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Agenda item

Announcements of the Leader of the Council

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council on the business of the cabinet and on matters that the leader considers should be drawn to the council’s attention. The leader shall have 10 minutes to make his announcements.

 

The opposition group will have an opportunity to reply to the leader’s remarks.  The opposition group leader shall have 5 minutes to respond after which the Leader of the Council will have a right of reply.  Any right of reply will be for a maximum duration of 5 minutes.

Minutes:

The Leader made the following announcements:

 

“Good evening to you all. 

 

You should all have received an invitation from our Chief HR Officer inviting you to join the Folkestone and Hythe Rewards scheme. This scheme not only provides discount opportunities but also gives health and well-being support so if you want to be richer and healthier, I would advise you to take advantage of it.

 

Talking of well-being, have you tried out any of the outdoor gym equipment that has been recently installed in Radnor Park? It is supposedly for adults to use but seems to have found universal approval.

 

For your information we are working with KCC and our other districts to formulate a scheme that will give those leaving the Kent care system help with their Council Tax bills. KCC have indicated that exempting care leavers from having to pay until they reach the age of 25 would find favour with them. The scheme would primarily be administered by KCC. We would, of course, have to go through due process to adopt it but I am sure that we would want to support this particularly vulnerable group of young adults.

 

I was going to talk to you about the purchase of Westenhanger Castle but as it is an item on this evening’s agenda, I will wait until then.

 

You all should have received an invitation, albeit at short notice, to view tomorrow the new affordable housing in Princess Street, Folkestone.  This is another ten homes that have been made available for an affordable rent linked to the local housing allowance for the area and are being let through the Council’s housing list.  So now we have provided over 100 Council homes towards our target of 300 within the current plan. I have been told that the cap on the HRA has been raised so I have asked Councillor Godfrey to review the position with a view to increasing our target.

 

That is all from me this evening”.

 

The Leader of the Labour group responded and advised he was pleased with the additions to the Council Housing Stock, but felt that 300 houses in ten years was not sufficient for the number of people on the waiting list. In regards to the HRA, this was old news, announced at last years Conservative party conference. He looked forward to working with Councillor Godfrey and officers to build a robust innovative council house building scheme. He welcomed the FHDC rewards scheme, and hoped Councillors would engage with it as much as staff. With regard to the Radnor Park equipment, he stressed the importance of parks and gardens to residents in terms of both physical and mental health.  In response to the care scheme, he stated that this should be in place already and it was another symptom of poverty in the district.

 

The Leader of the Green Group responded and stated that she welcomed the care leaver scheme. She was pleased to accept the invitation from the Leader to visit the new affordable housing. She supported Councillor McConville’s points about the need for more council homes. 

 

Councillor Prater, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group responded and added that the mention of the FHDC rewards scheme was an odd choice for the leader given the summer events, in relation to East Kent Housing. He also referred to the discount at Ashford’s Cineworld, stating that it was not helpful in encouraging visitors to Folkestone’s high street.

 

The Leader in reply stated that opposition responses should be subject to a Code of Conduct. All members were there to work for the people of the district and not to score political points.

 

Proposed by Councillor Monk,

Seconded by Councillor Mrs Hollingsbee; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the announcements of the Leader be noted.