To deal with anymotions received in accordance with Standing Order 5.0.
A report setting out the motions received will be published once the deadline for the receipt of motions has passed.
Councillor A Azad
The following motion was moved by Councillor Azad and seconded by Councillor Kemp. Following a request of Councillor Azad, the Mayor agreed for the Motion to be determined on the night, rather than referred to the Executive.
“This council expresses its huge sadness at the death of Dame Deborah James, who had strong local connections with Woking and was in the care of Woking and Sam Beare Hospice when she died.
Her inspirational words and actions have helped so many people and the Bowelbabe Fund has raised over £7million for clinical trials research as well as promoted bowel cancer awareness.
Her humour, dignity and zest to help others during a long illness have touched the entire nation. This council resolves that it is appropriate, subject to consultation with her family and their wishes, that some public and permanent commemoration of Dame Deborah James be established in Woking to honour her life, memory and achievement.”
The motion was fully supported by the Council.
That the motion be supported.
Councillor A-M Barker
The following motion was moved by Councillor Barker and seconded by Councillor Forster. In view of the nature of the Motion, the Mayor advised that it would be considered on the evening, rather than referred to the Executive on 8 September 2022.
Councillor Barker spoke in support of the motion, recognising the impact of the rising costs of living and the urgency to act to support residents.
“This Council notes that:
o On 1 April 2022, Ofgem increased the energy price cap by 54 per cent.
o In light of the increased energy price cap, the average standard tariff energy bill is rising by £693 per year. The average pre-pay meter energy bill is increasing by £708 per year.
o Evidence shows that use of foodbanks across Surrey has increased by 300% compared with the same month in 2019 including use by households who are working and have never had to ask for help until now.
This Council further notes:
The decision taken in June 2022 to impose a ‘Windfall Tax’ on the super-profits of oil and gas companies and to redistribute this as a one-off payment of £400 to households later this year. Though the Windfall Tax is welcome, Council believes it does not go nearly far enough and the Government should be doing much more to support local people through the Cost-of-Living crisis.
This Council resolves to:
o Organise for a Woking Cost-of-Living Emergency Summit in the Autumn, with stakeholders such as Citizens Advice Woking, Home-Start Runnymede and Woking, Maybury and Sheerwater Community Trust, Lighthouse, Surrey Welfare Rights Unit, Woking Chamber of Commerce and York Road Project to draw up a joint plan to alleviate the impact on Woking residents, especially those in the most vulnerable households.
This Council therefore declares a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and calls on the Government to immediately reduce the standard rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year, saving the average Woking household a further £600 this year.”
The Members discussed the implications of the motion and Councillor Dorsett moved and Councillor Brown seconded the following amendment.
“This Council notes:
In light of the challenges faced by residents we need to look at what practical steps this Council can take in assisting our residents.
One such area where we can choose to make a difference is in their Council Tax bills in the forthcoming year.
This Council resolves:
To reduce Councils Tax Bills for all Band A – D residents in 2023/24 by reducing the Woking proportion of Council Tax by 10%. This should be worked into the MTFS going forward, ready to be implemented at the start of April 2023.”
Before the amendment was debated, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services advised against the course of action outlined in the amendment in the absence of advice from the Council’s Director of Finance on the implications for the Council’s financial position.
The Council agreed to move to the vote without debate and, in accordance with Standing Order 10.8, the names of Members voting for and against the amendment were recorded.
In favour: Councillors A Azad, J Brown, K Davis, S Dorsett, G Elson, C Kemp and M Whitehand.
Total in favour: 7
Against: Councillors H Akberali, T Aziz, A-M Barker, A Caulfield, G Cosnahan, W Forster, P Graves, I Johnson, D Jordan, A Kirby, R Leach, L Lyons, L Morales, J Morley, S Oades, M I Raja, D Roberts and J Sanderson and T Spencer.
Total against: 19
Present not voting: The Mayor, Councillor S Hussain.
Total present not voting: 1
The amendment was therefore lost by 7 votes in favour to 19 votes against.
The Members returned to the debate on the motion before Councillor Barker was given the option to make a closing statement, summarising the proposals and responding to the points raised during the debate. The Council was then invited to vote on the motion itself in accordance with Standing Order 10.8. The names of Members voting for and against the amendment were recorded.
In favour: Councillors H Akberali, T Aziz, A-M Barker, A Caulfield, G Cosnahan, W Forster, P Graves, I Johnson, D Jordan, A Kirby, R Leach, L Lyons, L Morales, J Morley, S Oades, D Roberts and J Sanderson and T Spencer.
Total in favour: 19
Against: Councillors A Azad, J Brown, S Dorsett, C Kemp and M Whitehand.
Total against: 5
Present not voting: The Mayor, Councillor S Hussain, and Councillors K Davis and G Elson
Total present not voting: 3
The motion was therefore carried by 19 votes in favour to 5 votes against.
That the motion be supported.
Councillor W Forster
The following motion was moved by Councillor Forster and seconded by Councillor Leach and referred to the Executive on 8 September 2022 in accordance with Standing Order 5.7.
“The Council notes that Belarus and the United Kingdom are the only European countries that use First Past the Post for their national elections.
This Council believes that Proportional Representation ensures all votes count, have equal value, and those seats won match votes cast. Under Proportional Representation, Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of local communities and the nation. Members of Parliament better reflecting their communities leads to improved decision-making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.
Proportional Representation would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6% of the vote produced a Government with 56.2% of the seats and 100% of the power. Proportional Representation also prevents ‘wrong winner’ elections such as occurred in 1951 and February 1974.
Proportional Representation is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not for Westminster elections.
This Council therefore resolves to write to the Prime Minister and Woking’s Member of Parliament calling for a change in our outdated electoral laws to enable Proportional Representation to be used for future General Elections.”