Agenda item

Questions submitted by Members

To consider any questions submitted by Members.  (The deadline for questions is 4.30 pm on the Monday the week before the meeting – please contact Democratic Services by e-mailing or call 01795 417330).



Questions submitted by Members


The Mayor advised that two questions had been received.  The relevant Member was invited to put their question which was responded to by the relevant Cabinet Member.


Details of the questions and responses are set-out below:


Question 1 – Councillor Steve Davey


With the recent news that nearly £5m of government funding that had been allocated to help rough sleepers has gone unspent, could the cabinet member confirm what funding the council received from the governments cold weather and protect programme, and if the amounts awarded equate to the bids made by the council?


Response – Cabinet Member for Housing


Thank you for your question.  Swale was awarded £6,400 from the Cold Weather fund which is a fund we receive ever year to help during the winter and support Councils with costs relating to SWEP.  This year MHCLG also provided funding from Protect Plus due to the extra demands relating to dealing with COVID during the winter period, Swale was originally awarded £5k on the basis of our ‘November Night Count’. Which was incredibly low due to us supporting the ‘Everyone In’ initiative and offering accommodation quickly and providing on-going support.  This was challenged and we made a case to cover the true costs of this additional winter provision.  We were successfully awarded £38,823 which was just over half of what we applied for.  Though we appreciate every penny in grant funding received to support services, it is disappointing to see the government describe the lack of spending as a saving. There is a difference between saving money and not spending it, and this is certainly a case of the later. We believe that the bid we put into the fund was sound, an efficient and effective use of public funds and would have covered the costs which are now being covered by the Council. No doubt other councils that received less than they bid for will feel the same way.


Supplementary Question


Would Cabinet bid for remaining funds to cover the budget deficit?


Response:  Yes, the Council would bid for any funding available to provide this service.


Question 2 – Councillor Steve Davey


How much has the recent letter regarding the Local Plan cost the Council, with a breakdown of the costs, and where the funds sourced from?


Response – Cabinet Member for Planning


The cost of the recent letter regarding the Local Plan cost £36,242.61 in total.  This consisted of printing and data processing costs of £15,187.52 and mailing costs of £21,055.09.


This cost will be allocated to the Local Plan budget, but as there will be other demands on this budget and since the budget was set without anticipating the cost of this correspondence the outcome will inevitably be an overspend for which no budget has been provided.


Supplementary Question


What other Council services could the £36,242.61 have been used for? And would a breakdown of the effectiveness of the letter be provided for Members?


Response:  The £36,242.61 could have been used for repairs to war memorials.  A report detailing the effectiveness could be provided for Members.