Decision details


Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


(i)          A fully funded, proper pay rise for Council and School workers


Councillor Teresa Callaghan moved and Councillor Jackie Hollywell seconded the following motion:


That this Council notes:


Local government has endured central government funding cuts of more than 50% since 2010. Between 2010 and 2020, councils lost 60p out of every £1 they have received from central government. New research by UNISON has shown that councils across England, Wales and Scotland are facing a collective funding shortfall of £3bn by the financial year 2023/24 and a cumulative funding gap of £5bn by 2024/25.


Councils led the way in efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a huge range of services and support for our communities. Local government has shown more than ever how indispensable it is. But Covid has led to a massive increase in expenditure and loss of income, and as we emerge from the pandemic, local authorities and schools need far more support from Westminster. Recent funding announcements from the Government relating to schools did nothing to help.


Council and school workers kept our communities safe through the pandemic, often putting themselves at considerable risk as they work to protect public health, provide quality housing, ensure our children continue to be educated, and look after older and vulnerable people.


Since 2010, the local government workforce has endured years of pay restraint with the majority of pay points losing at least 25 per cent of their value since 2009/10. Staff are now facing the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, with inflation hitting 10% and many having to make impossible choices between food, heating and other essentials. This is a terrible situation for anyone to find themselves in.


At the same time, workers have experienced ever-increasing workloads and persistent job insecurity. Across the UK, 900,000 jobs have been lost in local government since June 2010 – a reduction of more than 30 per cent. Local government has arguably been hit by more severe job losses than any other part of the public sector.


There has been a disproportionate impact on women, with women making up more than three-quarters of the local government workforce.


Recent research shows that if the Government were to fully fund the unions’ 2023 pay claim, around half of the money would be recouped thanks to increased tax revenue, reduced expenditure on benefits and tax credits, and increased consumer spending in the local economy.


This Council believes:


Our workers are public service super-heroes. They keep our communities clean and safe, look after those in need and keep our towns and cities running.


Without the professionalism and dedication of our staff, the council services our residents rely on would not be deliverable.


Local government workers deserve a proper real-terms pay increase. The Government needs to take responsibility and fully fund this increase; it should not put the burden on local authorities whose funding has been cut to the bone and who were not offered adequate support through the Covid-19 pandemic.


This Council resolves to:


Support the pay claim submitted by UNISON, GMB and Unite on behalf of council and school workers, for an increase of RPI + 2%


Call on the Local Government Association to make urgent representations to central government to fund the NJC pay claim


Write to the Chancellor and Secretary of State to call for a pay increase for local government workers to be funded with new money from central government


Meet with local NJC union representatives to convey support for the pay claim and consider practical ways in which the council can support the campaign


Encourage all local government workers to join a union.”


Following debate, and upon being put to the vote, the motion was carried.


(ii)         Vaping


Councillor Stephen Booth moved and Councillor Robin Parker CC seconded the following motion:


Whilst acknowledging the role vaping products play in aiding adults to stop smoking, Council notes with concern:


·             The increased use of vaping products by children in the UK buying them directly from newsagents, supermarkets and other outlets.


·             The increasing number of local authorities who have had to take enforcement action against shops illegally selling vaping products to youngsters.


·             The marketing of certain vaping products with bright coloured packaging and flavours such as “bubblegum” that might appeal to children.


·             The significant increase in availability of disposable and single-use vaping products which are cheaper and easier for children to access.


That this Council calls for:


·             Vaping products to be in plain packaging and kept out of sight behind the counter.


·             Mandatory age-of-sale signage on vaping products (this is currently voluntary).


·             A ban on free samples of vaping products being given out to people of any age.


That Council instructs the Chief Executive to write to Stephen Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to express Council’s demand for the greater regulation of vaping products detailed in this motion.


That Council further resolves to bring a joint report to an upcoming meeting of the Licensing Committee detailing enforcement activity and strategy within Stevenage related to the illegal sale of vaping products to children, and exploring opportunities for engagement with local schools to inform young people of the potential dangers of vaping.”


Following debate, and upon being put to the vote, the motion was carried.

Publication date: 10/03/2023

Date of decision: 08/03/2023

Decided at meeting: 08/03/2023 - Council