The Senior Democratic Services Officer (Bromsgrove) presented the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s Work Programme for 2018/19.
Members were advised that at the last Council meeting, Members considered the following the Notice of Motion, in respect of Business Rates Relief, put forward by Councillor M. Thompson:
“In 2017 the chancellor committed a £435 million business rate relief package intended on helping high street businesses. The communities secretary at the time, Sajid Javid, promised “absolutely no delay” in allocating and using the money. However, a table of “worst offending councils” shows that Bromsgrove District Council failed to spend almost 70% of their grant. Council notes this waste of central government funding and will set up a cross party investigation into how this was allowed to happen.
During the debate that had followed Councillor S. Baxter had proposed an amendment to the Motion, as detailed below:
“Council notes this waste of central government funding and will refer this matter to the Overview and Scrutiny Board to investigate how this was allowed to happen.”
On being put to the vote the Motion had been carried and the matter referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Board for further consideration.
The Board discussed the Notice of Motion and agreed that a Short Sharp Review would be established to review the Business Rates Relief. Members also agreed that as Councillor Thompson had put forward the Notice of Motion then he should be appointed as the Chairman of the review.
The Senior Democratic Service Officer (Bromsgrove) advised Members that as there were a number of Members absent from the meeting, that she would email Board Members to canvass any interest in joining this Review. Councillor P. McDonald asked to be considered for the Group and it was also noted that Councillor S. Colella had expressed an interest in the subject. Councillor C. Hotham requested to be considered as a reserve. The Senior Democratic Services Officer (Bromsgrove) advised that an ideal number for any such review would usually be 4 to 5 Members and that should there be greater interest in the matter then the matter would be referred to the Chairman of the Board or brought back to the next Board meeting for further discussion.
The Board was also advised that Councillor Glass had contacted the Climate Change and Energy Support Officer in respect of an item; this had subsequently been referred to the Technical Services Manager at Worcestershire Regulatory Services. The Technical Services Manager had discussed this with Councillor P. Whittaker, the relevant Portfolio Holder and he had suggested that a report in relation to the Clean Air Fund be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Board. This report would cover how the Worcester City Task and Finish Group (on Air Quality) worked and present the options available to Bromsgrove District Council to review measures to improve air quality.
Following discussion, the Board agreed that it would be useful to receive a presentation in respect of Clean Air Fund at the meeting held on 11th February, 2019. In addition, Members also requested information to be provided in respect of speed restrictions and the impact on air pollution and low emission zone.