Agenda item

Cabinet Business

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council and other members of the Cabinet on the conduct of Cabinet business since the last Council Meeting.


The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) reported on the recent general election, and thanked officers for their work in administering the third election process over the past year.  Councillor Wilson stated that as part of the election process and subsequently, there had been a number of promises made in relation to the ‘levelling up of the North’ and discussions were taking place at a Greater Manchester level to try and understand what the implications of that might be.


Specifically, Councillor Wilson referred to the ongoing work of the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation to redevelop and enhance the Stockport Town Centre West area.  In particular, Councillor Wilson stated that she had written to the Secretary of State for Transport to advise him that Stockport was ready to capitalise on the pledges made during the general election campaign in relation to bringing Metrolink to Stockport.


Councillor Wilson then stated that following the recent issues of flooding across Stockport, and in the light of funding packages that had been announced for flood-hit areas of Yorkshire, she had written to the Secretary of State seeking additional support for the borough.


Finally, Councillor Wilson stated that it had been announced that Stockport County Football Club was now in new ownership and that the Council was looking forward to working with the new owners as the club moved forward into a new era.


The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning & Governance (Councillor Tom McGee) reported that it had originally been planned for the budget proposals to have largely been place by December, however there had been delays to elements of this resulting from the impact of the general election.


Councillor McGee stated that while the Council had just agreed the Council Tax and Business Rates Exemptions Scheme, a request had been received from the Minister for Local Government and Housing to include additional exemptions, and the detail of how this might work to ensure the council avoided sending out duplicate bills still needed to be worked out.


Councillor McGee stated that there remained a number of details that needed to worked through, however this would be completed in time for the preparation of a legal budget for submission to the Cabinet on 4 February 2020.


The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) reported on the progress on the installation of sprinklers in tower blocks.  It was stated that systems would be commissioned and live in Boden House, Lancaster House, Palatine House and Radnor House by the 24 January 2020.  Work was ongoing in Hanover and Pendlebury Towers and the next phase was confirmed as being Hollow End Towers and Romney Towers. Work on these on these properties was due to start at the beginning of February.


Councillor Bailey confirmed that the four year tree-planting programme was underway with 500 trees having been planted during the last planting season with a further 450 being planted in the current phase.


Councillor Bailey then stated that the LED street lighting programme was on schedule be completed within the three year programme originally identified and that it was expected that CO2 emissions would be reduced by at least 2,151 tonnes per annum when complete.


Finally, Councillor Bailey reported that she intended to write to the government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90 decibels as well as requesting that consideration be given to licensing all fireworks and bonfire events.


The Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus & Engagement (Councillor Kate Butler) reported that the current five-year Borough Plan was due to expire this year and that work was being undertaken on how this could be refreshed and early engagement work was taking place with young people through schools and colleges.


Councillor Butler then stated that work had taken place to roll out the use of the Council’s chatbot ‘Ami’ across the majority of pages on the Council’s website.  The service used a combination of artificial and ‘live’ advisors to provide support to users of the website.


The Cabinet Member for Children, Family Services & Education (Councillor Colin Foster) reported that on Christmas Day, a successful event was held for care leavers support by Pure Insights and inspired by the authority Lemn Sissay providing a Christmas meal and entertainment.


Councillor Foster further reported that the Greater Manchester Care Leavers’ Charter was launched on 1 November 2019 at Manchester University that aimed to ensure that care leavers were prepared and supported to live independently; had improved access to education employment and training; experienced stability in their lives and felt safe and secure; received improved access to health support; and achieved financial stability.


Finally, Councillor Foster reported that on the 20 November 2019 a youth climate change event was held at Manchester University attended by 21 Stockport schools and led by the Headteacher of Mellor School. 


The Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration (Councillor David Meller) reported that the Merseyway Shopping Centre had experienced a very successful Christmas and had seen a 21.5% increase in visitors over the period between 11 November 2019 and 5 January 2020 from the same period last year. 


Councillor Meller stated that it was his objective to ensure that the success of the town centre was similarly reflected in Stockport’s district centres and that he was therefore proud of the proposed introduction of a £300,000 interest free loan fund to support new businesses in the district centres.


Finally, Councillor Meller reported that No. 2 Stockport Exchange was nearing completion and announced that BASF UK had now agreed to take two floors in the new development which represented a vote of confidence in the approach of the Council to development in the town centre.


The Cabinet Member for Adult Care & Health (Councillor Jude Wells) reported on recent issues and publicity concerning Stepping Hill hospital.  It was stated that performance was not going as well as the Council would like and that partners were working hard to support the partnership to address some of the serious challenges the system currently faced. The Council was working with partners at the CCG and the Foundation Trust to address these challenges. 


Councillor Wells stated that the Council had made an additional investment of £1.28m to provide additional capacity in the urgent care system which included beds in the community and additional provision around home care along with investment in new models of care.


Councillor Wells then reported that Stockport was once again the best performing local authority in Greater Manchester in terms of flu immunisations across target groups which included 78% of health professionals.