Council Meeting (Wirral Council) (11th February 2013) Kate Wood made Honorary Alderman, Debates on Taxes and Spending

A report on the Council meetings (Wirral Council) of 11th February 2013 along with video footage of the latter. The first was an extraordinary meeting to confer the title of Honorary Alderman on Kate Wood. The second was a regular meeting with motions on local government funding, health, housing, elections, benefits, Area Forums, tax credits, payday loans, public sector contracts and Universal Credit.

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Above is the first 2 1/4 hours of the Wirral Councill meeting of 11th February 2013.

Unfortunately the day this finally uploaded, someone rang up my ISP pretending to be the bill payer (my wife) and cancelled the ADSL line (which took a week to set up with another provider).

Prior to the main meeting there was a short (well by Council standards fifteen minutes is short) Extraordinary Meeting to make Kate Wood an Honorary Alderman. As a slight legal footnote for the last two and a half years Wirral Council could also confer the title of Honorary Alderwomen as the last Labour government changed the legislation in 2010. The papers and minutes for that meeting can be found on Wirral Council’s website.

The main meeting that night was much longer.

The first controversial point (at least if you’re a Conservative councillor) was the recommendation from Cabinet for approval by Council that Cllr Steve Foulkes be the Deputy Mayor for 2013/14. However to avoid any long drawn out debate on the merits of Cllr Foulkes as Deputy Mayor, the matter was simply noted on the basis that it’ll be decided at the Annual Council meeting of the 13th May 2013.

As usual only three notices of motion were debated, the first being Labour’s entitled Unfair Cuts in Local Government Funding, along with a Lib Dem amendment.

The second notice was a Conservative motion entitled Council Tax Referendum along with a Labour amendment and Lib Dem amendment.

Around this point I ran out of battery as the meeting was by now two and a quarter hours long.

The last notice of motion debated was a Lib Dem motion entitled Council Finances along with a Labour amendment.

A few of the motions not debated were unanimously agreed (well unanimous except for the abstention of the Mayor) (Vascular Services Review (about moving vascular services from Arrowe Park to the Countess of Chester), “Health Homes” and the Case for Selective Licensing of the Private Rented Sector and Construction Industry Blacklists).

For the rest of the motions and objections there were splits in the vote among party political lines. The first was “Attack on Democracy in Wirral” – a Conservative motion against the move to four yearly elections from 2015/6, the second was “The Empty Rhetoric of Localism” – a Labour motion about Council Tax Benefit, Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants, the third a Conservative objection against abolishing Area Forums and calling for consultation, the fourth a Lib Dem objection to abolishing Area Forums calling for it to be referred to a group of councillors to make recommendations on, the fifth a Labour motion entitled “Cuts to Tax Credits” (as well as a Conservative amendment and Lib Dem amendment), the sixth a Labour motion on “Payday Loans” (as well as a Conservative amendment and Lib Dem amendment), the seventh a Lib Dem motion on “Tax Avoidance and Public Sector Contracts” (as well as a Labour amendment) and the eighth a Lib Dem motion on “Universal Credit” as well as a Labour amendment.

The meeting finished with a number of changes agreed to committee places, after the recent by elections and resignation.