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Agenda item

Notice of Motion given by Councillor Julie Dore

That this Council:-

 

(a)       notes the recent report by the London School of Economics “Were we really all in it together? The distributional effects of the UK Coalition Government’s tax-benefit policy changes”;

 

(b)       notes that the analysis from the report shows:

 

(i)         the outcome for those in the bottom half of incomes is in contrast to those in the top half of incomes, who gained from direct tax cuts, with the exception of most of the top 5 percent – although within this 5 percent group, those at the very top gained, because of the cut in the top rate of income tax;

 

(ii)        in total, the changes are cost neutral and have not contributed to cutting the deficit; rather, the savings from reducing benefits and tax credits have been offset by the costs of raising the tax-free income tax allowance and lowering the top rate of income tax allowance, giving tax cuts to millionaires; and

 

(iii)       the analysis challenges the idea that those with incomes in the top tenth have lost as great a share of their incomes as those with the lowest incomes;

 

(c)        believes that this report conclusively proves that we are not all in it together and the Government has made these cuts not to reduce the deficit but to redistribute money from the poorest to the wealthiest in society;

 

(d)       is extremely concerned about the impact that these policies are having in Sheffield and is concerned that child poverty is rising as a result and inequalities are increasing;

 

(e)       notes the recent research commissioned by the Council and published by Sheffield Hallam University, about the impact of welfare reform on Sheffield, which highlighted that:

 

(i)         some local communities are hit by welfare reform five times harder than others;

 

(ii)        just under half of the financial loss from welfare reform will fall on working households;

 

(iii)       couples with children are losing an average of nearly £1,700 a year;

 

(iv)       lone parents are losing over £2,000 a year; and

 

(v)        men and women with health problems or disabilities are significantly disadvantaged;

 

(f)        believes this research proves conclusively that the cuts to welfare are hitting the poorest in our city the hardest;

 

(g)       notes that the report proves that the welfare reform impacts most on the poorest parts of the city, including Burngreave, Manor, Southey and Firth Park;

 

(h)       notes that proportionately, Sheffield is not hit harder than other big towns and cities in the north of England by the cuts to welfare, so this is something that other comparable cities will also be experiencing, however the financial loss is far above the level in many parts of the south outside London, which is another example of the Government disproportionately targeting pain towards the north of England; and

 

(i)         believes it is clear that these welfare cuts are ideological; they are not about cutting the deficit but redistributing money away from some of the poorest people in our society to the richest.

Minutes:

 

Welfare Reform

 

 

 

It was moved by Councillor Julie Dore, seconded by Councillor Geoff Smith, that this Council:-

 

 

 

 

(a)      notes the recent report by the London School of Economics “Were we really all in it together? The distributional effects of the UK Coalition Government’s tax-benefit policy changes”;

 

(b)      notes that the analysis from the report shows:

 

(i)          the outcome for those in the bottom half of incomes is in contrast to those in the top half of incomes, who gained from direct tax cuts, with the exception of most of the top 5 percent – although within this 5 percent group, those at the very top gained, because of the cut in the top rate of income tax;

 

(ii)         in total, the changes are cost neutral and have not contributed to cutting the deficit; rather, the savings from reducing benefits and tax credits have been offset by the costs of raising the tax-free income tax allowance and lowering the top rate of income tax allowance, giving tax cuts to millionaires; and

 

(iii)        the analysis challenges the idea that those with incomes in the top tenth have lost as great a share of their incomes as those with the lowest incomes;

 

(c)       believes that this report conclusively proves that we are not all in it together and the Government has made these cuts not to reduce the deficit but to redistribute money from the poorest to the wealthiest in society;

 

(d)      is extremely concerned about the impact that these policies are having in Sheffield and is concerned that child poverty is rising as a result and inequalities are increasing;

 

(e)      notes the recent research commissioned by the Council and published by Sheffield Hallam University, about the impact of welfare reform on Sheffield, which highlighted that:

 

(i)         some local communities are hit by welfare reform five times harder than others;

 

(ii)        just under half of the financial loss from welfare reform will fall on working households;

 

(iii)       couples with children are losing an average of nearly £1,700 a year;

 

(iv)       lone parents are losing over £2,000 a year; and

 

(v)       men and women with health problems or disabilities are significantly disadvantaged;

 

(f)       believes this research proves conclusively that the cuts to welfare are hitting the poorest in our city the hardest;

 

(g)      notes that the report proves that the welfare reform impacts most on the poorest parts of the city, including Burngreave, Manor, Southey and Firth Park;

 

(h)      notes that proportionately, Sheffield is not hit harder than other big towns and cities in the north of England by the cuts to welfare, so this is something that other comparable cities will also be experiencing, however the financial loss is far above the level in many parts of the south outside London, which is another example of the Government disproportionately targeting pain towards the north of England; and

 

(i)        believes it is clear that these welfare cuts are ideological; they are not about cutting the deficit but redistributing money away from some of the poorest people in our society to the richest.

 

 

 

Whereupon, it was moved by Councillor Joe Otten, seconded by Councillor Steve Ayris, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraphs (b) to (i) and the addition of new paragraphs (b) to (h) as follows:-

 

 

 

(b)       notes however that this report did not take into account that there is less money available to spend in total because of the record public sector deficit in 2010, and that if more were to be spent on welfare, this would have to be found from other spending areas such as local government, health or education;

 

(c)       notes the Labour Party's risible attempts at cynical positioning on this issue of talking tough on welfare while opposing any specific measures and offering no alternatives;

 

(d)       notes that under the previous Government, fuel bills spiralled, Council Tax doubled, fuel duty increased on 12 occasions, inequality increased and the 10p tax rate was abolished - doubling income tax on the lowest paid;

 

(e)       welcomes the income tax cut of £800 for the typical tax payer, and taking 2.7 million of the poorest people out of paying any income tax at all;

 

(f)        welcomes free school meals for 4 to 7 year olds, saving parents £400 per year per child;

 

(g)       notes that in 2014, the country has seen the largest annual fall in unemployment on record, with the large majority of new jobs being full time; and

 

(h)      believes that there is a long way still to go in reducing unemployment and poverty and making the tax system fairer.

 

 

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was negatived.

 

 

 

It was then moved by Councillor Sarah Jane Smalley, seconded by Councillor Jillian Creasy, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the addition of new paragraphs (j) to (u) as follows:-

 

 

 

(j)        notes from The Convenient Truth by Wilkinson and Pickett, published by the Fabian Society that “ Although economic development is what has transformed the real quality of life during the last couple of centuries…. evidence shows very clearly that in the rich countries economic growth no longer drives measures of wellbeing” and “Greater equality is then a key objective, not only because it reduces social dysfunction and improves health and wellbeing, but also because it makes it possible to overcome some of the main obstacles to sustainability”;

 

(k)       notes research from The Equality Trust, which states that the wealth of Britain’s richest 100 people now almost equals that of a third of all households put together;

 

(l)        notes Joseph Rowntree Foundation Research published in January which shows that eight million people are living on family incomes considered inadequate for a “socially acceptable standard of living”, a rise of almost a third since 2009;

 

(m)      notes the work which has been done to date in Sheffield to reduce inequality;

 

(n)      welcomes the fact that Sheffield City Council has a pay ratio of 1:10;

 

(o)       welcomes the launch of the “Our Fair City” campaign;

 

(p)       notes the Sheffield Fairness Commission recommendation that “substantial progress” be made on paying a Living Wage in the public sector by 2015 (including contractors) and for all employers in the city to be paying the Living Wage by 2023;

 

(q)       notes with concern that whilst Sheffield City Council has implemented a Living Wage for the staff it directly employs, work remains “on-going” with contractors and no firm overall or time-commitment has been made to ensure all contractors adopt the Living Wage;

 

(r)        praises Glasgow City Council for now obliging all its contractors to pay the Living Wage;

 

(s)       notes that Brighton & Hove City Council is accredited as a Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation, which means that they have a plan for ensuring that all contractors pay the Living Wage as and when contracts come up for renewal, and that new contractors pay the Living Wage;

 

(t)        makes a real commitment to reducing inequality in Sheffield by requesting that the Administration puts a plan in place to become accredited as a Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation; and

 

(u)      encourages its partners on the Sheffield First Partnership Board, including the Sheffield Universities, to commit to reducing inequality in Sheffield by ensuring that they have pay ratios of 1:10 or less.

 

 

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was negatived.

 

 

 

The original Motion was then put to the vote and carried, as follows:-

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes the recent report by the London School of Economics “Were we really all in it together? The distributional effects of the UK Coalition Government’s tax-benefit policy changes”;

 

(b)       notes that the analysis from the report shows:

 

(i)         the outcome for those in the bottom half of incomes is in contrast to those in the top half of incomes, who gained from direct tax cuts, with the exception of most of the top 5 percent – although within this 5 percent group, those at the very top gained, because of the cut in the top rate of income tax;

 

(ii)        in total, the changes are cost neutral and have not contributed to cutting the deficit; rather, the savings from reducing benefits and tax credits have been offset by the costs of raising the tax-free income tax allowance and lowering the top rate of income tax allowance, giving tax cuts to millionaires; and

 

(iii)       the analysis challenges the idea that those with incomes in the top tenth have lost as great a share of their incomes as those with the lowest incomes;

 

(c)        believes that this report conclusively proves that we are not all in it together and the Government has made these cuts not to reduce the deficit but to redistribute money from the poorest to the wealthiest in society;

 

(d)       is extremely concerned about the impact that these policies are having in Sheffield and is concerned that child poverty is rising as a result and inequalities are increasing;

 

(e)       notes the recent research commissioned by the Council and published by Sheffield Hallam University, about the impact of welfare reform on Sheffield, which highlighted that:

 

(i)         some local communities are hit by welfare reform five times harder than others;

 

(ii)        just under half of the financial loss from welfare reform will fall on working households;

 

(iii)       couples with children are losing an average of nearly £1,700 a year;

 

(iv)       lone parents are losing over £2,000 a year; and

 

(v)        men and women with health problems or disabilities are significantly disadvantaged;

 

(f)        believes this research proves conclusively that the cuts to welfare are hitting the poorest in our city the hardest;

 

(g)       notes that the report proves that the welfare reform impacts most on the poorest parts of the city, including Burngreave, Manor, Southey and Firth Park;

 

(h)       notes that proportionately, Sheffield is not hit harder than other big towns and cities in the north of England by the cuts to welfare, so this is something that other comparable cities will also be experiencing, however the financial loss is far above the level in many parts of the south outside London, which is another example of the Government disproportionately targeting pain towards the north of England; and

 

(i)         believes it is clear that these welfare cuts are ideological; they are not about cutting the deficit but redistributing money away from some of the poorest people in our society to the richest.

 

 

 

(Note: Councillors Simon Clement-Jones, Richard Shaw, Rob Frost, Joe Otten, Colin Ross, Martin Smith, Penny Baker, Roger Davison, Diana Stimely, Sue Alston, Andrew Sangar, Cliff Woodcraft, Ian Auckland, Steve Ayris, Denise Reaney, Katie Condliffe and Vickie Priestley voted for paragraph (a) and against paragraphs (b) to (i) of the Motion and asked for this to be recorded.)