25 November 2018
Green councillors had a successful meeting of Lewes District Council this month.
Five motions on climate change, calling for an election, Brexit, fossil fuel divestment and council tax assistance were all passed.
1) Climate Action: to consider all areas of the council's activities and make recommendations and targets for mitigation and adaptation; requiring all report risk assessments to include carbon emission appraisals; tasking a director-level officer with reducing the carbon emissions from the council's activities; and call on the government to establish a National Climate Taskforce and require and provide resources for councils to produce Climate Action Plans.
2) Call for an election: Noting twin disasters of austerity and Brexit, we called on the leader of the council to write to the Prime Minister asking for a general election to be called.
3) A People's Vote on Brexit: we asked for the chief exec to write to the government to call for a People's Vote; and also for a report on the strategic risks arising from Brexit, and for officers reports to include Brexit implications.
4) Divestment: we agreed in principle on a proposal to divest our investments from fossil fuel funds, but agreed to bring this back to our February council meeting for a final decision when we have a full report.
5) Enabling more people to get help with paying their Council Tax: Lewes District Council has a hardship fund for those struggling to pay council tax, but it is sadly underutilised - even people who are sent the form (ie. who have been identified as needing help) often don't fill it in, or fail to complete it fully. Our motion is to identify the barriers and ways to overcome these (including changing the eligibility criteria) to ensure that more people who need help actually get it.