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Broadcasted on: Wednesday, 21st of September 2022 at 18:00 (Times in UTC)

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Council

Broadcasted on: Wednesday, 21st of September 2022 at 18:00 (Times in UTC)

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  • 01

    Appointment of Relief Chair

    To appoint a relief Chair.

  • 02

    Minutes

    To sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council meeting held on 22 June 2022.

    Council Minutes - 22 June 2022

  • 03

    Lord Mayor's Communications

    1.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Thursday 23rd June, he attendedthe Maida Hill Youth Market, Covent Garden Trust Annual Rent Ceremony at St Paul’s Church and the Age UK Volunteer Awards at St Anne’s Church. 

     

    2.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Saturday 25th June, he attended West End Live at Trafalgar Square. 

     

    3.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Sunday 26th June, he attended Westbourne Summer Festival at Canalside and the Marylebone Music Festival in Manchester Square. 

     

    4.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Monday 27th June, he attended the City of London Pride Flag Raising and reception at Guildhall. 

     

    5.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Tuesday 28th June, he attended the Kings College Summer Reception. 

     

    6.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Wednesday 29th June, he attended the Westminster Tree Trust 1000th Tree planting event at St Vincent de Paul School. 

     

    7.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Thursday 30th June, he attended the WAES Diversity and Inclusion Department Awards. 

     

    8.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Friday 1st July, he attended the War Widows’ Association Founders’Day Service and Reception at Wellington Barracks. 

     

    9.          The Lord Mayor to report that, on Saturday 2nd July, he attended the Pride March in the West End. 

     

    10.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Sunday 3rd July, he attended the Lord Mayor’s Civic Service at The Abbey. 

     

    11.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Tuesday 5th July, he attended the Metropolitan Police Service at The Abbey. 

     

    12.      The Lord Mayor to report that, onThursday 7th July, he attended the Barrow Hill Junior School Summer Open Evening and the Military Music Spectacular on Horse Guards Parade. 

     

    13.      The Lord Mayor to report that, onFriday 8th July, he attended the Burdett Coutts’ School Founders’ Day. 

     

    14.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Saturday 9th July, he attended the St Mary’s Bryanston Square Primary School Summer Fair. 

     

    15.        The Lord Mayor to report that, on Monday 11th July, he attended Westminster Almshouses Founders’ Day. 

     

    16.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Tuesday 12th July, he attended the Royal Academy of Music Graduation Ceremony and the Step into Dance event at Cadogan Hall. 

     

    17.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Wednesday 13th July, he attended the Carnival Village Trust/Notting Hill Carnival event at The Tabernacle and the Eid in the City Dinner at Guildhall. 

     

    18.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Thursday 14th July, he attended the John Lyons’ White City Theatre Project at the Lyric Hammersmith. 

     

    19.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Friday 15th July, he attended the Paddington Arts Showcase and King Solomon Academy’s Summer Fair. 

     

    20.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Saturday 16th July, he attended the Belgian Cenotaph Parade on Whitehall. 

     

    21.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Sunday 17th July, he attended the induction of a new Vicar at St Peter’s Church Eaton Square and Chess Fest on Trafalgar Square. 

     

    22.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Thursday 21st July, he attended the Soho Fire Station Charity Car Wash and the RAF Standard Presentation and Reception at the Royal Air Force Museum. 

     

    23.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Tuesday 26thJuly, he attended the Lions Club of Covent Garden 25th Charter Anniversary Handover Celebration at the House of Lords. 

     

    24.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Sunday 31st July, he attended the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall 

     

    25.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Saturday 6th August, he attended Queen’s Park Summer Festival. 

     

    26.        The Lord Mayor to report that, on Tuesday 9th August, he attended the launch event for Art of London’s Brighter Future at Piccadilly Circus. 

     

    27.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Wednesday 10th August, he attended the Lisson Green Fun Day and the NWEC Oxford Street launch of ‘Clean Power’ on South Moulton Street. 

     

    28.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Thursday 11th August, he attended the World Reimagined Private Reception at The Abbey. 

     

    29.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Sunday 14th August, he attended the Walterton and Elgin Community Homes Summer Festival. 

     

    30.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Wednesday 17th August, he attended the Abbey Community Centre Tea Party. 

     

    31.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Thursday 18th August, he attended an Evensong and Reception marking World Humanitarian Day at The Abbey. 

     

    32.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Tuesday 23rd August, he attended the Treasure Boxing Club, Moberly Sports Centre. 

     

    33.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Tuesday 6th September, he attended a reception for the Polish Armed Forces at the Polish Embassy 

     

    34.        The Lord Mayor to report that, on Wednesday 7th September, he visited The Passage HQ and attended the Brazilian Embassy Bicentennial Concert at Cadogan Hall. 

     

    35.      The Lord Mayor to report that, on Sunday 11th September, he attended a wreath laying for the Polish Airmens Association at St Clement Danes Church and the Mid Autumn Festival Celebration in Chinatown. 

     

  • 04

    Declarations of Interest

  • 05

    Statement on Urgent Matters

    With the approval of the Chairman of the meeting, the Leader of the Council may make a statement on an urgent matter and the Leader of the Opposition will have an equivalent right of reply.

  • 06

    Petitions and Deputations, if any

  • 07

    Questions

    The Lord Mayor will call Members who have indicated that they wish to ask a question after the Leader of the Opposition has asked her questions.

  • 08

    Councillor Issues

    Councillor Maggie Carman - Tackling the Drug Problem

     

    Councillor Melvyn Caplan - Housing Major Works in Little Venice Ward

  • 09

    Future Policy Plan

    To consider items for debate from the attached Future Policy Plan.

    Future Policy Plan

  • 10

    Report for Full Council: Appointment of Independent Person to the Audit and Performance Committee

    To receive, consider and debate, if chosen, the following report which contains a recommendation to the Council for approval and adoption.

    Council Report - A&P Independent Person

  • 11

    Report for Full Council: Membership of the Westminster Scrutiny Commission

    To receive, consider and debate, if chosen, the following report which contains a recommendation to the Council for approval and adoption.

    Council Report - Scrutiny Commission

  • 12

    Report for Full Council: Treasury Management Strategy Statement (TMSS) Amendment

    To receive, consider and debate, if chosen, the following report which contains a recommendation to the Council for approval and adoption.

    Treasury Management Strategy 2022-23 Amendment

    Treasury Management Strategy 2022-23 Amendment Appendix A

  • 13

    Notices of Motion

    (a)               Majority Party Motion – Dirty Money

     

    To be moved by Councillor Adam Hug.

     

    To be seconded by Councillor Ellie Ormsby.

     

    This Council notes that:

     

    1.     Westminster City Council is bringing forward a new commitment to tackle dirty money and poor tax conduct, as part of our work to tackle the ill-effects of dirty money on Westminster residents, and nationally on legitimate businesses and communities across the United Kingdom. We want to create a more equitable economy in Westminster, which puts our residents and communities first.

     

    2.     The pressure on organisations to pay their fair share of tax has never been stronger. With the cost-of-living crisis impacting the most vulnerable in our society, it is only right that the council takes the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct and supports those businesses who pay their fair share of tax - contributing to the vital funding front-line services need.

     

    3.     Two thirds of people (66%) believe the Government and local councils should at least consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax, as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when awarding contracts to companies; despite this around 17.5% of public contracts in the UK have been won by companies with links to tax havens.

     

    4.     The council is currently investigating unpaid business rates of £7.9m from 30 shops on Oxford Street and continues to pursue these taxes, and is working to enforce against those candy stores and other tenants who are failing to fulfil their legal obligations. Failing to contribute fairly is an extremely broad issue that directly impacts funding for vital public services, for example it has been conservatively estimated that losses from multinational profit-shifting (just one form of tax avoidance) could be costing the UK £17bn per annum in lost corporation tax revenues.

     

    5.     The Centre for Public data has uncovered that within Westminster there has been a 300% rise in the number of properties registered to owners in Jersey since 2010, and a rise of 1,200% in the number of properties registered to owners in Russia. Westminster had 12,104 registered titles owned by individuals based overseas - 9% of all its registered titles, more than any other local authority. This number has trebled since 2010. We are proud of the diverse resident population of Westminster, but this data suggests something troubling, that the use of Westminster as a location to hide ill-gotten gains in the property market is spiralling out of control.

     

    6.     The use of Westminster property to legitimise illicit gains inflates property prices, reduces housing options for residents and diminishes the status of Westminster as a place to do business. We will tackle this head on and call on our partners to do all they can to end these harmful practices, leading the way with a new Westminster Against Dirty Money Strategy.

     

    7.     This starts with adopting the Fair Tax Mark as it offers a means for business to demonstrate good tax conduct and has been secured by a wide range of businesses across the UK, including FTSE-listed PLCs, co-operatives, social enterprises and large private businesses.

     

    This Council believes that:

     

    1.   Paying tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be.

     

    2.   Tax enables us to provide services from education, health and social care,  to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also helps to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distortions in the economy.

     

    3.   As recipients of significant public funding, local authorities should take the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct; be that by ensuring contractors are paying their proper share of tax, or by refusing to go along with offshore tax dodging when buying land and property.

     

    4.   Where councils hold substantive stakes in private enterprises, influence should be wielded to ensure that such businesses are exemplars of tax transparency and tax avoidance is shunned.

     

    5.   More action is needed, however, as current and proposed new UK procurement law significantly restricts councils’ ability to either penalise poor tax conduct (as exclusion grounds are rarely triggered) or reward good tax conduct, when buying goods or services.

     

    6.   UK cities, counties and towns can and should stand up for responsible tax conduct - doing what they can within existing frameworks and pledging to do more given the opportunity, as active supporters of international tax justice. We should also celebrate the tax contribution made by responsible businesses and promote responsible tax conduct.

     

    This Council resolves to:

     

    1.   Approve the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration, as a key step to lead by example and demonstrate good practice in our tax conduct, right across our activities – and promote Fair Tax Mark certification with our partners.

     

    2.   Ensure the fair payment of taxes, business rates and employment taxes through robust implementation of IR35, not using offshore vehicles for land or property purchase and undertaking due diligence to ensure suppliers are not inappropriately utilising not-for-profit structures.

     

    3.   Ensure the effective implementation of the beneficial ownership registry - legislated for in the Economic Crime Act - in collaboration with our partners, and ensure suppliers are fulfilling these obligations.

      

    4.   Work with our partners to deliver a co-created campaign for further action through: developing a Westminster Against Dirty Money charter; improving our data sharing to ensure the highest possible levels of transparency; and calling on Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the speedy delivery of a second Economic Crime Bill, with substantive reform of Companies House practices and tightening of UK procurement law.

     

    (b)               Majority Party Motion – Cost of Living Emergency

     

    To be moved by Councillor Tim Roca.

     

    To be seconded by Councillor Nafsika Butler-Thalassis.

     

    This Council notes that:

     

    ·       On 26 August, Ofgem announced that the energy price cap will rise by around 80% nationally from £1,971 to £3,549 per year (based on the average national household with typical consumption on a dual electricity and gas bill, paying by direct debit). Without further intervention, customers who pay by cash, cheque or quarterly direct debit will pay an additional £215 (7% higher) and prepayment meter customers will pay an additional £59 (2% higher) compared to those on direct debit.

     

    ·       An imminent jump in energy costs this winter, colliding with temperatures falling and energy use increasing, will have devastating impacts on low-to-middle income households across Westminster.  Around 31,000 households (24%) in receipt of government benefits are particularly exposed to rises in the cost-of-living and around 11,000 of these households could be in fuel poverty and in particularly acute distress, given the rise in price.

     

    ·       A cold home substantially increases the risk of serious illness for vulnerable people.  The Royal College of Psychiatrists has reported that the cost-of-living crisis “poses a threat of pandemic proportions” to the nation’s mental health.

     

    ·       This Council has targeted an initial £5.6m package of support to help families in Westminster that are struggling with the rising cost of living.  The Council has also published a Cost of Living Strategy which sets out the actions we are taking to:

     

    a)            Support the most vulnerable members of our society

     

    b)            Help our residents to manage and pay their bills

     

    c)            Support residents with energy efficiency measures, which encourage greener lifestyles and lower bills

     

    d)            Make sure everyone gets the benefits they are entitled to receive

     

    e)            Help residents with debt and financial advice

     

    f)              Maximise the impact we’re having by coordinating our efforts with our partners

     

    This Council believes that the scale of the challenge needs urgent and substantial action from the Council, Central Government, and others with the ability to help.

     

    This Council, therefore, resolves to declare a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’.

     

    In addition, this Council resolves to deliver a robust approach to support our communities – particularly the most vulnerable – through the autumn and winter.  This will include:

    ·       Identifying further resources within the council that can support the delivery of the Cost of Living Strategy

    ·       Working with partners to deliver a network of warm places that provide opportunities for activities and engagement as well as heat.

    ·       Finding suitable opportunities for Westminster Connects and local volunteers to help people access support

    ·       Engaging further with major business and institutional stakeholders to work with us to find further ways to assist those most in need

     

    The work of alleviating the Cost of Living crisis is not the Council’s alone. Therefore, this Council calls on the Government to:

     

    ·       Freeze energy bills, and cut VAT on energy bills, to give support and certainty to vulnerable residents 

     

    ·       Start providing dedicated funding for free school meals vouchers during the school holidays

     

    ·       Invest more funding for insulating homes, to save money on energy bills now and in the longer term

     

    ·       Provide a lifeline to local businesses and high streets, and the people they employ, by fundamentally reforming business rates and providing further support to small businesses.

     

    ·       Ensure that energy producers who are receiving record profits due to the spike in oil and gas prices pay their fair share of the cost of any emergency measures through a windfall tax or other targeted measures rather than placing the cost purely on taxpayers or future bill payers.

     

     

     

     

    (c)            Opposition Party Motion – Cost of Living Emergency

     

    To be moved by Councillor David Harvey.

     

    To be seconded by Councillor Alan Mendoza.

     

    As it did during the Covid-19 pandemic, this Council has a long-term history of non-partisan support for our residents and for the small businesses that are a key part of our local economy. 

     

    This Council commits now to support residents and SMEs alike through the forthcoming winter with the challenges of energy and food poverty so that our people and businesses survive in the short-term and thrive in the medium-term. 

     

    Where the Council is the energy supplier for communal heating and residents do not benefit from national schemes, it undertakes to protect residents and SMEs from energy price rises by not increasing above September 2022 prices during the coming winter.

     

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