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Council 26-JAN-2016

26 January 2016 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.

An audio loop induction system is available in the Council Chamber and Committee Rooms 1, 4a and 4b for those with hearing difficulties (a portable induction loop is available for other rooms on request).

Contact the Committee Officer if you have any individual requirements to enable you to attend the meeting as soon as possible before the date of the meeting.

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Please note that you will be able to watch this meeting on our webcasting page.

Attachments

pdf icon Agenda [30kb]

pdf icon All papers [655kb]

Agenda

ItemDescriptionReport
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 20 October 2015 (Pages A1-A11)

 
4.

PETITIONS

To receive petitions in accordance with Standing Order 8.

No petitions were received
5.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 9.

pdf icon Item 5 [81kb]
6.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 10.

pdf icon Item 6 [81kb]
 REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM COMMITTEES 
7.

CONTRACT PROCEDURE RULES - PROPOSED UPDATE

Report by Director of Adult Care and Health Services (Pages B1-B26)

 
8.

BUDGET 2016-17: APPROVAL OF COUNCIL TAX BASE, NNDR1 ESTIMATE & ESTIMATED COLLECTION FUND SURPLUS

Report by Head of Finance (Pages C1-C12)

pdf icon Item 8 [118kb]
 MOTIONS 
9.

RAILWAY RENATIONALIZATION

Councillor J Williams to move:

This Council notes that:

According to recent polls, 60% of the British public support the renationalization of the railways, with just 20% opposed.

The cost of railway travel has increased 25% in the last five years, when average pay has only increased by 9%, and yet fewer than two thirds of passengers arrive at their destination on time. A Reading to London (zones 1-6) annual season ticket, priced on-line in January 2016, now costs over £5,000.

Reading is a railway town, with over 15.5 million journeys made between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014. Two of Reading's early morning trains to Paddington ranked among the top five most crowded trains in the UK in 2014.

This Council believes that:

Rail is a vital component in the future of travel, as we look for strong, sustainable alternatives to the motor car.

Public transport should be a public service owned by the public. Public investment in railways should be directly spent on railway infrastructure, and not for shareholder profit.

Residents of Reading need and deserve a safe, efficient, on-time, affordable rail service.

This Council will:

Pledge its support for rail travellers to and from Reading stations, and continue its scrutiny of, and work with, Network Rail and Great Western for a better, safer, more affordable service.

Write to Network Rail and all rail operators doing business at Reading Stations, stating our opposition to any future cuts to services, and our belief that highly skilled, highly professional workers should receive a living wage as a minimum standard.

Write to its two Members of Parliament, the Secretary of State for Transport, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport with responsibility for Rail, expressing Reading's views and lobbying for rail renationalization.

 
10.

TEACHERS' PAY

Councillor Pearce to move:

The Council notes:

  • Teachers have lost up to 15% in income over the last 5 years due to pay freezes and increases in pension contributions.
  • Reading has a growing population, especially amongst young people with the last census recording a 34% increase in the under 4 population.
  • Nationally, teacher training applications have fallen by 5260 in the year from April 2014-15 (according to UCAS).
  • The additional London fringe allowance for teachers includes the Berkshire Local Authorities Bracknell, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead but not Reading.  This leads to a disparity on starting salary of £822 a year between the LA's.
  • The average price of house rental in Reading is £950 a month, the average flat price is £188,115 and the average price of a semi-detached house is £319,892.
  • There is a shortage of teachers in Reading's schools.

The Council resolves:

  • To write to the Government to ask that the London fringe allowance to be extended to Reading.
  • To write to Reading's 2 MP's to seek support for the extension of the fringe allowance to Reading.
 
11.

HOUSING AND PLANNING BILL

Councillor Davies to move:

This Council notes:

  • The Housing and Planning Bill is currently being debated in Parliament and threatens the provision of affordable homes for rent in Reading through:
    • Forcing 'high value' Council homes to be sold on the open market;
    • Extending the right-to-buy to Housing Association tenants and;
    • Undermining Section 106 requirements on private developers to provide affordable homes.
  • According to the recent Berkshire SHMA low cost rented accommodation is the only affordable housing available to many people on low or moderate incomes;
  • That there is no commitment in the Bill that affordable homes will be replaced like-for-like in the local area.  Conditions on spending receipts from RTB sales make it impossible to replace like-for-like;
  • That whilst measures to help first-time buyers are welcome, the 'starter homes' proposals in the Bill will be unaffordable to families and young people on ordinary incomes in most parts of the country; will not preserve the taxpayer investment; and will be built at the expense of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.  Discounts will not be carried over in perpetuity so affordable homes will be lost to the community;
  • That the Bill undermines localism by taking 32 new wide and open-ended powers for the Secretary over Councils and local communities, including the ability to override local plans, to mandate rents for social tenants, and to impose a levy on stock-holding Councils, violating the terms of the Housing Revenue Account self-financing deal;
  • That the Bill, whilst introducing some welcome measures to get to grips with rogue landlords, does not help with the high rents, poor conditions and insecurity affecting many of England's 11m private renters - including one in four families with children - and does nothing to help arrest the recent rise in homelessness.

This Council resolves:

  • To analyse and report on the likely impact of the forced sale of Council homes, the extension of right-to-buy and the 'starter homes' requirements on the local availability of affordable homes;
  • To analyse and report on any further likely impacts of the Bill on the on going housing crisis in Reading;
  •  To use the results of this report to:
    • Determine a strategy if possible on behalf of the residents of Reading, particularly those in housing need, to mitigate the effect of the Bill;
    • Set up an urgent meeting between the Leader of the Council and the Managing Director with the local Members of Parliament to raise our concerns;
    • Make public our concerns, including by publishing the above information on the Council's web site and promoting through the press.
 

 

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