Report on County Council Matters to North Nibley Parish Council

8th January 2018

My apologies for this meeting. I have two other parish council meetings this evening! Please let me know of anything that arises later in the meeting that you wish me to take up.

County Council 6th December

At the full meeting of the county council there were five motions on the agenda, three of which failed to get debated at the last meeting as the two-hour slot for motions ran out. This time the chairman was careful to make sure this didn’t happen!

- adoption and promotion of electric vehicles by the county council and beyond (Green/Lib Dem motion). This was agreed following a Conservative amendment.

- votes at 16 (Lib Dem motion). To ask the county’s MPs to write in support of this to the county representatives on the Youth Parliament. This was lost, the Conservatives voting against.

- to slow down the rate of increase in the state pension age for women to avoid hardship (Green/Labour motion). Carried unanimously.

- council tax exemption for care leavers (Labour motion). This was amended by the Conservatives and carried unanimously.

- joint working across the emergency services (Lib Dem motion). Encouraging the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Fire & Rescue service to work together on mutually beneficial projects and with the ambulance service. This was intended to improve relations with the PCC following his unsuccessful bid to take over the Fire & Rescue service. It was carried unanimously.

Cabinet meeting 13th December

The main item for this meeting was the draft 2018/19 budget. Consultation on this started on 14th December and will run until 17th January.

The proposed budget totals £407.16 million and is based on a 1.99% Council Tax increase. In addition, there is the continuation of the ‘social care precept’ allowing upper-tier authorities to increase council tax levels by up to another 2% specifically to fund Adult Social Care and worth £5.42 million to Gloucestershire.

The proposed budget represents a net reduction of £0.54 million from 2017/18. However, ongoing cuts in Government grant means that the proposals will increase the Band D precept by £47.05 to £1226.31.

The Children’s Activity Fund, allocating £5k per councillor per year comes to an end this month. It is proposed to introduce a Growing our Communities Fund for the remaining three years of this council. This will be a member-led communities grant programme. Its purpose is “to enable investment in active communities by supporting projects and activities that will make a positive difference to local communities. The intention is that this will amount to £10k per councillor per year”.

The Highways Local funding of £30k per councillor and the £100k allocated to assisting the making of Traffic Regulation Orders this year, and in previous years, had to be achieved by Liberal Democrat amendments to last February’s budget. Currently the budget proposal is for Highways Local to be just £10k per councillor and there appears to be nothing for traffic regulation orders.

The provisional local government finance settlement was announced on 21st December. The item of most interest is the Government’s “aim” to localise 75% of business rates from 2020/21. In addition, ten 100% business rates retention pilots have been accepted for 2018/19 including Gloucestershire.

The budget proposals are to be further explained at an all-day meeting on Wednesday, so I may know more after that. The County Council budget will be set on 14th February.

Millmans Farm

I have enquired of Paul Helbrow about signing of the entrance, particularly in the light of a further planning application.

Swedish Houses

I passed on some information to your chairman and clerk on the controversial proposal of the housing department of the District Council to externally clad these. Planning applications have been made for those in Wotton and Stinchcombe which are still owned by the SDC, and others in the district. It may be that all those in Barrs Lane are now privately owned. An objection has been made by the Twentieth Century Society and I understand revised applications are expected.

John Cordwell