Venue: Council Chamber, Allerdale House. View directions
Contact: Ian Hinde 01900 702544
To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 11 August 2017.
The minutes were deferred to the next meeting.
Declaration of Interests
Councillors/Staff to give notice of any disclosable pecuniary interest, other registrable interest or any other interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda, in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.
Item 6: Call-in:
Reducing Inequalities – Access to Affordable Loans and
Councillor C Tibble – other registrable interest – member of West Cumbria Credit Union, member of West Cumbria Credit Union Advisory Committee, spouse member of West Cumbria Credit Union, family member employee of West Cumbria Credit Union
A Seekings – other registrable interest – member of West Cumbria Credit Union
Councillor A Smith – other registrable interest – member of West Cumbria Credit Union
E Thompson – other registrable interest – Chair of West Cumbria Credit Union Supervisory Committee
Councillor H Harrington – other registrable interest – member of West Cumbria Credit Union
I Hinde – other registrable interest – member of West Cumbria Credit Union
Councillor C Tibble left the meeting.
To answer questions from members of the public – submitted in writing or by electronic mail no later than 5.00pm, 2 working days before the meeting.
To hear representations from members of the public on items which appear on the agenda – submitted in writing or by electronic mail no later than 5.00pm, 2 working days before the meeting.
At a meeting of the Executive on 6 September 2017 a decision was taken to support the development of the West Cumbria Credit Union, to support the Credit Union’s growth plan including the development of a new Workington Town Centre branch, the Allerdale Account and rebranding and marketing and to support the Credit Union with £220,300 from the Council’s Priorities Fund of £451,000 over the next four years.
On 11 September 2017 a ‘call-in’ form was submitted to the Council’s Monitoring Officer. The Monitoring Officer deemed there were grounds to accept the call-in.
Councillor A Smith attended the meeting on behalf of the Executive, as the Portfolio Holder for the report.
The Corporate Director attended to answer questions on the report.
Councillor B Finlay moved that Councillor A Pitcher chair the meeting on account of a procedural point as he considered it would show due diligence if a member who was not in the controlling political group was to chair the meeting. Councillor H Harrington seconded the motion.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that the meeting was called to scrutinise the Executive’s decision making process and that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was non-political and would not impinge on Members’ ability to take part in the meeting or to chair it.
Councillor H Harrington withdrew her seconding of the motion.
The motion was lost.
Councillor J Cook presented the call-in, highlighting the points set out in the call-in request form.
In response, Councillor A Smith said that the Council had agreed its Council Plan for 2015-19 at its meeting on 4 March 2015. The Plan set out that the Council, under its tackling inequality priority, would support people to deal with money problems by working with partners such as the Allerdale Credit Union to promote safe credit sources.
Councillor A Smith said that the Executive took the decision to support the West Cumbria Credit Union to tackle those in poverty borrowing from moneylenders with high interest rates.
The Corporate Director indicated that in addition to the Council Plan, decisions taken were in line with the Corporate Business Plan 2017/18, which was approved by the Executive on 5 April 2017.
Councillor J Cook said that although he supported the West Cumbria Credit Union he had concerns about people taking on loans while in poverty and being unable to pay the money back.
The Corporate Director responded that the aim of the West Cumbria Credit Union was to tackle this issue, offering loans at low interest rates and that as a result of supporting the Credit Union a total community benefit in reduced interest charges of £2.14m was expected, as was highlighted in the Executive report.
Councillor J Cook said that he was unsure using £220,300 of the Council’s Priorities Fund to support the Credit Union was the best use of the fund, suggesting there were other ways to help those in poverty.
The Corporate Director referred to other work that the Council supported, citing the Corporate Business Plan 2017/18 which included support ... view the full minutes text for item 156.