Issue - meetings

NOTICE OF MOTION

Meeting: 14/07/2020 - Council (Item 20)

Notices of Motion

To consider any Notices of Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism

 

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

Worcester City Council will not tolerate anti-Semitic behaviour and therefore adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

Proposed by: Councillor Griffiths

 

 

Reducing the Number of Empty Properties

 

Full Council notes:

 

1.   There are currently (as of 27/01/20) 327 houses in Worcester that are termed long-term empty – empty & substantially unfurnished for at least six months.

 

2.   There are 86 properties that have been empty for more than two years and these properties currently are liable to a premium of 100% additional council tax.

 

3.   There are 15 properties that have been empty for more than five years and 13 properties that have been empty for more than ten years.

 

Full Council believes that:

 

1.   An empty home is a wasted resource, both for the owner who could otherwise make financial gains by letting or selling the property, and for those who are in need of housing.

 

2.   Returning empty properties into use helps increase housing supply and regenerate rundown areas. It is also important to consider the blight that empty properties sometimes cause to local areas in attracting petty crime and devaluing neighbouring property.

 

The Council will:

 

1.   Publicise the opportunities that empty properties provide and encourage more local residents to report potentially empty properties to the Council.

 

2.   Proactively work with and advise property owners with houses that have been empty for more than one year to bring their property back into use.

 

3.   From April 2021 increase the council tax payable on empty properties of more than five years from 100% to 200% premium.

 

4.   From April 2021 increase the council tax payable on empty properties of more than 10 years to 300% premium.

 

5.   Prior to implementation the specific details of how these additional empty premium charges will be applied will be referred back to the Communities Committee to ensure that any unintended consequences can be minimised.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Stephen

 

 

Ethnic and Racial Inequality

 

This Council values the cultural diversity of our city and commits to addressing ethnic and racial inequality in Worcester.  We call on officers

 

    to review the collection of data by the Council on race and ethnicity

    implement training to tackle racism

    develop and implement targets for the employment of ethnic minorities

    ensure equality law is applied in relation to all policy areas and decisions

 

in line with the general recommendations in the Runnymede Trust 'State of the Nation' report 2020.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Denham

Minutes:

The Council considered the following Notices of Motion, which had been submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8:

 

1.    Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism

 

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

Worcester City Council will not tolerate anti-Semitic behaviour and therefore adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

The proposer, Councillor Griffiths and the seconder, Councillor Bayliss, both spoke in support of the Motion.

 

Councillor Griffiths explained that the Notice of Motion had originally including the following words:

 

“Due to the rising levels of anti-Semitism in our society, Worcester City Council is urged to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

The definition of anti-Semitism to be adopted by Worcester City is as follows:

 

    Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

    Manifestations of anti-Semitism might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collective. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

 

    It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.

 

It is important to note that this policy follows the Macpherson principle: that a racist incident is one perceived to be racist by the victim. Therefore, the perceptions of Jewish people, both as a collective and individually, should be the starting point for any application of this policy. Anti-Semitism still has to be proven by the criteria provided by this policy, but any accusations should be taken seriously and properly handled and investigated.”

 

Other Members spoke in support of the Motion.

 

On being put to the vote, the Motion was unanimously agreed and it was

 

RESOLVED: That the Council will not tolerate anti-Semitic behaviour and therefore adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

2.    Reducing the Number of Empty Properties

 

Full Council notes:

 

1.       There are currently (as of 27/01/20) 327 houses in Worcester that are termed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20