout among trade union members entitled to vote in addition to a simple majority voting for industrial action.
  • No such thresholds apply to elections in local government, for police and crime commissioners, or in European or Westminster elections.
  • The government has refused the request of trade unions to make electronic balloting legally permissible and increase turnout this way.
  • Trade unions take industrial action for a wide range of reasons including defending wages and pensions, conditions at work as well as health and safety.

Council believes that:

  • The right to strike and protest are fundamental rights that should be respected in a free and democratic society.
  • The Conservative government's bill will undermine constructive employment relations and that harmonious industrial relations are achieved by meaningful engagement and not additional legal restrictions to trade union members.
  • The government's Trade Union Bill is part of a disturbing trend to erode civil liberties and inhibit the right to speak out or protest against the government.
  • The Conservative government's Trade Union Bill is a politically motivated attack on trade unions and could have negative consequences for wider civil society.

This Council agrees to:

  1. write to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills stating this Council's opposition to the Trade Union Bill and to participate in any consultations.
  2. support the South East Trades Union Congress and civil liberties groups in campaigning to defend the right to strike and oppose the Trade Union Bill.
  3. continue to value the importance of meaningful workforce engagement and representation.
  
12.

SUPPORTING ELDERLY AND DISABLED PEOPLE

Councillor Eden to move:

This Council believes:

That supporting elderly and disabled people is a mark of a civilized society.

That the fact that more of us live to an older age should be something to celebrate not a cause for fear, and that people with disabilities are valued members of our community.

That fear and uncertainty about how we will afford to meet our needs as we grow older or develop disabilities damages our wellbeing.

That the cost of delivering good quality care includes the payment of a true living wage, as demonstrated by our commitment to the UNISON ethical care charter, but that this needs to be taken into account in funding settlements.

That investing in good public health and adult social care is not only better for Reading's residents but also saves money by reducing the need for emergency and crisis health care treatment.

That early information and decisions from the government are essential to avoid short term crisis decisions and enable councils to plan.

This Council notes:

The government's proposed delay in the implementation of the cap in the cost of care from 2016 - as the Conservative manifesto promised - to 2020 and the concern and hardship this will bring to many people and their families.

That there has been a joint representation to the spending review 2015 from 75 charities, the NHS confederation, the Association of Directors of Social Services and private sector providers urging the government to act to avoid a deepening crisis in adult social care.

The depth of shared concerns about the quality, safety and sufficiency of social care services across the country due to lack of investment and growing demand and that Reading is not and cannot be immune to this. 

The in-year cuts to public health funding that the government is currently consulting on, that were not flagged before the election, which will directly impact services in Reading that help people stay well.

The recent praise for Reading's community reablement team and that this is borne out by the welcome news that 90% of Reading's older people coming out of hospital who receive these services are still at home 3 months later.

This Council therefore:

Congratulates Reading's community reablement team for their work in helping people live independent lives and staying well

Supports the joint spending review representation from across the health and social care sector and mandates the Managing Director to write to the Secretary of State and the Treasury accordingly along with urging earlier information about local government funding in future years particularly as it relates to major changes including the better care fund.

Mandates the Lead Members for Adult Social Care and Health to send a copy of the health and social care sector's joint submission on social care funding to the Borough's MPs and request a meeting to discuss: the impact of in year cuts to public health; the threat to the care system of the lack of investment; and the importance of better and earlier information about funding.

  
13.

FOSSIL FUEL FREE PENSION FUND

Councillor White to move:

This Council notes:

  • Its public commitment to tackling climate change.
  • It is estimated that the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund, of which Reading is a member, has over 66.5 million pounds invested indirectly in fossil fuels
  • If fossil fuel companies extract and burn just 20% of the reserves they hold, this will cause catastrophic climate change. The urgency of stopping climate change requires that we progressively stop burning fossil fuels now.

This Council believes:

  • That it is irresponsible and immoral for public bodies and pension funds to invest in fossil fuel extraction companies and instead they should, where possible, direct investment into 'green energy' infrastructure.
  • That pension fund investment can both be profitable and a positive driver towards a low-carbon economy.
  • That pension funds can and should find ways of directing a share of their investments to supporting the sustainable development of their local economies.

This Council resolves:

  • To support the principle of fossil fuel divestment, and to encourage, through the Climate Change Partnership, Reading's businesses and institutions to divest from fossil fuels.
  • Not to accept sponsorship and advertising from fossil fuel companies.
  • That the Managing Director should lobby the Royal Berkshire Pension Fund to immediately freeze any new investment in the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies and to divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds by 2020.
  

 

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