The Leader to make a statement.
There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions and/or make comments.
The Leader made a detailed statement. A copy of the statement is attached as Appendix A.
Members raised the following topics:
· That the war in Ukraine was a humanitarian crisis, millions faced daily horrors and sought sanctuary.
· Welcomed the change in rating from Inadequate to Good overall for Youth Offending Serviceand noted that three areas were rated Outstanding.
· Welcomed the change in Ofsted rating in Children’s Services from Inadequate to Requires Improvement overall.
· That the problems raised in the Ofsted inspection report needed to be acknowledged and that greater progress needed to be made at pace.
· That whilst Surrey Corporate Parenting Board meetingshad strong engagement, Surrey’s Corporate Parenting Strategy was outdated.
· That the decision to remove the highway functions of the Local and Joint Committees was conducted with little consultation and questions remained unanswered.
· That regarding the decision to close eight care homes, repairs should have been made earlier and sought reassurance that redevelopment would be considered imminently.
· Agreed that the Ukraine conflict put local political disagreements into context and welcomed the cross-party motions and support.
· Hoped that the administration would continue to listen to the suggestions of the opposition, noting the positive engagement with the Liberal Democrat Group regarding flying theUkrainian flag, to offer support to refugees and for the Surrey Pension Fund Committee to review its investments in Russia.
· Praised the efforts of staff in the change of Ofsted rating in Children’s Servicesand hoped that the original motion 8 (ii) would help progress to be made.
· That the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee robustly reviewed Your Fund Surrey and hoped that the Cabinet would agree the recommendations made and all recommendations from the Select Committees going forward.
· That with the improved rating, the Council was on its way to rating of Good which was a testament to the work of the late Executive Director of Children, Lifelong Learning and Culture, the current Executive Director and staff.
· Shared the frustration of many that little was being done to simplify the process in the UK of offering sanctuary to Ukrainian refugees.
· That the economic sanctions on Russia and Belarus remained inadequate.
· That more could be done in Surrey such as relinquishing stocks of Russian investments in the pension funds.
· That a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that scientific evidence was unequivocal that climate change was a threat to human wellbeing and the planet, imminent action was needed.
· The tripling in the forecast rise in household energy bills by October, yet geopolitics was dominated by thedependence on fossil fuels and their rising prices were driving the UK’s cost of living crisis.
· That the Council must lead by example in an invest to save scheme and energy advice services for all, home insulation would cut winter fuel bills and Your Fund Surrey could be used to transform the energy efficiency of Surrey’s community buildings.
· That the Council could renegotiate Surrey’s bus fares and services with bus companies and the Government to provide free bus fares for journeys to school and for key workers; increasing demand and reducing pollution.
· Asked the Leader to consider an emergency response for Surrey - expanding on that for Ukraine - to deal with the cost of living and the climate crisis.
· Echoed the comments made on the brutality of Putin’s regime and the kindness of Surrey’s residents towards Ukraine.
· That the Ofsted report on Children’s Services highlighted that homeless children were being failed, there were risks around children being subjected to female genital mutilation, there was a lack of support to vulnerable children and permanent staffing was vital.
· Looked forward to rapid improvements to the highways in relation to pothole repairs and poor surface dressings on footpaths.
· That Surrey failed to offer cradle to grave services, the closure of the eight remaining care homes was an appalling record.
· Asked the Leader to review the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s work on bus contracts, Surrey could offer better services and fares for residents through franchising.
· That the Government’s restrictions around offering sanctuary to Ukrainian refugees were appalling.
· Questioned why the Local and Joint Committees were being destroyed as they connected with residents and gave powers to non-executive Members.
· That tackling the war in the Ukraine was a cross-party issue.
· That Farnham Town Council was working alongside volunteers to host Ukrainian families from Kharkiv, welcomed the document circulated by the Leader to Members which would help answer some of the logistical questions.