Full Council - January 18th 2023
Bin collection confusion. A misleading consultation. An update on homelessness, and figures from Havering's hardship fund.
This was the quietest full council, since the election, but it still yielded some important information.
A total of 15 questions were asked by the Conservatives and East Havering Resident's Group. Cabinet members from the HRA replied. You can view the full questions HERE.
Bridge Close Development - Cllr Damian White asked the administration to provide an update on the situation at Bridge close, following the news that the Council had begun the process of purchasing the land for redevelopment.
Cllr Ray Morgon's reply was that an updated business case would be presented to Cabinet in February, and that his Administration was committed to the seeing the development through.
Cllr Damian White has asked that a meeting be held for Councillors to look at the business case in more detail.
Will bin collections stay weekly? - That was the important heart of Cllr Martin Goode's question to the HRA's Cllr Barry Mugglestone.
Cllr Mugglestone spoke about how the administration will listen to the results of the consultation and will continue to assess.
It looks like fortnightly collections are still on the table.
Watch Cllr Mugglestone's reply below.
Havering's Hardship Fund - Running for a few years now, Havering's Hardship fund makes grants to some of the borough's most vulnerable. This is in the form of Council Tax credits, free school meals, and help towards energy costs.
Cllr Damian White asked for an update on the figures and they were impressive.
Since April 2022- Jan23, over 8800 residents received a total of over £960k from the fund. In addition to this around £880k has been spent on free school meals for a total of 6,000 children. 5100 pensioners got council tax support.
In total, 20,000 people received an estimated total £3.1m. A further £4.25m is expected to be received from central government.
These are some great figures and our Council should be proud to be providing this support.
Budget consultation - I raised some concerns over the consultation, specifically as to whether it was misleading.
The consultation contains two figures for claimed savings, due to bin collection changes. On one page it claims a figure of £650k per year. On another it claims that over 4 years.
I believe that this may skew the results of the consultation.
I also asked the leader if he would drop a proposal, should the public be overwhelmingly against it. We were told to look out for the budget proposal.
Homelessness Update - Cllr Champan asked for an update on the homelessness figures.
In December 22, a total of 52 referrals were made to Havering Council. 31 of these were duplicates.
A count was carried out in December, across 8 sites, and 3 people were found to be sleeping rough. All were offered support, with one resident refusing.
Council will next meet on March 1st for the Council Tax setting meeting. It is expected that the council tax will rise by the maximum amount allowed, of 5%.