About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Sheffield City Full Council Meeting of 3rd December 2014, by Nigel Slack.

The Lord mayor kicked off the meeting with the usual preamble but there were then a couple of announcements. Firstly it was announced that part of today's meeting would be audio recorded, by Kier as a test. The reason for the test is not made clear but hopefully it is part of the response to my ongoing attempts to get meetings recorded and webcast.

Further announcements were, a collection to take place in support of the Archer Project (homeless) and that the Women of Steel statue appeal had reached it's target. Great news. Lastly Cllr Julie Dore (Leader) announced the appointment of Cllr Jayne Dunn as the new cabinet member for Environment, Recycling & Streetscene. She replaces Cllr Jack Scott who seems to have left under a bit of a cloud in relation to the current recycling centre dispute.

After approving the minutes (a question over this will be in my Cabinet Questions in a couple of weeks) the meting moved on to petitions and public questions. There were two petitions this weeki, one relating to road safety on Sharrow Vale Road and one about access problems on a road with a wide central grass verge.

Then came questions one expressing concern over the consultation exercise about the changes to Chesterfield Road at Heeley, another about the Council's response times for complaints and one about the proposed changes to the road plan around Heeley City Farm and the suggested removal of many mature trees to make way for a bus lane.

My questions were up next. My first was a continuation of my attempts to find out what is happening on the City Region deal misleadingly labelled 'devolution'. The answer from Cllr Julie Dore (Leader) basically confirmed that the supposed deadline of the Autumn Statement for an announcement of a deal had been missed, heads of terms had not yet been agreed, and that as soon as the Council know what's happening, the public will know.

Audio below.

My second question asked about the governments commitment to the 'Northern Powerhouse' idea, in light of the announcement of the new Garden City based around Bicester in Oxfordshire, within commuting distance of the capital. Julie Dore responded that she understood the Garden City proposal was about housing mainly and that she hoped the government would still continue to invest in the economic future of the Northern cities.

Audio below.

Finally I asked about the Council supporting the call for a minimum wage of £10/Hour for the UK based on the successful campaign in Seattle USA to introduce a minimum wage of $15. It should be noted that this is already Green Party policy. The basis of the idea being both a reduction of in-work benefit costs and an increase in local economic activity as most low paid workers spent any pay increases in the local economy. Julie Dore again responded. She said she needed to see more evidence on the figure that was being chosen by the Unions to support this and to think about the general economic situation in terms of affordability but that in general she was minded to support the idea.

Audio below.

Unfortunately I was unable to stay for any more of the meeting but will be following up on the recording test that was carried out to see why it was undertaken and the result.

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