Mayor and Cabinet - Wednesday, 13th May 2020 at 6:00pm - Lewisham Council Webcasting

Mayor and Cabinet
Wednesday, 13th May 2020 at 6:00pm 

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Start of webcast
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1 Declaration of Interests
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2 Minutes
3 Matters Raised by Scrutiny and other Constitutional Bodies
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4 Covid-19 Recovery: Business Rates, Business & Resident Support
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  1. Webcast Finished

I commend this meeting by welcoming everybody to this meeting of marrying cabinet welcoming my Cabinet colleagues officers colleagues of the Council and any members of the public who are watching now this meeting as you can see is being held virtually what that means is that when we come to vote will be having a roll call of votes when will handovers Kevin Flaherty
who will take us through that because we can't do that regular show of hands and before I began just as I do when we have the meetings in the Town Hall I just point out that where there are cabinet portfolio holders who operating a job share basis both both Members can contribute to debates and contribute to the meeting but only one will take part in the roll call votes and I also need to advise everybody what chain that if you miss unearthing that the typecast will be available on the Council website tomorrow before we start the meeting I want to pay tribute on behalf of myself and my colleagues to everybody Lewisham council right across every single service area whose working so hard is a a testament to
the review and all the hard work that you're doing in that ensures that are Councils critical services continue to run well despite these unprecedented times that we're in 0 so despite the fact that we're also taking on more responsibility on behalf of our community I thank of course also across the borough all those key workers are carer occurs and all of those in our NHS to thank you

1 Declaration of Interests

moreover 7 thousand Lewisham residents will the government's shielded list of whom two and a half thousand need help getting food and groceries and we wouldn't be able to give them that support and help they need without the amazing efforts of volunteers and the community sector and voluntary sector across this barrier so thank you to everybody who is involved in that effort particular thanks to everybody at Lewisham local everybody involved with that programme is delivering food donating food packing emergency parcels organising deliveries and all of those keeping our food banks going if you're able to volunteer please sign up if you're not able to volunteer and your able to donate piece do so because the food banks do continue to need support and those wrong message that I'd like to leave anybody watching yesterday's if if you wish you know somebody that needs help with food or groceries please get in touch with us so that we can make sure that they get the help that they need OK item 1 is declarations of interest class-C any Cabinet Member jobshare Cabinet Member to speak now if they have any declaration of interest to make

2 Minutes

OK I shall move on to Item 2 which is the minutes so I move that the minutes of the Mencap meeting which took place on the 11th of March 20 20 in the Merrill meeting which took place on the 25th of March 20 20 be agreed as a correct record is that agreed agreed a great great
thank you

3 Matters Raised by Scrutiny and other Constitutional Bodies

ITEM 3 matters raised by scrutiny and other constitutional bodies I invite Kevin Flaherty are caught report on the Overview and Scrutiny business Panel meeting which took place on Chooseday Nate the fifth Kevin frankness delay the Overview and Scrutiny business Panel met on Tuesday May the fifth
considered in the open session and formally approved single Carty's framework as part of them consideration concentrated Campbell so an assurance that the table comments of her select committee would be responded to I'll know practice Mr. Mayor would be to require officers to Paris spots for approval by Mayor and Cabinet and neither as now to confirm its such a response will be considered at a future Mayor and Cabinet and thereafter reported to the safest Franca community selected Pakistan then the plate you very much Kevin some happy to confirm that our usual practice I'm continues and will request officers to prepare a response to the issues raised by the Committee for consideration at a future meeting of Mayor and Cabinet is that agreed

4 Covid-19 Recovery: Business Rates, Business & Resident Support

yet agreed agreed agreed thank you OK moving on to Item 4 which is the COVID-19 recovery business rates business and residents support so Councillor Dromey will be presenting the report on the Council's work to support businesses and residents during the corona virus I'd like to first thank Councillor Dromey thank cow for Yague been everybody in the economies and partnerships in one urban working incredibly hard to coordinate support for lotions businesses and residents the coronavirus pandemic is truly unprecedented and they're doing this work against the national and global picture which is changing daily and we know that the pandemic having a severe impact on local businesses Councillor Dromey and I joins 40 local businesses yesterday virtual breakfast meeting was hosted by the South East London Chamber of Commerce went through some of the proposals in in this report and one of the key things that came from that is are commitment that in a council and those businesses to work together notion we're proud that we are home to some of the highest number of small and independent businesses in London and snow independent businesses on not just vital to our local economy but also central solutions character to and we will only get through this crisis by working together which is why we're particularly pro pleased that we'll be launching our business taskforce to do just that and also that to highlight that the Council's notion emergency grant to help residents who are facing immediate financial hardship to cover the cost of food and fuel and again owed encourage coach colleagues and watching to share this emergency ground anybody who they feel may need a leg and hand over to Councillor Dromey who introduced the report Councillor Droman
thank you very much Damian the coronavirus crisis is first and foremost a public health emergency but we also no is you say that it is an emerging and very severe economic crisis to and the lockdown that has been absolutely vital in slowing the spread of the virus is having a very severe impact on our economy and it's one that we need to respond to to support local businesses through we seen the impact that this has been having locally as you said Matt we had to online meeting with 40 businesses yesterday to the south-east London Chamber of Commerce I had another one with the Federation of Small businesses and we heard just the scale of the impact of this crisis is having on those businesses businesses Richard Austin been built up over years and sometimes over generations in our community and provide good quality jobs for our residents many of whom are being closed pushed close to the edge I'm also I'm sure we go so all heard the impact on individuals through our casework in in the community of people who have lost their jobs or lost their income during this this crisis and but the response has been absolutely fantastic we've heard from loads of businesses that are doing what they can to adapt to shift on line to carry on going into protect jobs and to use the furlough scheme where they're not able to carry on going we also heard some really inspiring stories of of businesses helping out in the in the effort gets coronavirus so from the Clarins and Hotel in Blackheath which is offering accommodation to NHS workers to local food businesses which had providing food for key workers and those most in need and this report sets out some of the initial things that the Council are doing to help businesses get through this crisis and to help people affected by the crisis to I just wanted to highlight three areas briefly that the first is the small business grants just updating the figure in their we've now got out over 34 million pounds in in recent wing weeks to over 2 thousand 500 small businesses in the borough and I'd like to thank the team for their incredible efforts working round the clock to get the money out the door as soon as possible to those that need it we've been doing what we can be flexible and support that businesses with with cash Rageh in the crisis so we leave a deferred or discounted or forgone fees across a number of areas that the council controls whether it be parking fees or or rent holidays for or discounts for council tenants and businesses that is and we will so done what we can to give businesses breathing space during this this crisis and we also it also sets out what we're doing to support individuals facing hardship
so we are ensuring a grant of 150 pounds for every working age households in in who is eligible for council tax at relief which will help over 15 thousand low-income households and put cash in their pockets during this crisis and we will so per over 700 thousand pounds into the local support scheme which is as you say provided grants for various who are facing kind of desperate financial situation
in addition to what we're doing here in Lewisham at we're pushing the government to do more as well and we coordinated the letter from over 20 cabinet leads cross party across the capital demanding support for self-employed workers and I'm delighted that today the self-employed or income support scheme has gone on mine and I had the 29 thousand self-employed workers in nourish and make full use that skin beyond the measures the we've outlined there is much more that we would want to do to help businesses with this crisis some of the businesses that you and I spoke to yesterday had fallen through the cracks in the supports are out by the government
and yet we can't help the more we can't provide the support that all of them needs and that's because our funding is being cut by over half in in a decade of austerity we already had very significant financial pressures and we estimate impact of the lost revenue and additional cost on the council to be 25 million pounds on top of an already very very challenging financial situation and unlike the government we can't borrow to fund this work and we required by law to set a legal budget the government had initially pledged to reimburse all of these costs and in recent days though shamefully been backing away from this that's not acceptable they pledged to do all that they could and they must help councils stand behind businesses and residents facing this desperate situation finally beyond supporting people and businesses through the immediate crisis we're starting to look at the recovery and getting the local economy back on its feet so as you say you were establishing her allusion backs business task force to bring together business leaders from the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small business Councillors by from cabinet and scrutiny and officers to guide our work and the task force will be informed by the needs of businesses some really De in keen to encourage businesses to fill in the survey that's on our website to tell them about the challenges they face the support they need and what they want the future to look like but the future the task force will also be guided by what we want for the future of our economy and our community so we need to think about how we can build back better and ensure our post-crisis economy is more equal with more high quality well-paid jobs and one which is greener and contributes to our ambitious objectives of net 0 by 20 30 I want to thank all of her councillors who have agreed to take part in the Task Force and particularly like to thank Councillor Director for working with me on this report and the response to to support businesses through the grants scheme I'd also like to thank all of the officers involved in preparing the report and in helping businesses during this very difficult time particularly Karinthy I'd be poor more David Austin Nick clear and the whole of economy imparting Councillor Drake thank you very much I will care for Catherine sorry Karen I don't know if there's anything else that you wanted to add at this time or shall I go straight to questions
OK orchestrates questions Councillor McKeever
I read this report with interest I think he got think it's it's wonderful that we're providing as much support as we can to businesses and up but I think we all recognise that going forward recoveries gonna be the real challenge for this and I think we need to think about how we're going to support businesses in the long term as well and as a Cabinet Member with responsibility for Environment and Transport I really see are public spaces and particularly how we get to them as being key to recovery and that there's an opportunity for supporting the hyper local economy by making our streets more welcoming for walking and cycling so I am really looking forward to working with the team on this agenda into supporting small businesses and I just wondered whether there was at that was anything that had already been thought about and whether that was something that had come up with
in the meeting that you had with with local business leaders yesterday
thank you
yes it's a really important point and I think what we've seen is vice the subject advice to government is that social distancing is likely to be required and at least throughout the rest of the year if we don't get a vaccine and and an ear or hoping that we do soon at that may be required for it for much longer so it's likely that we will see at no kind of return to the to the pre-crisis economy and quite a different economy and labour market and we need to make sure that we
that that works hidden in the interests of our community so we support more people to to work locally more people to work from home and that we use that as an opportunity to kind of boost and kind of good growth locally and and I think we've seen today initially already some of the public transport the pictures from across London have seen public transport being overwhelmed and people unable to to kind of a full social distancing that's partially due to the kind of government's chaotic advice over the reopening of the economy but it's also just a fact that we our public transport is as got very very high demand to we need businesses and local government to work together to support people to to use active transport to get to work more cycling or more walking more working from home and more work but working locally and that's why I think it's great that you will be joining us on the task force to think about how we can support more sustainable town centres and more sustainable transport to work
thank you Councillor Parnham
thanks very much and thank you go for that report and Imelda I think it's really encouraging I agree with you that during the crisis we've we've seen very impressive creativity and adaptability of some local businesses and people have moved very quickly to operate in a in a different way let's encouraging
but it is quite right that we've had to do a lot to support people I'm I'm quite concerned about the financial cost week had to do this is the right thing to do but it worries me I naively thought that when the local government secretary said to council leaders on the 16th of March and I think I'm quoting the government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to support councils in their response to coronavirus I thought that meant that whatever we did would be supported and I'm quite concerned to hear that the government seems to be backing away and I just wonder what we with others might be able to do to to encourage them to live up to their bold promises of the 16th March which I agree seems a long time ago now but isn't alone
absolutely I think there's been a stark contrast between the efforts LEDs by the chancellor and credit to the chancer around the coinage virus job retention scheme which has seen over 7 million workers furloughed in which we heard a lot of local businesses have been using self-employment income support scheme which we push for and which will provide grants of up to 7 thousand 500 pounds for potentially tens of thousands of of Lewisham self-employed workers as a big contrast between genuinely doing what it takes to protect jobs and incomes on the one hand and the continuation of the starvation of of local government and we've seen we already went into this crisis with a tenuous financial situation after a decade of cuts and were initially given hope that we would have their government would do whatever it takes to support us and that seems to have been kind of roof drawn recently and we've obviously got reserves than those air kind of here for a rainy day and we are going to do whatever we can support businesses and residents but we know that we will see local government pushed very close to the edge by this crisis and the government has got to abide by its initial pledge to support local government with the funding that it needs I believe a Mayor has been working with our MPs to to push the government to get the funding that we need and I think we need to see like we did with the self-employment support scheme I think we need to see local government across London across party standing together and saying actually we need the funding that is necessary to carry on the services that we're providing the vital services in your area and elsewhere and to support businesses and residents have been hard hit by this crisis thank you Councillor droning air can confirm it but more having those those conversations and making those commence through London Councils on a cross-party basis and that the LGA as well and the Council's with a meeting with Castanha tomorrow to coordinate a response from the Labour Leeds as well Councillor Bell
thank you my thanks to you and also Councillor Dromey an Councillor to write for this report I think before I ask my question just like to pay tribute to one local business in my ward wishes the hill station which has worked with community members Crick feed the Hill which has fed and being supported by Lewisham homes across Telegraph Hill ward and beyond people who how are getting weekly food parcels and I think this is credit to our community and to the diversity in our community now in terms of this report I have a question we obviously have to be mined for that this terribly sad and devastating pandemic is one hour of work that we have to work on but the another areas climate change and how we can support local businesses to transition to a 0 carbon emission future for example by that I mean we should be helping businesses transition away from food and products that negatively affect the climate such as meat and dairy and just wondering if you could have a mind to that in the future in terms of the work that you're doing thank you
yes that that's absolutely vital pool and it's a very good point well made and one of the kind of on kind of largely unseen tragedies of this crisis is is deflecting attention away from what is the kind of existential threat to to our society which is climate change including with be the cancellation of the global conference that was due to be held this year we really really keen the in looking to kind of rebuild the economy we don't just kind of return to what we had before but that we can build back better and so there's two things that will be doing their one is worth we're looking at developing and inclusive growth strategy and which we have been can put on hold and will be looking at in in this kind of very new light of the post-crisis world and will be thinking about how we build an economy which is more equal and one which is at generates less carbon and I think that's both about how businesses cut of were the code Goodson and services that they offer but also about how they operate and things like transport for example at the government's response to on announcement on Sunday was about people you know getting their cars and that's not a solution in Lewisham we need to see more active transport for people getting to work locally and a second measure that I mentioned is the the business Task Force and we are really pleased that Councillor McGeever will be joining us on that task force to think through how we can have made sure that sustainability is absolutely key to getting the economy going again after this crisis access in a massive reduction in carbon emissions during the crisis but that's because the economy has been put on hold what we can't see is that revert to the unsustainable levels that we had before we need to build back better Councillor Mowat thank you very much OK I'm going to I'm moves on so I'm I'm now going to ask Okello Kevin to conduct the vocal votes Kevin omitting
thank you Mr. Mayor
and conduct the vote by calling members of the cabinet to vote on us you enough Bennett order to respond I think yes no or abstain
so in terms of the recommendations I will now stop Councillor Chris Barnett yes
Councillor Paul Bell yes Councillor Christmas yes
Councillor Kevin Byrne area yes Councillor Brenda Dakers yes I'm Amanda the right yes Councillor drew Dromey yes
mad Damien Egan yes
Angela Sophie McGeever yes
Councillor Jonathan Slater yes Mr. Mayor make that 10 votes to 0 in favour of the recommendations thank you very much OK so I can confirm that the recommendations have been agreed and are shown on pages 2 5 and 20 16 gender thank you Kevin OK we're now going to move to Item 5 this is exclusion of Press and public because the remain at the remainder of the meeting were discussing items which are commercially sensitive
and we are not able to broadcast and public but please can I thank everybody has joined us for this meeting and and rationally please do not forget to get in touch with us if they're either yourself or someone that you know in our community nor to food groceries other help so that we can give them the support that they need and item 5 I
Webcast Finished - 0:24:51
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