Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Suite
Contact: Kevin Flaherty
There were no declarations of interest.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on November 24 2021 be
confirmed and signed as a correct record.
No petitions were presented.
Councillor Andre Bourne paid tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Council
Freeman, and former resident of the Borough. Archbishop Tutu was
recognised as an internationally known opponent of apartheid who maintained
strong links to Lewisham.
Councillor Obajimi Adefiranye added that Archbishop Tutu was the first
African to be made a Freeman of the Borough in 1994. He said he was proud
to have met him and he praised his efforts for the contribution he had made to
the continuing struggle for justice and equality.
The Mayor remembered Jack Dromey MP for Birmingham Erdington. Jack
Dromey was the father of former Cabinet Member and Councillor Joe
Dromey. The Mayor offered his condolences to Jack’s family at this sad time.
Councillor John Muldoon added that he had known Jack Dromey for several
decades having first met him in the 1970s thanks to their joint involvement in
the Trade Union movement. Councillor Muldoon praised him as a people’s
politician serving diligently the residents of his Birmingham constituency since
2010 and acting as Shadow Immigration Minister.
All present observed a minute of silence in memory of Archbishop Desmond
Tutu and Jack Dromey MP.
(ii) Borough of Culture
Councillor Andre Bourne updated the Council on the Borough of Culture
programme which was due to commence on Friday January 28. Details of the
programme could be viewed at https://www.wearelewisham.com/
(iii) New Years List 2022
The Speaker congratulated Alex Yee, Ezechi Britton and Emma Redding on
(iv) New Cross Fire Anniversary
The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Brenda Dacres, reported on the 41st
anniversary of the New Cross Fire and the commemorative service she had
attended the day before.
(v) Holocaust Memorial Day
The Mayor commenced this item by recounting the long history of support the
Borough had given to Holocaust Memorial Day. He placed his thanks on
record to his predecessor as Chair of the Memorial Committee, the Deputy
Speaker, Councillor Pauline Morrison. He said it was crucial that
commemorative work continue given that society had clearly not learned
lessons from the terrible acts of the past. The continuing strands of anti-
semitism had been recently demonstrated by the attack on a synagogue in
Texas by a British citizen. The Mayor looked forward to the online launch of
Holocaust Memorial Day and reported the theme would be ‘one day’.
The Mayor introduced Gerald Rose, the Warden of Catford & Bromley
Synagogue who reminded the Council that January 27 each year was
Holocaust Memorial Day. He spoke about the life of Holocaust survivor,
Rachael Levy whose portrait had been commissioned by Prince Charles and
was shortly to be unveiled on a BBC 2 programme.
Mr Rose concluded by saying a memorial prayer in English which was
followed by a video.
The Mayor and the Speaker then both lit memorial candles to commemorate
the victims of all holocausts. All present then observed a minute of silence.
(vi) Mayor’s Winter Appeal 2021
The Mayor thanked all who had contributed to the raising of over £15,000. ... view the full minutes text for item 51.
53 questions were received from members of the public which were
answered by the Cabinet Member indicated. Thirty minutes were made
available at the meeting for questioners to raise supplementary questions.
A copy of the questions and answers was circulated separately and can be
viewed on the Council website with the meeting papers.
12 questions were received from Councillors which were answered by the
Cabinet Members indicated. A copy of the questions and answers was
circulated separately and can be viewed on the Council’s website with the
Councillor Amanda De Ryk, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources
moved that the recommendations be approved and this was seconded by
Councillor Mark Ingleby, the Chair of the Public Accounts Select Committee.
Under the provisions of the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England)
(Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote of those physically present
in the Council Chamber was conducted on this item with the following result:
In favour 23
Damien Egan (Mayor), Obajimi Adefiranye, Tauseef Anwar (Speaker),
Chris Barnham, Paul Bell, Kevin Bonavia, Patrick Codd, Brenda Dacres,
Amanda De Ryk, Colin Elliott, Alan Hall, Octavia Holland, Mark Ingleby,
Samantha Latouche, Paul Maslin, Joan Millbank, Hilary Moore,
John Muldoon, Jacq Paschoud, John Paschoud, James Royston,
Eva Stamirowski, and James-J Walsh.
and it was unanimously:
(1) the recommendations arising from Mayor and Cabinet on the 12 January
2022 be received;
(2) the Council Tax Base calculation for 2022/23, as set out in the annual
Council Tax Base government return, attached at Appendix A be approved;
(3) a Council Tax Base of 88,904.9 Band D equivalent properties for 2022/23 be approved;
(4) a budgeted Council Tax collection rate of 95.0% be approved;
(5) no changes be made to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) for
2022/23, that eligible claimants make a minimum contribution of 25% towards
their council tax;
(6) the continuation of the discretionary Council Tax discount of 100% for care
leavers up to the age of 25, as set out in section five be approved;
(7) the existing policy of a 0% discount for second homes for 2020/21 be
continued for 2022/23, as set out in section five be approved;
(8) the existing policy of a 0% discount for empty homes Class A (an empty
property undergoing structural alteration or major repair to make it habitable)
be continued, as set out in section five be approved;
(9) the existing policy of a 100% discount awarded for a period of four weeks
and then a 0% discount thereafter, for empty homes – Class C (a substantially
empty and unfurnished property) be continued, as set out in section five;
(10) the existing Long Term Empty Property homes premium of 100% for
properties empty between 2 and 5 years, and 200% for those empty for over
five years be continued, and a 300% premium be introduced for properties
that remain empty for 10 years or more, as set out in section five;
(11) the introduction of a 25% ‘sanctuary’ discount to ensure residents eligible
for a single person discount are not financially worse off as a result of housing
a refugee, be appoved, as set out in section five;
(12) the proposed 2022/23 National Non Domestic Rate (NNDR) estimated
net yield of £70m, based on current information available and excluding any
potential additional Covid reliefs or rateable value changes be noted; and
(13) the approval of the final 2022/23 NNDR1 form be delegated to the
Executive Director for Corporate Resources for submission by ... view the full minutes text for item 54.
The motion was moved by Councillor Kevin Bonavia and seconded
by Councillor Samantha Latouche. The motion was then put to the vote and
declared to be unanimously carried.
RESOLVED that the following motion be agreed:
This Council notes that:
(i) Lewisham has a proud history of welcoming people seeking safety
and is the first local authority in the UK to be recognised as a
Borough of Sanctuary by the City of Sanctuary;
(ii) there are significant problems with the UK asylum system that
affect people in Lewisham, including a record backlog of cases
awaiting a decision, an effective ban on working, and enforced
poverty and homelessness;
(iii) the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill does not address
these issues, and will instead create a two-tier system, penalising
people seeking safety based on the journeys they make;
(iv) people seeking sanctuary, including Afghan refugees, who reach
the UK via unofficial routes will be criminalised and threatened
with deportation under this Bill;
(v) the Bill will create longer backlogs, warehouse people in large
accommodation centres, and leave many refugees with a
temporary and precarious status;
(vi) the Government’s proposals have been condemned by
organisations in Lewisham that comprise the Lewisham Migration
Forum as well as the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network
and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in the UK.
This Council believes that:
(i) the UK needs an asylum system that empowers people seeking
safety to rebuild their lives and enables communities to welcome
and encourage them to play their full part in society;
(ii) this Bill undermines the essential human right to seek safety as
expressed in the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and
that the UK should uphold its obligations in international law and
its responsibilities as a global nation;
(iii) this Bill will lead to greater poverty and homelessness in
Lewisham and emergency destitution support that is provided for
those with No Recourse to Public Funds will place an unfair
burden on council resources that have already been brutally
slashed by over a decade of Government austerity.
This Council resolves to:
(i) call on the UK Government to withdraw the Nationality and
(ii) call on the UK Government to work with local authorities and
communities to build a fairer and more effective asylum system.
The meeting closed at 9.46pm.