Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday, 16th July, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Paul Dalton, Elections Officer, Resources Group  Email:  [email protected] or Telephone 01325 405805

No. Item


Minutes - To approve the Minutes of the Meetings of this Council held on 30 January, 20 February and 25 June 2020 pdf icon PDF 331 KB

Additional documents:



Declarations of Interest.



Order of Sealing Documents






Questions - To answer questions (where appropriate notice has been given from):-



The Public;



Members to Cabinet/Chairs;



Members to the Acting Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner for Durham and Darlington.



Council Reports.



Managing Director's Appraisal pdf icon PDF 356 KB

Report of the Assistant Director - Resources



Cabinet Reports. pdf icon PDF 309 KB

Additional documents:



Notice of Motion - To consider a Motion submitted by Councillor C. L. B. Hughes, and seconded by Councillor Ali


Protecting Children and Young People during the pandemic


‘This Council notes:


1.    Today, many children are living in families where parents are newly unemployed and reliant on universal credit. The working age population in Darlington currently claiming Universal Credit (UC) is 6.6% some 4,653 people; nationally it is 4.5%.


2.    There were over 3 million new claims for UC since mid-March nationally and more workers are at risk of losing their jobs. The number of people on UC in Darlington has risen by 1,598 within just the past two months. Whilst the government has increased the UC standard allowance, working age benefits are still at their lowest level relative to average wages in several decades


3.    There are currently 9,900 furloughed workers in Darlington. Changes to the furlough system and further business collapse and redundancy will inevitably lead to many furloughed workers joining those on UC over the next few months. Furloughed workers have been receiving 80% of their pre-crisis wage but- if they are made redundant- UC will only cover 53% of their previous wage.


4.    Before the pandemic, there were estimated to be 8,705 children in Darlington (35%) living in poverty with this number anticipated before the pandemic to increase to 39% by 2020-21. Economists believe that number will be much higher now. Many families where jobs have been lost, where someone has been furloughed or where working hours have been reduced are likely to experience a drop in income, some a significant drop.  Rising unemployment more generally risks a higher incidence of indebtedness, destitution and child poverty. Shoring up UC to help avoid increases in child poverty and economic insecurity must now be an urgent priority for government.


Council notes with concern:


5.    The impact that the two-child limit is having in Darlington according to the latest national official statistics for the first two years of this policy (to April 2019):--


• 156,540 households had been affected by the two-child limit, equivalent to 18% of all households claiming tax credit or UC with three or more children,


• For the families affected, this translates to an average annual loss of approximately £2,780 per child,


• The majority of those affected were working families (59%), the majority were couples (61%) and the majority had three children (58%),


• Extrapolating these figures to the beginning of April 2020, before the pandemic and the unprecedented rise in UC claims, it was estimated that 1,200 Darlington families and 3,900 Darlington children were being hit by the two-child limit.


6.    That many parents whose hours have been cut as a result of the lockdown and/or social distancing measures can no longer reach the earnings threshold at which they are exempted from the benefit cap for families;


7.    The difficulties faced by a small number of families in Darlington who are currently denied recourse to public funds as a result of their immigration status;


8.    The families who find themselves in need of UC not receiving their first payment for 5 weeks by  ...  view the full agenda text for item 18.



Membership Changes - To consider any membership changes to Committees, Subsidiary Bodies and Other Bodies.