Agenda item

To receive reports from and ask questions of Cabinet members with portfolio holder responsibilities, in accordance with Procedure Rules 8.1 and 8.2.


Members asked questions of Portfolio Holders in accordance with Procedure Rules 8.1 and 8.2 as follows:

·       Councillor Miss French stated that she has heard that the Combined Authority Mayor will be bringing in a Council Tax levy and asked Councillor Boden if this is true and if so does he have any indication on the value?  Councillor Boden responded that the Combined Authority Mayor has a legal power to introduce a precept and there has been discussion and suggestion that because of the Combined Authority Mayor’s failure to receive any bus money from Central Government last March and April that obtaining money directly from local residents in the form of a precept could be a way forward but there is yet to be any firm indication that it will actually take place or how much it would be, with it being harmful to speculate the cost.  He made the point that at this time when so many people are struggling to make ends meet due to inflation levels and high heating costs the last thing they want is another tax to appear on their Council Tax bills so he personally deprecates the suggestion that the Mayor considers it may be necessary to do this.  Councillor Boden made the point that the previous Mayor, James Palmer, never found it necessary to use this legal power and he is very unhappy with the prospect that residents may see a Council Tax precept from the Combined Authority Mayor which all residents will have to pay.

·       Councillor Wallwork referred to the congestion charges proposed for Cambridge and asked Councillor Tierney to confirm that this was not heading into Fenland?  Councillor Tierney responded that the biggest aspiration of the ruling group in control of the County Council is fighting global warming and it does not appear that there is any price that is too great to pay, with one of the things they want to firmly do is clamp down on cars and some of the groups in the Cambridge area are upset and angry about it as it is a cost to just travel in and out of your house or work every single day and a cost that affects the most vulnerable.  He stated that there is talk about doing something similar or the same at this end of the County and when in the past he has heard these rumours they have always come true, but it is too early to say what the proposals will be but there are papers suggesting right now on some sort of car control or taxation they feel is necessary but he would certainly oppose it and would hope this whole Council would unite against such a proposal.

·       Councillor Hay added that she was at the Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny meeting last week and a report was considered on a bus review, which has taken 4 years to be produced when members were told it would take less than a year, but as part of this review they are looking at congestion charges and she was told afterwards by the officer from the Combined Authority that they feel they will not get any funding from Central Government unless they include congestion charging.  She does not believe this is a true statement and she believes they are using it as an excuse.     

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