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Agenda item

Notice of Motion given by Councillor Andrew Sangar

That this Council:

 

(a)       notes that there is an indicative £1.9m contained in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy for the assumed Council Tax Freeze Grant expected to be offered by the Coalition Government for 2015/16;

 

(b)       further notes that Council Tax remains one of the most regressive taxes in the country and that increasing Council Tax puts proportionally more costs onto lower income households;

 

(c)        believes that freezing Council Tax is a straight forward method of helping households across Sheffield; and

 

(d)       urges all groups on the City Council to take up the Council Tax Freeze Grant when submitting their Council budget proposals for the Financial Year 2015/16.

Minutes:

 

Council Tax Levels

 

 

 

It was moved by Councillor Andrew Sangar, seconded by Councillor Colin Ross, that this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes that there is an indicative £1.9m contained in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy for the assumed Council Tax Freeze Grant expected to be offered by the Coalition Government for 2015/16;

 

(b)       further notes that Council Tax remains one of the most regressive taxes in the country and that increasing Council Tax puts proportionally more costs onto lower income households;

 

(c)        believes that freezing Council Tax is a straight forward method of helping households across Sheffield; and

 

(d)       urges all groups on the City Council to take up the Council Tax Freeze Grant when submitting their Council budget proposals for the Financial Year 2015/16.

 

 

 

Whereupon, it was moved by Councillor Ben Curran, seconded by Councillor Julie Dore, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of all the words after the words “That this Council” and the addition of the following words therefor:-

 

 

(a)       regrets that yet again the Coalition Government continue to make unprecedented cuts to the Council’s budget and that these cuts are disproportionately targeted at local authorities like Sheffield;

 

(b)       notes the independent research carried out by the Sheffield Political Economy & Research Institute of the University of Sheffield which confirmed “there is a clear pattern to the cuts experienced by local authorities in England: Councils in the North, in more deprived areas, and/or controlled by Labour have, generally speaking, seen more significant reductions in spending power than those in the South, in more affluent areas, and/or controlled by the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.”;

 

(c)       regrets that this has forced another huge budget gap for the upcoming financial year and notes that the Council is estimated as having a £63 million budget gap for 2015/16;

 

(d)       regrets that the main opposition group’s motion offers no suggestions to help the Council meet the cuts that have been forced by the Coalition Government and calls on the opposition to outline how they would meet the huge financial challenge facing the Council;

 

(e)       further notes that Members can watch the budget video by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5GD2Roeg8Y, and would advise all Members to watch the video, particularly Members of the main opposition group who continue to be in denial about the scale of the cuts facing the Council;

 

(f)        welcomes the Guardian newspaper’s description of this video as “A catchy, engaging yet shocking cartoon outlining the crisis facing Sheffield” in a recent article entitled “Councils are in crisis – and it happened on Nick Clegg’s watch”;

 

(g)       is shocked that the main opposition group have the audacity to talk about ‘regressive taxes’ when they have supported a Government who have cut taxes for millionaires and refused to introduce a mansion tax at the same time as cutting tax credits for some of the lowest paid and increasing VAT;

 

(h)       notes that despite the unprecedented level of cuts facing the Council, the present Administration have frozen Council tax for the past four years; and

 

(i)        believes that this demonstrates that the present Administration do not have a record of increasing Council tax, however accepts that currently no political group has come forward with proposals to produce a balanced budget and therefore it is not possible to rule Council tax increases in or out at this stage, and notes that this is consistent with the approach taken by the Administration at this stage in the budget process in previous years.

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Note: Councillors Jillian Creasy, Robert Murphy, Sarah Jane Smalley and Brian Webster voted for paragraphs (a) to (c) and (h) and abstained on paragraphs (d) to (g) and (i) of the above amendment and asked for this to be recorded.)

 

 

 

The original Motion, as amended, was then put as a Substantive Motion in the following form and carried:-

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)       regrets that yet again the Coalition Government continue to make unprecedented cuts to the Council’s budget and that these cuts are disproportionately targeted at local authorities like Sheffield;

 

(b)       notes the independent research carried out by the Sheffield Political Economy & Research Institute of the University of Sheffield which confirmed “there is a clear pattern to the cuts experienced by local authorities in England: Councils in the North, in more deprived areas, and/or controlled by Labour have, generally speaking, seen more significant reductions in spending power than those in the South, in more affluent areas, and/or controlled by the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.”;

 

(c)        regrets that this has forced another huge budget gap for the upcoming financial year and notes that the Council is estimated as having a £63 million budget gap for 2015/16;

 

(d)       regrets that the main opposition group’s motion offers no suggestions to help the Council meet the cuts that have been forced by the Coalition Government and calls on the opposition to outline how they would meet the huge financial challenge facing the Council;

 

(e)       further notes that Members can watch the budget video by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5GD2Roeg8Y, and would advise all Members to watch the video, particularly Members of the main opposition group who continue to be in denial about the scale of the cuts facing the Council;

 

(f)        welcomes the Guardian newspaper’s description of this video as “A catchy, engaging yet shocking cartoon outlining the crisis facing Sheffield” in a recent article entitled “Councils are in crisis – and it happened on Nick Clegg’s watch”;

 

(g)       is shocked that the main opposition group have the audacity to talk about ‘regressive taxes’ when they have supported a Government who have cut taxes for millionaires and refused to introduce a mansion tax at the same time as cutting tax credits for some of the lowest paid and increasing VAT;

 

(h)       notes that despite the unprecedented level of cuts facing the Council, the present Administration have frozen Council tax for the past four years; and

 

(i)         believes that this demonstrates that the present Administration do not have a record of increasing Council tax, however accepts that currently no political group has come forward with proposals to produce a balanced budget and therefore it is not possible to rule Council tax increases in or out at this stage, and notes that this is consistent with the approach taken by the Administration at this stage in the budget process in previous years.

 

 

 

Note: Councillors Jillian Creasy, Robert Murphy, Sarah Jane Smalley and Brian Webster voted for paragraphs (a) to (c) and (h) and abstained on paragraphs (d) to (g) and (i) of the Substantive Motion and asked for this to be recorded.)