Agenda item

Written Responses to Cabinet Member Questions

To provide an opportunity to pose questions to Cabinet Members in line with Standing Orders.



No more than 10 minutes will be allocated at the Council meeting for questions to each Cabinet Member.


Members must submit their proposed questions in writing in advance in accordance with Standing Orders.  If members are unable to ask their question orally within the allocated time, remaining questions will be answered in writing.  The question and response will be appended to the minutes.


The question must be addressed through the Mayor or the person presiding at the meeting and not directly to the person being questioned.


Questions will be posed to Cabinet Members in the following order:


        i.           Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education and Early Years

      ii.           Cabinet Member for Community and Wellbeing

     iii.           Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Regulation and Housing

    iv.           Cabinet Member for Social Services

      v.           Cabinet Member for Organisational Transformation

    vi.           Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Bio-Diversity

   vii.           Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Assets


Written Questions from Council – 19 July 2022



Item 5: 2021/22 Treasury Management year-end report


Supplementary Question Raised in Council by Councillor Routley:

Councillor Routley referred to page 52, section 9 in the report where it stated that no investments supported Russian Institutes directly not being supported directly and therefore asked were there any investments that were indirectly supporting Russian Institutes.


Councillor Routley observed that under other debt activity, capital finances were raised for Glan Usk School and the Southern Distributor Road. The statement of accounts showed a liability of £39M to pay the operator and therefore asked could the finances be broken down between the School and the SDR.


The Head of Finance response:


In theory, the nature of global money markets is such that you can never be 100% that any investments won’t have an impact upon Russian interests, particularly where state sponsored subterfuge is employed. This is because transactions beget other transactions with other organisations and it is impossible to vet every link in that considerably long chain, before needing to start again vetting other transactions the following day given the recurrent churn in money market transactions. The industry standard is to ensure that your immediate transaction doesn’t have any obvious Russian ties, and an expectation that others carry out that similar diligence on their transactions.


Our investments at 31st March were all with other Councils, other UK based public sector concerns, the Government public sector investment/borrowing platform (DMO), a pooled fund specifically for local authorities and our call account with Santander. Notwithstanding what I’ve said above, on that basis in terms of our position at 31 March (and since then) , we’re confident that investments had no links to Russian activities.



PFI – our transactions are with Morgan Vinci in respect of southern distributor link and Newport Schools Solutions Ltd in respect of Glan Usk school (the latter also being a bespoke subsidiary of the Vinci group). During 2021-22 we paid those companies £6.6m and £2.1m respectively.


Item 9: Questions to Cabinet Members


Supplementary Question raised by Councillor Mogford to the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Assets re - Consultation with Residents Post 20 mph Zone


Councillor Mogford asked:

In terms of a local process post the 20 MPH speed limit, would there not be a consultation with residents?


Councillor Lacey responded:

Can I firstly direct you to the Members information pack provided by Welsh Government and distributed to all Members in July by Democratic Services, which seeks to provide information on all aspects of the 20mph default roll out across Wales including the public attitude survey and consultation on the reduction of the default speed limit undertaken by Welsh Government.


All local authorities in Wales are working to the guidance and criteria set by Welsh Government in identifying the roads that will both default to 20mph and remain 30mph.


Welsh Governments position is clear in that there will be no further public consultation on the roads that are defaulting to 20mph, as the criteria is set and will be applied consistently across Wales.


However, the roads that have been identified as remaining at 30mph (termed as exceptions) will be subject to the statutory traffic regulation order process. Therefore, all local authorities must and will follow the statutory process which includes the opportunity to comment or object during the consultation period.





Written Questions from Council – 27 September 2022


Item 7: Questions to Cabinet Member (item removed from Council Agenda following Notice of Motion of the Death of Queen Elizabeth II)


Question to the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Assets: Resident Access to Public Transport


Councillor Howells asked:

Despite the recent amendments to bus services, there are no bus services serving Lysaght Village and the surrounding industrial areas on Sundays or after 7pm in the evenings. Can the Cabinet Member confirm she will review this provision with Newport Bus and seek to ensure all residents have fair access to public transport?


Councillor Lacey responded:

The bus network in Newport is predominantly a commercial one, and there is limited opportunity for the Council to direct services. There have been some amendments to bus services recently by Newport Bus and these have been predicated on serving the areas with the current highest patronage levels and from the fflecsi data they had which showed the areas where the buses were predominately being used on evenings and weekends.


There is also limited availability of bus drivers at this time to operate evening and Sunday service provision. We work closely with Newport Bus in their consideration of services and will be reviewing all services with Newport Bus over the coming months to see what changes we may be able to make to serve further areas that they are currently not able to serve in the evenings and Sundays.


We have no certainty of what funding will be available to the authority after the end of this financial year for funding local bus services but we will continue to work with Newport Bus to improve bus services in all areas within the funding pot that we will have available.



Question to the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Bio-diversity: Capital Investment in Parks


Councillor Howells asked:

In the budget for this year, £2.5 million was outlined for capital investment in our parks. To date, how much is committed and where?


Councillor Forsey responded:

The significant additional investment covers both play areas and cemeteries.

For cemeteries, investment will be destined to ensure that our sites are accessible and safe for visitors, whist some repair works have already commenced most are currently in the process of being tendered.


For play areas, funding will be used to clear existing maintenance backlog over a 2-year period, to ensure they are safe and fit for use. Work will be prioritised based on results of the inspections.


The Leader and myself are keen to ensure the local community is involved in any replacement work taking place, and as such engagement officer is currently being recruited to ensure local children are properly involved.



Question to the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Bio-Diversity: Reducing Levels of Fly-Tipping


Councillor Howells asked:

In light of the recent report concerning the fly-tipping issues in Newport, what proactive steps does the Cabinet Member propose to do to reduce these levels and is one of those options being considered a review of the booking system at Newport Household recycling centre?


Councillor Forsey responded:

The increase in cases reported is just a consequence of the increased activity carried out by the Council teams to tackle fly-tipping. The cabinet invested in a second dedicated fly tipping response team, and there have been increased action and enforcement against fly-tipping - which has led to a higher frequency of incidents being proactively detected and reported.


We have also encouraged residents to report fly-tipping to us through our website and My Newport app which helps us to remove it faster.


As a result, the council has recorded the second highest number of successful prosecutions against fly-tippers in Wales during this period, whilst providing an average response time of under 1.5 days.


We will continue to take action against anyone caught fly-tipping in our city and work proactively with our partners to discourage this type of behaviour; this will include close work with the network of volunteers, partnership work with social registered landlords and other organisations and direct interventions and enforcement action.


There is no evidence to link the booking system at Newport Household recycling centre to an increase in fly-tipping.


The booking system has brought many benefits in a number of areas that traditionally posed a problem on site and that impacted on safety, performance and customer satisfaction. It was also resulted in improved recycling performance and the Council being awarded HWRC site of the year last year. A similar system is now used in most councils in Wales.