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Agenda item

Notice of Motion No 22 - Wiltshire Air Ambulance

To consider the attached motion from Cllr Brian Dalton and Ian Thorn.

Minutes:

The meeting reconvened after a short recess at 4.15pm.

 

Cllr Brian Dalton proposed the motion detailed on page 249 of the agenda. This was seconded by Cllr Ian Thorn.

 

Cllr Brian Dalton spoke to the motion. It was explained that after reading an article in the Salisbury Journal he had liaised with Wiltshire Air Ambulance on the motion.

 

The Salisbury Novichok attack had taken the life of an innocent person and affected the lives of many others. Salisbury, Amesbury and the whole of Wiltshire were very grateful for the response of the Salisbury Air Ambulance.

 

The Councillor stated that Wiltshire Air Ambulance deserved the full support of Wiltshire Council and the Government. Due to the Novichok attack, their aircraft was grounded, their rapid response vehicle impounded and destroyed, and their offices closed. They were unable to undertake vital fund raising or their vital emergency response.

 

Cllr Dalton sought reassurance in his motion that the promises made to the Air Ambulance to support its financial recovery would be kept, hence the proposed motion.

 

The Chairman invited Cllr Philip Whitehead as the relevant Cabinet Member to respond.  Cllr Whitehead stated he had been working with the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and he had it in writing from the Wiltshire Air Ambulance that Wiltshire Council had never promised to support its financial recovery. It was agreed that Wiltshire Council would lead on trying to recover the funds from central Government and this was still underway. Cllr Whitehead produced a letter from the five Wiltshire MPs supporting the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

 

Cllr Whitehead proposed a friendly amendment to delete everything in paragraph three after the sentence ‘This Council calls on Government to honour that commitment’. Also, in point 1 to change the words ‘fulfil the promise made to them’ to ‘recover the costs’; to remove the words ‘losses and’ from point 2 and to remove point 3 entirely. This was seconded by Cllr Richard Clewer.

 

The Chairman then invited group leaders to speak on the amendment.

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, acknowledged the points made by Cllr Whitehead, however noted that two years on the Air Ambulance were still out of pocket and needed government support.

 

Cllr Ernie Clark, Leader of the Independent Group stated that if the proposed amendment made the motion factually correct then he supported it.

 

Cllr Ricky Rogers, Leader of the Labour Group noted Wiltshire Air Ambulance had still not had their money and he supported the amendment.

 

The Chairman then opened the debate on the amendment.

 

Comments included that after listening to Cllr Whitehead’s response the amended motion seemed more appropriate.

 

Cllr Dalton accepted the amendment.

 

Cllr Bill Douglas stated he wanted to hear what Cllr Dalton had to say regarding the timeline and why he brought the motion, so that Members could make an informed decision. This was echoed by Cllr Walsh.

 

Cllr Thorn accepted the amendment as the seconder to the original motion.

 

An amendment from Cllr Grant was then considered. The amendment was to ‘urge our 5 Wiltshire MPs to continue to support this campaign for the fair treatment of Wiltshire Air Ambulance’.

 

Cllrs Dalton and Cllr Thorn accepted the amendment.

 

No one wished to speak in debate and Cllr Dalton concluded he was pleased with the amended motion and hoped the Wiltshire Air Ambulance would get results from it. The Chair opened the vote and it was,

 

Resolved:

To support the amended motion as set out below.

This Council acknowledges the outstanding work of all those emergency, armed forces and other services, including our own staff, who responded to the Novichok attack in Salisbury and Amesbury. Among those who put themselves at risk were the Wiltshire Air Ambulance team.

?This Council notes the commitment made by Government to meet the costs incurred and the losses made by this Council and the other services involved including the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

This Council calls on Government to honour that commitment

This Council calls on its leadership to?:

1.    meet with the leadership of Wiltshire Air Ambulance to formulate and execute a campaign ?to recover the costs

2.    make further representations directly to Government to meet the costs incurred by Wiltshire Air Ambulance in the Novichok attack

3.    work with our Wiltshire MPs to continue to support this campaign for the fair treatment of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance 

 

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