3 items dominated the meeting of Gloucester City Council last night (Thursday 12th July 2018): The hugely flawed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), the disastrous Amey Contract and horrendous treatment of the Windrush generation.
Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) – a missed opportunity
Following sustained pressure from Gloucester Labour members and the continued work of our Labour Councillors, we are pleased to report that the targeting of homeless people, removal of unattended items and begging have all been removed from the proposed PSPO. This is a substantial victory for the Labour movement in this city.
The results of the public consultation were overwhelmingly in support of the inclusion of psychoactive substances (77%), littering (86%), nuisance or anti- social behaviour (75%) and aggressive charity collection (76%) in the PSPO. All of these have been excluded from the final order. Many people in the city may see this as a missed opportunity and will feel let down. As a result of the public response, Labour councillors moved to have these reinstated by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee but this move was defeated by the casting vote of the Liberal Chair, supported by the Tories.
Overall, the dangerous potential of a PSPO for infringing residents’ civic liberties has been neutered. It was Labour pressure that ensured that the PSPO did not harm how people use our city, and potentially target vulnerable residents.
Labour calls for Amey to be sacked
Following a long and sorry history of failures with this contract Labour has again reiterated calls for the Council’s contractor Amey to be sacked and the service bought back under public control delivered directly by Council employed workers. This took a significant step forward last night when following a Labour Notice of Motion Council resolved to:
Seek legal advice as to whether sufficient grounds exist for Amey to be issued with notice to terminate the contract.
Instruct the Cabinet to bring forward alternative arrangements for the delivery of the contract, including providing services in house, breaking the contract into smaller elements or joining the Ubico trading company that was established by neighbouring authorities.
We will continue to monitor the situation and apply pressure until a satisfactory result is obtained.
Obtaining Justice for the Windrush Generation
A further Labour motion recognised the extraordinary contribution that the Windrush generation have made to our country and City. Council accepted that many of this generation had suffered great hardship and had been let down badly by the British State. They have agreed to write to the City MP to ensure that the government acts swiftly on behalf of Gloucester residents affected to ensure they are granted their rights swiftly and fully compensated for any financial hardship that they may have suffered. Council further agreed to support the events organised during the centenary year including flying the Jamaican flag at North Warehouse on 5th August – Jamaican Independence Day. The Mayor and Sheriff will invite members of the Windrush generation in Gloucester to visit North Warehouse to express the City’s appreciation for the contribution they have made to the life and prosperity of the City.
Terry Pullen is the Leader of the Labour Group of Councillors at Gloucester City Council. This is part of a series of regular blogs which focus on his view of events at Gloucester City Council.