A funding bid by the Epping Forest Youth Council, Olympic Games ticket allocation and Council Tax reform were all discussed at overview and scrutiny on Tuesday 29 November 2011.
Youth Council fund bid
A bid for continued funding has been made by Epping Forest District Youth Council as it prepares for elections in 2012.
Members of the Youth Council made a strong and professional presentation to members of Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Youth Council is seeking £12,000 from the District Council to continue its work. In support of the bid, Youth Councillors showed how funding allocated in the current year has been used for a range of highly successful projects.
Epping Forest Youth Council has also raised more than £9,000 independently. Approximately £700 is expected soon from the Jack Petchy Foundation.
In addition to the variety of projects working directly with other young people, the Youth Council also provides a forum with which Epping Forest District Council can consult. The District uses the Youth Council as a sounding board and partner in the development of projects and policies affecting the District’s young people.
Councillor Richard Bassett, Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny asked members of the Youth Council how they felt they were perceived among young people. In response the committee learned more of the work conducted by the Youth Council in local schools and youth groups where its profile and effectiveness has been raised.
Councillor Di Collins asked how the Youth Council communicated beyond the areas of local schools. By working with other local youth clubs and organisations, the Youth Council has been able to extend both its range and effectiveness.
Councillors applauded both the presentation of the Youth Council and the value for money it offers to the wider community. One of the strongest points emerging from the subsequent question and answer session was the ‘bridge’ built between young people represented by the Youth Council and the older generations represented the District.
Overview and Scrutiny agreed unanimously to support the Youth Council bid for funding in the new budget round.
Olympic Games ticket allocations
Members of Overview and Scrutiny Committee have upheld the Cabinet decision on the allocation of tickets for the Olympic Games to local residents.
As a ‘host’ Council supporting the Olympic Canoe Slalom competition at the Lee Valley White Water Centre during London 2012, Epping Forest District Council took up an opportunity to buy a limited number of tickets. Fifty-four tickets were subsequently allocated by LOCOG at a cost to the Council of approximately £3,000. A bid has also been made for a small number of tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Games.
Competition day tickets are for the White Water Centre. Overview and Scrutiny confirmed the Cabinet decision to allocate the tickets as follows:
Olympic Games opening ceremony:
2 tickets for the Citizen of the Year
Olympic Games closing ceremony:
2 tickets for the Young Citizen of the Year
£35 tickets for the canoe slalom:
2 tickets for the Citizen of the Year runner up
2 tickets for the Young Citizen of the Year runner up
5 tickets to a district resident in the care of St Clare Hospice and their family
5 tickets to a district resident young person and their family participating at Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs
5 tickets to a district resident child and family at Oakview School in Loughton
3 pairs of tickets to residents of Epping Forest district nominated by members of the public
£20 tickets for the canoe slalom:
11 tickets (two adult, nine children) for the King Harold School in Waltham Abbey
7 pairs of tickets to residents of Epping Forest district nominated by Members of the public
Public nominations are to be sought for individuals who have made a major contribution to the local community or have overcome exceptional personal challenges, the main stipulation being that the nominee must be a resident of the district. Neither they nor the nominator can be an Epping Forest District Council employee or a district councillor. A panel composing of the Chairman of Council, Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder and the Council’s ‘Olympic Champion’ will decide on the successful nominations.
Council Tax reform
Councils are being consulted by the Government on proposals to change elements of Council Tax.
The Government proposes that reforms to the Council Tax system from 2013 / 2014 will:
Give billing authorities power to levy up to full Council Tax on second homes
Replace existing Class A and C exemptions for vacant homes with discounts of up to 100%, the amount of which it would be for billing authorities to determine
Abolish the Class L exemption, and make mortgagees in possession of empty dwellings liable to Council Tax in respect of them
Allow billing authorities to levy an ‘empty homes premium’ over and above full Council Tax liability in respect of dwellings which have been left empty for two years or more
Set a default assumption that payment of Council Tax be by instalments over 12 months rather than 10 as is currently the case
Allow authorities to publish online the ‘information to be supplied with demand notices’
Changes to eliminate potential tax complications from arrangements involving third party suppliers where solar panels are placed on the roof of dwellings without coming into the control of the resident
To see the Epping Forest District Council response (go to page 47 of the agenda)
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