Sex and the City 

Thursday 26th January, 2017 Full Council yesterday. As always, all the papers are available online and you can watch any of the discussions on catch-up. One of the big decisions related to the Council Tax Support Scheme (CTSS). When this used to be Council Tax Benefit, some people on very low incomes would receive a 100% rebate on their Council Tax, the benefit tapering down as income increased. The scheme was funded through national taxation and was in effect a redistribution from richer areas to poorer ones.

The Coalition government scrapped this scheme and replaced it with CTSS which is now largely funded out of Council Tax, i.e it just redistributes money within the city. With the exception of pensioners on low incomes who still get 100% rebates, everybody else in the city has to pay at least some of their Council Tax and the minimum payment has now gone up from 15 to 17.5%. 

There were two really interesting motions debated, both passed unanimously, even though for Labour councillors it was a free vote. The first concerned sex and relationship education and proposed that all children should receive compulsory sex and relationship training with no opt-outs. In these days of easy access to on-line pornography, sexting etc, we have a duty to protect our young people from harm by making sure they have the knoweledge to protect themselves. 

The second proposed the banning of 'To Let' signs. These, like For Sale, Sold, Let By signs, whether they are on residential or commercial properties, no longer serve their original purpose, and if they do anything at all it is just advertising for the letting agent. Virtually nobody looking to rent a house or flat does it by walking round looking for 'To Let' signs. They go directly to a letting agent or they go online and in some areas of the city there are so many of these signs that they are a real blot on the landscape.

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