Agenda and minutes

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Media

Items
No. Item

89.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Minute 94 – Cllr Altaf Khan declared that this affected a property listed as his declared disclosable pecuniary interest and he would leave the meeting and take no part in the debate on this item.

Minute 95 – Variation of Hackney Carriage Tariffs - Cllr Malik declared that this affected his declared disclosable pecuniary interest and he would leave the remote meeting and take no part in the debate on this item.

 

90.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 439 KB

·         Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Council held on 25 January 2021

The full minutes pack with questions on notice and public addresses is here.

·         Minutes of the budget meeting of Council held on 17 February 2021.

Council is asked to approve these minutes as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council agreed to approve the minutes of the ordinary meeting held on 25 January 2021 and of the budget meeting held on 17 February 2021 as true and correct records.

 

91.

Appointment to Committees

Any proposed changes to committee memberships may be circulated with the briefing note or may be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Brown, announced and Council noted changes with immediate effect:

 

·         Planning Review Committee - Cllr Pressel to take the seat allocated to the Labour Group;

·         Standards Committee – Cllr Tanner to take the seat allocated to the Labour Group;

both replacing Cllr Azad following her becoming an independent non-group councillor.

 

92.

Announcements

Announcements by:

1.    The Lord Mayor

2.    The Sheriff

3.    The Leader of the Council (who may with the permission of the Lord Mayor invite other councillors to make announcements)

4.    The Chief Executive, Chief Finance Officer, Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor welcomed Caroline Green to her first meeting as Chief Executive.

 

He thanked councillors who would not be standing in the May 6th elections for their commitment to the Council and wished all those standing for re-election good luck.

 

He noted that 23 March, the anniversary of the UK’s first Covid lockdown, was a national day of reflection to remember those who had died of Covid in the past year. As well as remembering those lost, he paid tribute to all those who had volunteered to help their communities during the pandemic.

 

He had taken part in online events and meetings including for Holocaust Memorial Day; meetings with the High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant; online annual European Reception to welcome Oxford residents from other European countries; and with and in support of the Lord Mayor’s charities.

 

He reminded councillors to join in his Move with Mayor Mark campaign

 

At the Lord Mayor’s invite, the City Rector, Rev Anthony Buckley said the national day of reflection was an opportunity to remember those who had lost loved ones and were suffering ill health, and thanked council staff for their work and commitment that this year brought to the fore.

 

The Sheriff and Deputy Lord Mayor had nothing further to report.

 

The Leader of the Council Cllr Brown, said that the city flag would fly at half mast on 23 March for national day of reflection, and thanked staff and councillors for their work during the pandemic in the past year.

 

The Chief Executive outlined for Council the constraints on service and resourcing pressures on the council and its workforce including the extra demands on council services and additional requirements as a result of the pandemic, and the long term economic and health impacts increasing pressure on services and finances.

93.

Public addresses and questions that relate to matters for decision at this meeting

Public addresses and questions to the Leader or other Cabinet member received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules in the Constitution relating to matters for decision in Part 1 of this agenda.

Up to five minutes is available for each public address and up to three minutes for each question. Questions must be less than 200 words.

The request to speak accompanied by the full text of the address or question must be received by the Head of Law and Governance by 5.00 pm on Tuesday 16 March 2021.

The briefing note will contain the text of addresses and questions submitted by the deadline, and written responses where available.

A total of 45 minutes is available for both public speaking items. Responses are included in this time.

Minutes:

There were no addresses or questions.

 

94.

Additional HMO licensing scheme renewal pdf icon PDF 684 KB

The Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety submitted a report to Cabinet on 10 March which provides the results from the consultation exercise carried out for the proposal to renew the HMO Licensing Scheme and seeks approval from members to designate the whole of the City as subject to additional licensing under section 56(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004 in relation to the size and type of HMO specified in the recommendations of the report for 5 years commencing on 10 June 2021.

Recommendations: Cabinet recommends that Council resolves to adopt the proposed fees and charges structure for both mandatory and additional HMO licences attached at Appendix 6 of the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Altaf Khan, having declared this item related to his disclosable pecuniary interest, left the online meeting for the duration of this item and returned to the meeting at the start of the next item.

 

Council considered the report of the Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety submitted a report to Cabinet on 10 March which provided the results from the consultation exercise carried out for the proposal to renew the HMO Licensing Scheme and sought approval from members to designate the whole of the City as subject to additional licensing under section 56(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004 in relation to the size and type of HMO specified in the recommendations of the report for 5 years commencing on 10 June 2021.

The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery, Cllr Hollingsworth, introduced the report, proposed the recommendations and answered questions.

The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

Council resolved to adopt the proposed fees and charges structure for both mandatory and additional HMO licences attached at Appendix 6 of the report.

95.

Variation (increase) of the current Hackney Carriage Tariffs (table of fares) pdf icon PDF 129 KB

The Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety submitted a reportto the General Purposes Licensing Committee on 22 September 2020 to consider an application for a variation of the current Hackney Carriage Table of Fares from the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (COLTA), set out at Appendix 5 of that report.

The General Purposes Licensing Committee resolved to:

·       Instruct the Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety in consultation with the Head of Law and Governance to carry out the statutory requirement of a public consultation on the proposed table of fares variation;

·       Delegate to the Chair and the Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety to consider any response to the proposed variation before recommending to Council such change to the table of  fees as necessary; and

·       Note its support for the principle of the introduction of a voluntary scheme by the COLTA to improve the consistency of fares for journeys beyond the city boundary.

Following consultation and consideration of responses, the Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety recommends the scheme for adoption.

Recommendation: that Council resolves to approve the application from COLTA to vary the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares and approve the changes to the table of fees as proposed by COLTA and as set out in Appendix 5 of the committee report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Malik, having declared this item related to his disclosable pecuniary interest, left the virtual meeting for the duration of this item and returned to the meeting at the start of the next item.

 

Council considered the report of the Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety to the General Purposes Licensing Committee on 22 September 2020 asking for approval of a variation of the current Hackney Carriage Table of Fares from the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (COLTA), set out at Appendix 5 of that report.

The Chair of the General Purposes Licensing Committee, Cllr Clarkson, introduced the report, proposed the recommendations and answered questions. The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

 

Council resolved to

·       approve the application from COLTA to vary the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares and

·       approve the changes to the table of fees as proposed by COLTA and as set out in Appendix 5 of the committee report.

 

96.

Pay Policy Statement 2021 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

The Head of Business Improvement has submitted a report setting out the Annual Pay Policy Statement.

Recommendation: that Council resolves to approve the Annual Pay Policy Statement 2020/21 as attached at Appendix 1 of the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the Head of Business Improvement setting out the Annual Pay Policy Statement.

The Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services, Cllr Chapman, introduced the report, proposed the recommendations and answered questions.

Council resolved to approve the Annual Pay Policy Statement 2020/21 as attached at Appendix 1 of the report.

97.

Questions on Cabinet minutes

This item has a time limit of 15 minutes.

Councillors may ask the Cabinet Members questions about matters in these minutes:

97a

Minutes of meeting Wednesday 10 February 2021 of Cabinet pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Minutes:

Minute 144 - Zero Carbon Council by 2030

Cllr Wolff asked for clarification of the carbon emissions goals and targets: were these a reduction of 10% per year or to zero carbon by 2030

Cllr Hayes clarified that the reduction was 10% of the current baseline each year to achieve zero carbon by 2030, also supplemented by external funding, and more detailed calculations were set out in the report.

 

Minute 145 - Programme approval and allocation for Public Sector Decarbonisation Funding

Cllr Simmons welcomed the successful bid and asked if investment in a solar farm qualified for this funding or if it failed to meet the eligibility criteria due to the payback period.

Cllr Hayes replied that there was an exception to the normal 10-year payback period for solar farms.

 

Minute 146 – Housing management system

Cllr Wade asked about cost recovery from the contractor and in ‘lessons learned’ what these were and would they

Cllr Rowley replied that more details on these were in the confidential appendix to the report.

 

97b

Minutes of meeting Wednesday 10 March 2021 of Cabinet (to follow) pdf icon PDF 414 KB

Minutes:

Minute 158 – Scrutiny Committee reports

Cllr Gant said that in his view the responsibility for representing the views of the Scrutiny Committee rested with the Chair of the Committee and not with Cabinet members observing the Scrutiny meeting. He asked if the Cabinet Member agreed.

Cllr Hollingsworth confirmed that the Cabinet minutes were a correct record, and he had intended no criticism of the Chair, committee or the report: he had reporting his own views and corrected an inadvertent factual error in the committee’s report.

Cllr Simmons said he considered there was a misalignment between the aspirations for zero carbon in the Council’s business plan the priority 4 in the Local Plan targets and this merited further discussion.

Minute 164 – Zero Emission Zone

Cllr Gant asked about the enforcement for the ZEZ area and regime and what cameras would be used.

Cllr Roz Smith asked how blue badge holders applied for exemptions from charges for driving within the ZEZ to allow them to park in disabled bays close to shops.

Cllr Hayes said he could provide written answers to both questions.

98.

Questions on Notice from Members of Council pdf icon PDF 333 KB

 Questions on notice from councillors received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.11(b).

Questions on notice may be asked of the Lord Mayor, a Member of the Cabinet or a Chair of a Committee. One supplementary question may be asked at the meeting.

The full text of questions must have been received by the Head of Law and Governance by no later than 1.00pm on Wednesday 10 March 2021.

These, and written responses where available, will be published in the briefing note.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

31 written questions were asked of the Cabinet Members and the Leader, and these and written responses were published before the meeting.

 

These along with summaries of the 13 supplementary questions and responses asked and given at the meeting are set out in the minutes pack.

 

The meeting broke for 20min during this item, and Cllrs Haines and Malik left at that point.

99.

Public addresses and questions that do not relate to matters for decision at this Council meeting pdf icon PDF 436 KB

Public addresses and questions to the Leader or other Cabinet member received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules in the Constitution and not relating to matters for decision in Part 1 of this agenda.

Up to five minutes is available for each public address and up to three minutes for each question. Questions must be less than 200 words.

The request to speak accompanied by the full text of the address or question must be received by the Head of Law and Governance by 5.00 pm on Tuesday 16 March 2021.

The briefing note will contain the text of addresses and questions submitted by the deadline, and written responses where available.

A total of 45 minutes is available for both public speaking items. Responses are included in this time.

 

Minutes:

Council heard 4 addresses and Cabinet Members read or summarised their written responses (set out in full in the minutes pack)

 

1.          An address by Kaddy Beck – The ‘Save Bertie’ Campaign

 

2.          An address by Oliver de Soissons – Oxford National Park (supporting Motion d on the agenda)

 

3.          An address by Micaela Tuckwell – Representing ‘Save The Sheaf ‘campaign organisers

 

4.          An address by Fiona Steel – Representing: Good Food Oxford on developing a Food Strategy (supporting Motions a and h on the agenda)

 

100.

Partnership report - Oxfordshire Resources and Waste Partnership pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Report submitted on behalf of the Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services on the Oxfordshire Resources and Waste Partnership.

Council is invited to comment on and note the report.

 

As set out in procedure rule 11.15, Members who are Council representatives on external bodies or Chairs of Council Committees who consider that a significant decision or event has taken place, may give notice to the Head of Law and Governance by 1.00 pm on Thursday 18 March 2021 that they will present a written or oral report on the event or the significant decision and how it may influence future events. Written reports will be circulated with the briefing note.

Minutes:

Council considered the report on behalf of the Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services, Cllr Chapman, on the Oxfordshire Resources and Waste Partnership.

Cllr Chapman introduced the report, noting that the partnership would meet on 12 April 2021. In answer to questions he noted:

The impact of the proposed Environment Bill and regulatory framework would be clearer once the Bill and timetable were published. There was currently a complex credit system for waste and recycling and the County Council were keen to make savings, so this council to be vigilant to ensure it was not penalised for excellent recycling rates.

He accepted the importance of the circular economy (noted in the report, but lacking action points) and would raise this with the partnership.

Recycling rates were at a record level for the city and the increased rates were excellent. Comparing a city wih a large student and transient population to other Oxfordshire districts, largely rural with small towns, was not comparing like with like.

Council noted the report.

101.

Scrutiny Committee update report pdf icon PDF 163 KB

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee has submitted a report which updates Council on the activities of scrutiny since the January meeting of Council.

Council is invited to comment on and note the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council had before it the report of the Scrutiny Committee Chair, Cllr Gant, who introduced this.

 

Council noted the report.

102.

Motions on notice 22 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 393 KB

This item has a time limit of 60 minutes.

Motions received by the Head of Law and Governance in accordance with the rules in Section 11 of the Constitution by the deadline of 1.00pm on Wednesday 10 March 2021 are listed below.

Cross party motions are taken first. Motions will then be taken in turn from the Green, Labour, and Liberal Democrat groups in that order.

Substantive amendments to these motions must be sent by councillors to the Head of Law and Governance by no later than 10.00am on Friday 19 March 2021 so that they may be circulated with the briefing note.

Minor technical or limited wording amendments may be submitted during the meeting but must be written down and circulated.

 

Council is asked to consider the following motions:

a)    Developing a Food Strategy (proposed by Cllr Simmons, seconded by Cllr Wolff)

b)    Housing and Homelessness (Proposed by Cllr Hollingsworth, seconded by Cllr Djafari-Marbini)

c)     Call on the Government to repeal the Vagrancy Act (proposed by Cllr Gant)

d)    Support for a new Oxford National Park (proposed by Cllr Wolff, seconded by Cllr Simmons)

e)    Financial security (Proposed by Cllr Hayes, seconded by Cllr Humberstone)

f)      Proportional Representation to ensure every vote counts (proposed by Cllr Garden)

g)    Adopting an advertising and sponsorship policy which supports responsible consumption (proposed by Cllr Simmons, seconded by Cllr Wolff)

h)    Against Food Poverty (proposed by Cllr Tidball)

 

Minutes:

Council had before it 8 motions on notice submitted in accordance with Council procedure rules and reached decisions as set out below.

Motions agreed as set out below:

a)    Developing a Food Strategy (proposed by Cllr Simmons, seconded by Cllr Wolff; Cllr Simmons accepted the amendment proposed by Cllr Tidball and Cllr Hayes)

b)    Housing and Homelessness (proposed by Cllr Hollingsworth, seconded by Cllr Djafari-Marbini)

c)     Call on the Government to repeal the Vagrancy Act (proposed by Cllr Gant, seconded by Cllr Wade)

d)    Support for a new Oxford National Park (proposed by Cllr Wolff, seconded by Cllr Simmons; Cllr Wolff accepted the amendment proposed by Cllr Hayes and Cllr Tarver)

 

Motions not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished:

e)    Financial security (proposed by Cllr Hayes, seconded by Cllr Humberstone)

f)      Proportional Representation to ensure every vote counts (proposed by Cllr Garden)

g)    Adopting an advertising and sponsorship policy which supports responsible consumption (proposed by Cllr Simmons, seconded by Cllr Wolff)

h)    Against Food Poverty (proposed by Cllr Tidball)

102a

Developing a Food Strategy

Proposed by Cllr Simmons, seconded by Cllr Wolff

Green member motion

The Council resolves to request that the Head of Community Services bring a report to Cabinet with proposals for commissioning a Food Strategy to address the causes of food inequality in Oxford that have been highlighted by the current pandemic (including the scandal surrounding free school meals during lockdown) and takes into account the emerging National Food Strategy (Part 1 report and recommendations released July 2020).

As part of this work, the Cabinet is requested to recognise:

·       That the Council has undertaken considerable work to address inequality

·       That the Council is signatory to the Oxford Good Food Charter

·       The excellent work already being done by the voluntary sector within the City

·       That this work has needed to expand in response to the increased need during the COVID-19 pandemic

In preparing the Food Strategy, the Council should focus on those with the greatest need and seek to address issues including sustainability and public health.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Simmons, proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note. He confirmed that he and the original seconder (Cllr Wolff) accepted the amendment proposed by Cllr Tidball and Cllr Hayes as set out in the briefing note.

Cllr Tidball then seconded the amended motion.

After debate and on being put to the vote the amended motion was agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

Council recognises the commitment made to ensuring nobody in Oxford went hungry. Knowing that the pandemic would exacerbate inequalities, this Council established five Locality Response Hubs, a food depot at Rose Hill Community Centre, and, with partners the Oxford Hub, Oxford Together.

Council further recognises that this Council:

  • Gave over 11,000 emergency food parcels to communities between March and August 2020; working with communities and Oxford Brookes University, these food parcels were nutritious and culturally appropriate.
  • Worked to strengthen relationships with SOFEA and a network of charities and community partners, such as Oxford Mutual Aid, Oxford Community Action, Good Food Oxford, the Oxford Mosques and Syrcox, to support Oxford’s food system.
  • Secured food pipelines, along with access to Community Larders and low-cost food for those who needed it, and £145k of grant funding to support organisations to sustain this system when the Council transitioned from food parcel delivery. Took care to call all those in receipt of a food parcel and worked with them to access food vouchers and the network of food banks and larders.
  • Committed to providing Free School Meal vouchers when the Government refused to provide Free School Meals during October half-term, and continued to work with partners to help people access food through the Winter Support Grants.

More can be done. Supermarkets have significant food waste. Tackling food poverty and reducing waste to deliver a net Zero Carbon City go hand in hand.

 

This Council backs concerted and coordinated action to address food poverty and resolves to continue to work with partners, as we have throughout the pandemic, to develop a county-wide strategy that addresses the causes of food poverty as part of our wider anti-poverty work.  This should include the following:

 

·       The Head of Community Services bringing a report to Cabinet with proposals for commissioning a Food Strategy to address the causes of food inequality in Oxford, exacerbated by the pandemic taking into account:

  • The National Food Strategy;
  • The considerable work undertaken by this Council to address inequality and to tackle food poverty during the pandemic;
  • Being a signatory to the Oxford Good Food Charter;
  • The excellent work of Oxford’s voluntary sector to tackle food poverty;
  • Recommendations on achieving a self-sustaining community food system and Council’s role in supporting this.

 

·       Bringing together the views and knowledge of our food network partners to better understand the current root causes of food poverty, and a shared action plan to implement meaningful solutions.

·       Tackling child food poverty by campaigning to address holiday hunger, increasing take up of free school meals and access to food larders for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102a

102b

Housing and Homelessness

Proposed by Cllr Hollingsworth, seconded by Cllr Djafari-Marbini

Labour member motion

This Council notes with horror the decision by the Government to make sleeping rough sufficient grounds for deportation from the UK; nothing could expose the callous brutality of the current Conservative administration more clearly than this.

The Council also notes that in addition to long-standing and indisputable evidence linking both homelessness and poor quality housing with poor mental and physical health, poorer educational outcomes and worse life chances, it is becoming clearer that overcrowded homes are likely to be a significant factor in both the spread of Covid and deaths from the virus.

This Council notes that overcrowding is just one factor that has been identified as leading to the higher rates of people from BAME backgrounds becoming critically ill and dying from Covid-19 and the work Shelter and The Big Issue have done to highlight the government's own figures that black people are 'three times as likely to experience homelessness'. The pandemic is intensifying the housing crisis and widening inequalities for these groups.

The pandemic has demonstrated that we are only as safe as our most vulnerable member; those with no recourse to public funds must have access to public services including housing services with no fear of deportation.

The Council further notes that the ‘everyone in’ campaign at the onset of lockdown showed that it is possible to end rough sleeping with sufficient political will and funding, and also notes that over the last 70 years it is only when council housing was being built in sufficient volumes alongside market housing that enough homes for everyone were provided.

This Council believes that nobody should have to sleep rough on our streets, and that having a secure, safe and affordable home is a basic human right for all.

This Council believes that the Government should have used the publication of the long-delayed Social Housing White Paper to address properly both the moral imperative to end rough sleeping, and the equally important need to provide genuinely affordable and secure homes for all, and condemns the failure to do so.

This Council therefore asks that:

·       the Leader of the Council writes to the Home Secretary to demand that Government abandons their proposals to make sleeping rough a ground for deportation, and instead to properly fund local authorities, health services and support providers to ensure that no one in Oxford, or anywhere else in the UK, has to sleep rough on the streets;

·       all members of Council support Shelter’s campaign for a mass programme of social housing building, with 200,000 new homes a year being required to address a backlog that has built up over decades;

·       all members of Council endorse efforts by Oxford City Council and the other local authorities in Oxfordshire to provide enough affordable housing to meet the needs of our current and future citizens

Minutes:

Cllr Hollingsworth, seconded by Cllr Aziz proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

This Council notes with horror the decision by the Government to make sleeping rough sufficient grounds for deportation from the UK; nothing could expose the callous brutality of the current Conservative administration more clearly than this.

The Council also notes that in addition to long-standing and indisputable evidence linking both homelessness and poor quality housing with poor mental and physical health, poorer educational outcomes and worse life chances, it is becoming clearer that overcrowded homes are likely to be a significant factor in both the spread of Covid and deaths from the virus.

This Council notes that overcrowding is just one factor that has been identified as leading to the higher rates of people from BAME backgrounds becoming critically ill and dying from Covid-19 and the work Shelter and The Big Issue have done to highlight the government's own figures that black people are 'three times as likely to experience homelessness'. The pandemic is intensifying the housing crisis and widening inequalities for these groups.

The pandemic has demonstrated that we are only as safe as our most vulnerable member; those with no recourse to public funds must have access to public services including housing services with no fear of deportation.

The Council further notes that the ‘everyone in’ campaign at the onset of lockdown showed that it is possible to end rough sleeping with sufficient political will and funding, and also notes that over the last 70 years it is only when council housing was being built in sufficient volumes alongside market housing that enough homes for everyone were provided.

This Council believes that nobody should have to sleep rough on our streets, and that having a secure, safe and affordable home is a basic human right for all.

This Council believes that the Government should have used the publication of the long-delayed Social Housing White Paper to address properly both the moral imperative to end rough sleeping, and the equally important need to provide genuinely affordable and secure homes for all, and condemns the failure to do so.

This Council therefore asks that:

·       the Leader of the Council writes to the Home Secretary to demand that Government abandons their proposals to make sleeping rough a ground for deportation, and instead to properly fund local authorities, health services and support providers to ensure that no one in Oxford, or anywhere else in the UK, has to sleep rough on the streets;

·       all members of Council support Shelter’s campaign for a mass programme of social housing building, with 200,000 new homes a year being required to address a backlog that has built up over decades;

·       all members of Council endorse efforts by Oxford City Council and the other local authorities in Oxfordshire to provide enough affordable housing to meet the needs of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102b

102c

Call on the Government to repeal the Vagrancy Act

Proposed by Cllr Gant

Liberal Democrat member motion

On 21 June 1824 Parliament introduced “An Act for the punishment of idle and disorderly persons, rogues and vagabonds”, commonly known as the Vagrancy Act. It was a response to the increasing number of homeless urban poor following the end of the Napoleonic Wars some nine years earlier, and made it an offence to sleep rough or beg. Campaigners including William Wilberforce condemned the Act from the start because it did not take individual circumstances into account.

But, astonishingly, almost two centuries later, it remains in force. Nor is it just a forgotten relic: in 1989 there were 1,396 convictions under the Act; in 2014 three men were prosecuted under the Act for taking cheese, tomatoes and cake from a bin outside a supermarket in Kentish Town (later dropped by the CPS).

In 2017 the Government announced a review of the law, but made no progress.

In March 2020 Layla Moran MP tabled the Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill. The campaign was joined by many leading organisations in the field, including Shelter, St Mungo’s, Crisis, and very many others. However, the Government took no steps to progress the bill.

On 25 February this year the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP told the House of Commons that the Vagrancy Act should be “consigned to history” and described it as “antiquated” (though did add, worryingly, “We should consider carefully whether better, more modern legislation could be introduced to preserve some aspects of it”).

Layla Moran MP welcomed the direction of his comments and pointed out cross-party support for the repeal Bill: “Liberal Democrats and politicians on all sides have been urging him to repeal this law for years and years. So now he has to keep his word and scrap the Act as soon as possible. Our cross-party bill can be adopted at a moment’s notice and would receive widespread support.”

This Council

·       Welcomes the apparent commitment of Robert Jenrick MP to consign the Vagrancy Act to history, and joins the cross-party group of MPs in urging him to expedite the Repeal Bill as soon as possible;

·       Re-states its belief that criminalising homelessness is never part of the solution to a complex problem;

·       Commits to improving the supply of social-rented homes through house purchase or renovation of underused/unused properties, and to pursue additional funding from MHCLG;

·       Explores by way of a report to Cabinet from the Interim Director of Housing thesetting up or supporting a Social Enterprise Lettings Agency to link landlords with homeless people, and provide ongoing support to both landlords and tenants;

·       Asks the Leader to write to Layla Moran MP as sponsor of the Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill communicating its wholehearted support for the Bill and its speedy passage through Parliament

 

Minutes:

Cllr Gant, seconded by Cllr Garden, proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

On 21 June 1824 Parliament introduced “An Act for the punishment of idle and disorderly persons, rogues and vagabonds”, commonly known as the Vagrancy Act. It was a response to the increasing number of homeless urban poor following the end of the Napoleonic Wars some nine years earlier, and made it an offence to sleep rough or beg. Campaigners including William Wilberforce condemned the Act from the start because it did not take individual circumstances into account.

But, astonishingly, almost two centuries later, it remains in force. Nor is it just a forgotten relic: in 1989 there were 1,396 convictions under the Act; in 2014 three men were prosecuted under the Act for taking cheese, tomatoes and cake from a bin outside a supermarket in Kentish Town (later dropped by the CPS).

In 2017 the Government announced a review of the law, but made no progress.

In March 2020 Layla Moran MP tabled the Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill. The campaign was joined by many leading organisations in the field, including Shelter, St Mungo’s, Crisis, and very many others. However, the Government took no steps to progress the bill.

On 25 February this year the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government RobertJ enrick MP told the House of Commons that the Vagrancy Act should be “consigned to history” and described it as “antiquated” (though did add, worryingly, “We should consider carefully whether better, more modern legislation could be introduced to preserve some aspects of it”).

Layla Moran MP welcomed the direction of his comments and pointed out cross-party support for the repeal Bill: “Liberal Democrats and politicians on all sides have been urging him to repeal this law for years and years. So now he has to keep his word and scrap the Act as soon as possible. Our cross-party bill can be adopted at a moment’s notice and would receive widespread support.”

 

This Council

·       Welcomes the apparent commitment of Robert Jenrick MP to consign the Vagrancy Act to history, and joins the cross-party group of MPs in urging him to expedite the Repeal Bill as soon as possible;

·       Re-states its belief that criminalising homelessness is never part of the solution to a complex problem;

·       Commits to improving the supply of social-rented homes through house purchase or renovation of underused/unused properties, and to pursue additional funding from MHCLG;

·       Explores by way of a report to Cabinet from the Interim Director of Housing the setting up or supporting a Social Enterprise Lettings Agency to link landlords with homeless people, and provide ongoing support to both landlords and tenants;

·       Asks the Leader to write to Layla Moran MP as sponsor of the Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill communicating its wholehearted support for the Bill and its speedy passage through Parliament

 

102d

Support for a new Oxford National Park

Proposed by Cllr Wolff, seconded by Cllr Simmons

Green member motion

Council notes that Bioabundance, a local community interest company, has put together a plan for a 36 sq mile National Park to the northeast of Oxford in response to a call from the Government, in its Environmental Bill and in its 10-point plan; the Green Industrial Revolution, for the creation of new National Parks.

Bioabundance is asking local authorities, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, businesses, charities and environment groups to work together to make this happen for Oxfordshire.

This nature recovery zone would halt the catastrophic loss of wildlife and reduce the detrimental effect of large new developments around Oxford.  The right kind of trees would be planted to promote carbon capture and natural flood defences.

The proposed Park encompasses Otmoor and the ancient royal forests of Bernwood and Stowood. This is a beautiful area with few major roads, between Oxford, Bicester, Kidlington and Wheatley. Over a quarter of a million people live within 10 miles of this area. Easy access would be offered through a new network of sustainable transport links, including foot and cycle paths from train stations and from Park and Ride.

Council asks the Leader to issue a statement of support for the new Oxford National Park and ask the Interim Executive Director (Communities) bring a paper to Cabinet to discuss how the Council might get involved further. This should include an exploration of the value of extending the proposed Park to include adjoining land (for example, Shotover).

 

Minutes:

Cllr Wolff, seconded by Cllr Simmons proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.

Cllr Wolff accepted the amendment proposed by Cllr Hayes as set out in the briefing note.

After debate and on being put to the vote the amended motion was agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

Oxford City Council has committed to increasing biodiversity and is supporting calls to double tree cover across the county, including developing Oxfordshire’s first Local Nature Partnership in partnerships with others.

Oxford City Council takes an ambitious Natural Resource Management approach which will outline what we need to do to sustainably enhance biodiversity. It is important that we examine the needs of our varied ecosystems and maintain vitally important habitats and species in our city.

In the recommendations from the Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change, the first by a UK city, enhanced biodiversity was addressed as one of five themes and seen as central to the overall net zero vision of Oxford. It was recognised that tackling climate change and ecological breakdown together was important. Assembly Members were positive about creating more biodiversity and green space. The strong sentiment emerging from citizens was to make our communities among the greenest in the country, which is exciting ambitious and achievable.

The City Council owns and manages over 600 hectares of accessible green space in the city and surrounding area, including a country park, 33 nature areas and over 60 urban parks. The City has 12 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, covering 278 hectares and including Port Meadow (which has been meadowland for at least 4000 years), Wolvercote Common, ShotoverCountry Park, and Lye Valley Nature Reserve.

Council notes that Bioabundance, a local community interest company, has put together a plan for a 36sqmile National Park to the northeast of Oxford in response to a call from the Government, in its Environmental Bill and in its 10-point plan; the Green Industrial Revolution, for the creation of new National Parks.

Bioabundance’s asking local authorities, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, businesses, charities and environment groups to work together to make this happen for Oxfordshire.

Bioabdundance say that the nature recovery zone would halt the catastrophic loss of wildlife and reduce the detrimental effect of large new developments around Oxford.  The right kind of trees would be planted to promote carbon capture and natural flood defences.

Bioabdundance say that the proposed Park encompasses Otmoor and the ancient royal forests of Bernwood and Stowood. This is a beautiful area with few major roads, between Oxford, Bicester, Kidlington and Wheatley. Over a quarter of a million people live within 10 miles of this area. Easy access would be offered through a new network of sustainable transport links, including foot and cycle paths from train stations and from Park and Ride.

Council asks the Leader to consider a statement of support for the new Oxford National Park after more information can be gathered, and to ask the Interim Executive  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102d

102e

Financial Security

Proposed by Cllr Hayes, seconded by Cllr Humberstone

Labour member motion

Council believes the Conservative Government was too slow to introduce lockdown, too slow to protect care homes, and too slow to provide key workers with protective equipment. Because of this, the UK has the worst Coronavirus death rate in Europe.

Oxfordshire has ten wards in the most deprived 20% of the Index of Multiple Deprivation and they are frequently home to key workers, BAME communities, and others who will be disproportionately affected by COVID. COVID has shone a light on inequalities and how badly prepared the UK was for dealing with a major crisis after a decade of cuts to the NHS and local councils.

The UK is experiencing the worst economic crisis of any major economy. With nearly 10% shrinkage of the British economy last year, the UK is on course for the deepest recession in 300 years, and this will harm people’s lives and livelihoods.

Compared with a pre-COVID trajectory, Oxfordshire’s economy could expect to see 6,000 fewer jobs and output £522 million lower by 2030. Council notes the findings of the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium about the mental health impacts of COVID and the link that is emerging between its economic impacts and poor mental health outcomes.

Council understands that small businesses drive the growth and innovation that will help build Oxford’s and Britain’s recovery. Oxford needs a government to make the right choices on our economy, with support for business going hand-in-hand with robust health measures.

Council applauds council officers for distributing over 4,500 grants to these to businesses disrupted by the pandemic.  Council further applauds the successful placement of rough sleepers in accommodation during the pandemic and regrets the lack of adequate government funding to continue this work and calls for “everyone in” funding to be made permanent.

Council regrets that the Government has not lived up to its promises to support local government during the pandemic, with less than a third of the projected £29 million losses and additional expenditure projected to be covered. 

This Council calls on the Leader to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to:

·       Urgently come up with a plan to secure the economy and help businesses to escape their disastrous stop and go approach.

·       Announce a smarter furlough scheme that offers certainty beyond April that avoids a cliff-edge and supports residents with training and skills for new employment opportunities.

·       Give an immediate extension to the business rates holiday to give businesses breathing space and extend reduced rate VAT to support our hospitality and retail sectors and protect our high streets from collapse.

·       Extend the increase to Universal Credit payments. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that removing this could see some single, childless adults see their income fall by a fifth, and Council would oppose moves that would exacerbate poverty.

·       Follow the advice of the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium: "the Government can most preserve the population’s mental health by protecting people from the economic consequences of the  ...  view the full agenda text for item 102e

Minutes:

This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.

102f

Proportional Representation to ensure every vote counts

Proposed by Cllr Garden

Liberal Democrat member motion

First Past the Post is an archaic system that distorts representation and weakens public engagement with politics. It is no longer fit for purpose in the 21st Century. It encourages divisive and tribal politics.

The mismanagement of the UK’s political system by a single-party government especially over the past four years has demonstrated the need for proportional representation (PR) even more strongly. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the flaws of a centralised system in Westminster, and we have encountered the frustrations of poor decision-making in this top-down approach first-hand. The political situation may be worse by the time of the next election.

The results of last year’s general election speak for themselves. On average it took 38,300 votes to elect each Conservative MP, and a staggering 864,743 to elect the one Green MP. Essentially the Conservatives got 44% of votes but 56% of seats and tragically 71% of votes cast were wasted. At the moment, millions of voters are being left effectively voiceless as they live in safe seats where their vote is unlikely to have any influence on the outcome.

The Conservative Party has been the main beneficiary of First Past the Post (FPTP) over the past 50 years which would explain their reluctant and misleading compromise for electoral reform in the form of the 2011 Alternative Vote (AV) Referendum. There are many possible systems under PR but AV is not one of them.

Recent events in the USA have shown the fragility of democracy. We have a responsibility in safeguarding it. People should have the right to vote for their first choice, not a choice between the least bad candidate with a chance of winning and a wasted vote. It is not how people form consensus in everyday life and shouldn’t be in choosing their government.

Oxford City has repeatedly shown its place in the world. As a city, we should call for a fair voting system that ensures politics works for people. We should call for a pre-election commitment to Proportional Representation. The current system is not working. We need to build a democracy that is fit for the 21st century and in which every vote really counts.

This Council therefore wishes to express its strong support for electoral reform by:

1.     Publicly expressing its support for Proportional Representation and encouraging individual Councillors to do likewise.

2.     Asking the Leader to write to the City’s MPs asking them to build cross-party consensus on a representative system that is fair and fit to deal with future challenges.

 

Minutes:

This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.

102g

Adopting an advertising and sponsorship policy which supports responsible consumption

Proposed by Cllr Simmons, seconded by Cllr Wolff

Green member motion

Council notes that Bristol has produced a draft advertising and sponsorship policy [1] that would cover  the council as an advertiser or sponsor; and the council as an owner of an advertising platform or sponsorship opportunity which an external individual, group or organisation may wish to take up.

It provides a framework for how the council is promoted and how it promotes others, aligned to [the council’s] core values and principles. It seeks to establish a consistent approach, through a set of standards and framework of controls that ensure compliance with legislation, advertising industry codes, council policies and guidelines.

The policy aims to ensure that [the council’s] advertising and sponsorship practice upholds the council’s reputation, supports the council’s priorities by facilitating communication, secures best value for money and maximises income and supports the development of commercial partnerships.

One aim is to support responsible consumption. Content where a ban is being considered includes, for example:

·       Promotion or availability of junk food in proximity to schools

·       Promotion of polluting fossil fuel vehicles

·       Advertising of ‘High Cost Short Term (HCST)’ loan advancers

·       Advertising of organisations offering ways to avoid paying legitimate tax in the UK

Council requests the Chief Executive to delegate an appropriate officer to bring a report to Cabinet to assess whether it is appropriate to adopt a similar policy in Oxford.

 

[1] Minute 51 of Bristol City Council Overview and Scrutiny Management Board 2/11/20

Minutes:

This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.

102h

Against Food Poverty

Proposed by Cllr tidball

Labour member motion

When Oxford was hit by Coronavirus in March 2020, doing nothing was not an option.

Council recognises the commitment made to ensuring nobody in Oxford went hungry. Knowing that the pandemic would exacerbate inequalities, this Council established five Locality Response Hubs, a food depot at Rose Hill Community Centre, and, with partners the Oxford Hub, Oxford Together.

Council further recognises that:

·       Between March and August 2020, over 11,000 emergency food parcels were given to communities by the Council, and working with communities and Oxford Brookes University, these food parcels were nutritious and culturally appropriate.

·       Relationships with SOFEA and a network of charities and community partners, such as Oxford Mutual Aid, Oxford Community Action, Good Food Oxford, the Oxford Mosques and Syrcox, have been strengthened to support the food system in the city.

·       Food pipelines have been secured and Community Larders and access to low-cost food increased for those who needed it. £145k of grant funding has been secured to support organisations to sustain this system when the Council transitioned from food parcel delivery. Care was taken to ensure contact teams called all those in  receipt of a food parcel and worked with them to access food vouchers and the network of food banks and larders where needed.

·       When the Government refused to provide Free School Meals during October half-term, this Council committed to providing Free School Meal vouchers and continued to work with partners to help people access food through the Winter Support Grants.

More can be done. Supermarkets have significant food waste. Tackling food poverty and reducing waste to deliver a net Zero Carbon City go hand in hand.

This Council backs concerted and coordinated action to address food poverty and resolves to continue to work with partners, as we have throughout the pandemic, to develop a county-wide strategy that addresses the causes of food poverty as part of our wider anti-poverty work.  This should include the following:

·       The Council producing recommendations on what is needed for a self-sustaining community food system and its role in supporting this, based on its strengths and experiences over the last year.

·       Bringing together the views and knowledge of our food network partners to better understand the current root causes of food poverty, with a view to developing and implementing meaningful solutions through a shared action plan.

·       Tackling child food poverty by campaigning to address holiday hunger, increase the take up of free school meals, and access to food larders for families with children.

·       Continuing to use relationships with supermarkets to divert surplus food to those that need it and minimise waste to help eliminate Oxford’s contribution to climate change by 2040 or sooner, in line with the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter and recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change.

 

Minutes:

This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.