Agenda item

Motions referred from Council Assembly

To consider motions referred from council assembly 27 March 2019 meeting as follows:


·  Declaring a climate change emergency

·  Making Southwark a living wage place

·  Nexus-Group GP services

·  Crossrail and cuts to Transport for London

·  HIV in Southwark

·  Reform of our broken housing economy

·  End violence at work charter.


Councillor Victoria Mills having declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Appendix 7, End Violence at Work Charter of this item, left the meeting room while this item was being discussed.




Declaring a climate change emergency


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be noted and agreed (relevant actions were also noted):


1.  Council assembly notes:


a.  Southwark’s Council Plan Commitments to make Southwark carbon neutral by 2050 and halve Southwark Council’s emissions by 2022. 

b.  Southwark Council’s existing work to tackle climate change, including:

  i.  Cutting the council’s carbon emissions by 25%;

  ii.  Divesting pensions funds away from fossil fuels into sustainable alternatives;

  iii.  Introducing idling fines for drivers who leave their engines running while idle;

  iv.  Closing roads around schools to improve air quality;

  v.  Ensuring more people are walking and cycling rather than using greenhouse gas emitting vehicles;

  vi.  Protecting Southwark’s biodiversity;

  vii.  Keeping recycling rates high: Southwark’s are currently the highest in inner London;

  viii.  Committing to ending single use plastic in the council, halving it in the borough, and introducing water fountains to reduce plastic bottle use.


2.  Council assembly further notes:


a.  Humans have already caused climate change. Global temperatures have already increased by 1°C from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels in excess of 400 parts per million are already far in excess of the 350 deemed the safe level for humanity.

b.  That plastic pollution has become a widespread and critical problem throughout our society and steps must be taken to halt and reduce the flow of plastic waste into our environment. This is a problem that is not going away - all of the plastic ever created still exists today and estimates suggest that 1 in 3 fish now contain some traces of microplastic so our waste is now contaminating our food chain.

c.  The recent 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which states that we have just 12 years to act on climate change if global temperature rises are to be kept within the recommended 1.5°C.

c.  That the expected consequences of a 2°C instead of a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures would include 99% of warm water corals and their associated ecosystems disappearing, at least one in ten summers in the Arctic having little or no sea ice at all, 420 million more people worldwide being exposed to extreme heatwaves, sea levels at least 10cm higher, more frequent extreme weather events, and potential mass extinctions of animals.

d.  That this Conservative government’s failure to take the radical steps required to prevent an increase of over 1.5°C is shameful. Its guidelines to only reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 are woefully short of the change that is needed.

e.  That as a largely low-lying area next to the tidal Thames, Southwark is particularly prone to the impact of sea level rises and flooding.

f.  Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s recent announcement that the Labour Party intends to launch a Green New Deal, which would decarbonise the UK’s economy, and create thousands of new jobs in the renewable energy sector in deprived areas and communities. Proposals also include increasing the UK’s installed offshore wind capacity sevenfold, bringing all homes in the UK up to the highest efficiency standard, and tripling the UK’s solar power capacity.

g.  That the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared a climate emergency.


3.  Council assembly believes:


a.  This situation requires urgent action by all levels of government, businesses and individuals.

b.  That, despite the leadership already shown by Southwark Council to reduce carbon, it needs to go further still if we are to play our part in preventing further climate change and to set an example to others.

c.  That, whilst Southwark Council can and should take all possible steps to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental sustainability, ultimately this problem needs to be tackled on a national and international scale.

d.  That bold climate action can deliver economic and social benefits: new jobs, economic savings, business opportunities and improved health and wellbeing.


4.  Council assembly resolves to call on cabinet to:


a.  Declare a Climate Emergency and do all it can to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030.

b.  Develop a strategy, working with local stakeholders, to ensure that the council becomes carbon neutral at a much more rapid pace than currently envisaged. This Carbon Reduction Strategy should aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 if feasible. This strategy should be clear in its targets and resources required. It should also be developed in a way that is sufficiently flexible to make best use of new carbon reduction technologies as they develop.

c.  Call on other London boroughs to also work towards carbon neutrality by 2030.

d.  Lobby government to provide the power and resources to the Mayor of London and local authorities to accelerate the pace of carbon reduction.

e.  Lobby the government to take radical steps to divest away from fossil fuels, invest in new technologies to make innovative approaches such as carbon sequestering possible, and reduce the UK’s reliance on greenhouse gases.


5.  On the principle of ‘Think Global, Act Local’, council assembly:


a.  Notes the value of community assets, such as the allotments in Lamash Street in Saint George’s Ward, through which local residents have provided a sustainable source of locally produced organic food for decades;

b.  Fully supports the Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Pedestrian and Cycle bridge, which will be the centrepiece of the green transport strategy for the area;

c.  Commits itself to investigating the possibility of gradually phasing out car lease schemes for those non-key workers who do not need exclusive access to a car in order to carry out their job;

d.  Recognises the vital importance of open spaces to Southwark’s communities, in particular that the availability and accessibility of open space in our borough contributes towards addressing loneliness amongst older people, by providing a place for them to socialise;

e.  Further recognises that well maintained public open spaces can provide an appropriate place for younger people to meet and socialise, in a way which minimises the risk of anti-social behaviour;

f.  Notes that there are considerable financial savings to be made by ‘going green’, whether it be more energy efficient lighting, smart meters at council properties, or  piloting energy generation schemes such as installing solar panels on council properties;

g.  Commits itself to supporting low or zero-emissions public transport, and calls on Transport for London (TfL) to reinstate the no-emission RV1 bus service in full;

h.  Commits to working with TfL to reduce congestion on Jamaica Road and Lower Road;

i.  Commits to push developers to work harder on meeting the council and GLA’s carbon reduction targets, and ensure that monies collected in lieu through the Carbon Offset Fund are spent on projects that genuinely offset the equivalent emissions created by new developments;

j.  Commits to investigate ways of combining ‘Big Data’ and new technologies to support smarter management of our local environment, taking inspiration from examples such as the Municipality of Albertslund in Denmark, who tested different waste solutions to improve knowledge on how to optimise the collection and route planning of waste, and the city of Copenhagen who have used data-driven traffic management to improve air quality.


Making Southwark a living wage place


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be noted and agreed (relevant actions were also noted):


1.  Council assembly notes:


a.  That low pay is a leading cause of poverty, with the majority of people living in poverty now being in working households. 

b.  That the real Living Wage is independently-calculated based on real living costs and reflects the minimum people need to earn to get by. It is currently £10.55 an hour in London.

c.  That 21% of all workers in the UK still don't earn a real Living Wage – meaning that they are paid less than it costs to have a decent quality of life.

d.  That research from the Living Wage Foundation has found that 93% of Living Wage Employers have seen benefits since accrediting; that 86% say it has improved their reputation; and that 75% say it has increased staff motivation and retention.


2.  Council assembly further notes:


a.  That Southwark Council is an accredited Living Wage Employer. This means that all council employees and contractors are paid at or above the London Living Wage.

b.  That Southwark Council has also led the way in establishing the Southwark Apprenticeship Standard, which commits organisations and employers to providing high quality apprenticeships, including paying at least the London Living Wage. Over 50 Southwark employers have now signed up to the standard.

c.  That Southwark has also signed up to the Ethical Care Charter, which has improved working conditions for contracted employees who provide home care services to Southwark residents. The Ethical Care Charter includes a requirement to pay the London Living Wage to all home care staff, and pay for travel time.

d.  That both the Southwark Apprenticeship Standard and the Ethical Care Charter have led to positive outcomes not only for employees but for service users and local residents.

e.  That the council’s work to promote the Living Wage to other employers in the borough has been a key factor in 137 employers in Southwark now being accredited Living Wage Employers.

f.  The Council Plan commitments on the Living Wage, which are to:

i)  Double the number of employers who pay the London Living Wage and make Old Kent Road and Canada Water London Living Wage Zones;

ii)  Introduce a Southwark Good Work Standard and only work with companies that will recognise trade unions, pay the London Living Wage and do not use harmful zero hours contracts;

g.  That the Living Wage Foundation has announced that it is piloting “Living Wage Places” where councils work with ‘anchor institutions’ (major local employers who represent the community) to increase the uptake of employers paying the London Living Wage across the area.


3.  Council assembly further notes:


a.  That this Conservative government’s so-called ‘Living Wage’ is set at £7.83 per hour for over 25 year olds – and for those under 25 and apprentices it can be as low as £3.70 per hour.

b.  That the government’s ‘Living Wage’ is calculated as a percentage of median earnings, rather than being calculated as the amount of money needed to live on.

c.  That the real London Living Wage is currently £10.55 per hour – almost £3 per hour more than the government’s Living Wage for over 25 year olds.

d.  That this disparity between the government’s ‘Living Wage’ and the actual Living Wage means too many people in this country cannot afford a decent quality of life on the wages they earn, and so are either forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, or find themselves falling into poverty.


4.  Council assembly resolves to call on cabinet to:


a.  Reiterate our commitment to making the Old Kent Road and Canada Water London Living Wage Places, recognised by the Living Wage Foundation.

b.  Work with the Living Wage Foundation and major local employers and organisations who are prepared to be ‘anchor institutions’, to make the whole of Southwark a Living Wage Place.

c.  Write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, asking him to calculate the government’s Living Wage based on the actual earnings that people need to have a decent quality of life, rather than an arbitrary percentage of median national wages.


Nexus-Group GP services


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be noted and agreed (relevant actions were also noted):


1.  Council assembly notes:


a.  The Care Quality Commission inspection into the NEXUS Group declared that the GP service provided was ‘inadequate overall and requires improvement for all population groups’

b.  That the report details risks of legionella, inconsistent systems for checking equipment and vaccines, as well as the presence of expired medical emergency equipment.


2.  Council assembly also notes that:


a.  £8.7 million of S106 monies was recently approved by planning committee to be invested in health facilities across the borough

b.  The inadequacies found at the NEXUS group relate not to facilities but to the systems and services provided.


3.  Council assembly therefore:


a.  calls on the cabinet member for community safety and public health to investigate the reasons for the poor service provision and report back to councillors.

b.  calls on cabinet to query how the S106 money will be spent, given that improving facilities will not necessarily resolve the NEXUS performance issues.

c.  also calls on cabinet to ensure that future money derived from S106 and community infrastructure levy (CIL), which is designed to accommodate increase pressures deriving from new development, is allocated to the areas that have earned those funds due to having undertaken that development.


Crossrail and cuts to Transport for London


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be noted and agreed (relevant actions were also noted):


1.  Council assembly notes:


a.  London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said there is no date that Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild can give "with confidence" for when Crossrail will open.

b.  That Crossrail delays will strip Transport for London (TfL) of £600m in revenue over 3 years, with possible further delays and losses running to millions more.

c.  The gaping hole in TfL’s finances created by the government’s decision to withdraw the operating grant of £700 million annually.

d.  The announcement of 30% more cuts to TfL’s business plan by 2022, including staffing.

e.  Job losses, already in their thousands, overwhelmingly affecting lower grades, with no equivalent reduction in directors.

f.  Tens of millions of pounds spent each year on private sector consultants, many costing £1,500 per day.


2.  Council assembly resolves to call on cabinet to:


a.  Publicly support the full restoration of the grant.

b.  Lobby TfL’s leadership to honour its existing policies, and to implement a step change in industrial relations.

c.  Call on the Mayor to:

i)  lead a review of TfL’s Pay for Performance scheme.

ii)  reinstitute a common pay and conditions structure and network-wide collective bargaining for London’s bus workers.

iii)  commission an independent review of the use of consultants at TfL.

iv)  launch an immediate public review into the Crossrail fiasco.

v)  engage with the trade unions on the proposals to cut a further 30% of expenditure on “middle and back office roles”.


HIV in Southwark


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be noted and agreed (relevant actions were also noted):


1.  Council assembly welcomes:

a.  The recent news of a Londoner becoming the second person to be found "free" of HIV.

b.  The fact that new diagnoses of HIV in the UK as a whole have been declining since their peak in 2005, falling 17 per cent from 5,280 in 2016 to 4,363 in 2017.

c.  Britain achieving the UN’s “90-90-90 targets” to end the AIDS epidemic, with 92 per cent of people living with HIV diagnosed, 98 per cent of people diagnosed receiving treatment, and 97 per cent of people receiving treatment having an “undetectable viral load”, with levels of virus in the blood so low it cannot be passed on.


2.  Council assembly also recognises that Southwark still has the second highest number of people diagnosed with HIV in UK.


3.  Council assembly believes that to eradicate HIV/AIDS we need a comprehensive approach that allows all people to access quality life-saving and life-enhancing prevention (such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis - PrEP), treatment, care and support services. PrEP has significantly reduced the risk of HIV being passed on to others. 


4.  Council assembly welcomes Southwark’s participation in the England ‘trial’ but notes demand is high and extremely oversubscribed which leaves too many vulnerable. The Terrence Higgins Trust estimate that every day the NHS delays access to PrEP, 17 people are diagnosed with HIV. 


5.  Council assembly therefore calls on the UK government to set a target to end transmissions by 2025 and to end the oversubscribed PrEP trial by fully funding its roll out across England.


Reform of our broken housing economy


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be noted and agreed (relevant actions were also noted):


1.  Council assembly notes:


a.  The existing pipeline of Southwark’s New Homes programme with over 635 council rent homes delivered across 20 sites, 101 now under construction, 595 with planning permission and in contractor procurement, and 1,478 in design and consultation.

b.  That Southwark has an ambitious target to deliver 11,000 council homes by 2043, and is currently identifying council homes sites on existing land and pursuing land acquisition opportunities to deepen the pipeline of council homes development projects.

c.  The best available social rent grant level (£100,000/unit) is currently less than a third of the average build cost (£310,000/unit).

d.  The council is restricted in its use of Right to Buy receipts to replace lost social homes. Current rules require Right to Buy receipts to be spent within three years, never combined with grant, and otherwise returned to HM Treasury with interest.

e.  That current land assembly powers recognise a landowner’s right to a speculative premium based on events and actions in which they played no part. This makes purchasing new land for council housing more difficult, and damages the viability of including more council housing in schemes more difficult. 


2.  Council assembly calls on cabinet to:


a.   Lobby and campaign for a housing economy that supports the affordable housing needs of Southwark residents, including:

i)  Social rent grant being linked to build costs.  The Mayor of London’s mandate to solve the housing crisis hasn’t been fully respected, with social rent grant level increased from £60,000/unit to £100,000/unit against an average build cost of £300,000/unit.

ii)  Full retention and flexibility to use Right to Buy receipts, including combining with grant. To also give freedom to suspend Right to Buy, or otherwise mitigate against its impact by (a) allowing covenants in new Right To Buy leases requiring any re-let at social rent, and (b) a one-in/one-out policy capping one year’s Right To Buy applications against the number of social rent completions in the previous year.

iii)  The ability to secure affordable land for affordable housing. The current Land Compensation Code recognises the landowners’ right to speculative ‘hope value’ – the compensation regime should be pegged to the existing use value of a site, with a fixed premium.  The council endorses the proposed reforms in Helen Hayes MP’s Planning (Affordable Housing and Land Compensation) Bill.


End violence at work charter


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be noted and agreed (relevant actions were also noted):


1.  Council Assembly notes:


a.  That many public service workers are subjected to violence and aggression in the course of their work.

b.  That UNISON, the UK’s biggest trade union, state that almost half of their members working in the community sector have been subjected to violence or aggression in the course of their work in the previous two years.  Incidents reported by UNISON members range from verbal aggression to serious physical assaults.

c.  Evidence, publicised by UNISON, that in some contracted out services, public service workers are told by their employers to tolerate violence, suggesting assaults are just “part of the job”.

d.  UNISON’s ‘End Violence at Work Charter’ - which commits employers to ten basic actions to safeguard public service workers and provide support should they become the target of violence at work. The actions include managing risk, providing appropriate training and making support available to those who have suffered from violent incidents.

e.  That the 'End Violence at Work Charter' is already making headway in driving up safety standards for public service workers and recognises that 37 major employers in the charity and housing association sectors have already signed up across the UK.

f.  That council assembly would like to see more employers confront the issue of violence in the workplace and ensure that nobody providing services on our behalf is left exposed to unacceptable risk of violence.


2.  Council assembly resolves to call on cabinet:


a.  To make the ‘End Violence at Work Charter’ a core part of Southwark Council’s commissioning process.

b.  To ask all existing service contract providers to sign up to the End Violence at Work Charter and make the award of new contracts dependent on a commitment by the organisation to sign the Charter.  This step is consistent with the Council’s ongoing commitment to an ethical procurement and commissioning process.

c.  To reiterate its opposition to violence at work in all sectors and reaffirms its commitment to working with its own employees and trade unions to ensure that all appropriate steps and support are in place to tackle the issue for its own workforce.

Supporting documents: