What happened at Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting held on the 25th November 2019?
On Monday morning (25th November 2019) Wallasey Town Hall had a “Preparing for Retirement” course running in Committee Room 2 and in the One Stop Shop the public were explaining why they were struggling to pay their council tax.
Wirral Council’s Cabinet (which was on borrowed time and would itself cease to exist in around 6 months time) met for a somewhat brief 18 minutes in public (video of the meeting can be watched below).
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Despite the ongoing general election, there were still matters to be decided. The recommendations of an ADASS (Directors of Adult Social Services) peer review into the integration of health and social care were briefly discussed.
Five different items within the portfolio of Cllr Janette Williamson (Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources and Labour’s Deputy Leader) took up most of the meeting.
She highlighted how she hoped their policies on council tax would encourage landlords to bring empty properties back into use (something her fellow Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change Cllr Liz Grey was “proud of”). The care leavers council tax discount (introduced in 2018) was also discussed.
Next was a report on the projected £7.1 million overspend. This had led to a “spending freeze” and “recruitment freeze”. References were made by Cllr Williamson to her preferred outcome to the general election in relation to the funding by national government of local councils such as Wirral and some of the reasons for these projections.
The report on the capital budget was more upbeat with an update on capital spend in the first half of 19-20 and was a recommendation to Council of a £52.889 million capital budget for 20-21.
Technical changes to the minimum revenue provision re-profiling were proposed due to accounting changes which were projected to free up an extra £2 million a year over the next ten years (although this was again a recommendation from Cabinet to a future meeting of all 66 Wirral Council councillors).
The treasury management mid-year report was the last report within Cllr Janette Williamson’s remit and dealt with borrowing and investments (£32 million of investments and £293 million of borrowing).
The final two items fell within the portfolio of Cllr Tony Jones (Cabinet Member for Growth and Regeneration). His items were:-
a) a recommendation for a £100,000 grant and £320,000 loan to an unnamed company in Birkenhead and Tranmere ward and
b) a grant of £275,000 to an unnamed company in Bromborough ward.
And with the public part of the Cabinet meeting nearly over, it only fell to Cllr Pat Hackett to propose a motion requiring the public to leave for the rest of the meeting.
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