Agenda and draft minutes

Petition Hearing - Cabinet Member for Corporate Services - Thursday, 20th April, 2023 5.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Liz Penny  Email:


Note No. Item


Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting


There were no declarations of interest.



To confirm that the business of the meeting will take place in public


It was confirmed that the business of the meeting would take place in public.


To consider the report of the officers on the following petition received:



Petitions in Relation to Core Grant to Hillingdon Autistic Care and Support (HACS) to Run the Rural Activity Garden Centre Tearoom pdf icon PDF 336 KB


The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services introduced the proceedings. Two petitions had been received in relation to the Core Grant to HACS to run the Rural Activity Centre Tea Room.


The first lead petitioner was in attendance and addressed the Cabinet Member. Key points raised included:


·       The petition had been signed by 1,259 Hillingdon residents. A further 128 Hillingdon residents had signed an e-petition. Both petitions were in support of the funding for the Tea Rooms;

·       In terms of Transparency, the grant of £40,000 had been a symbol of support for disabled people in Hillingdon;

·       Hillingdon Council did not have a good record on supporting autistic people – in 2012 the Council had been found to have violated the human rights of an autistic man and had paid £35,000 in compensation;

·       The Council had published a review in 2021 entitled ‘Making the Council More Autism friendly’ as part of which autistic people had requested that their views be taken into account and that they receive support in getting a job;

·       The proposed cut in funding had not been reported in Hillingdon People;

·       The disabled people working at the Tea Room had not been informed until January 2023 that they were to lose their jobs and had been unaware that the café was running at a loss;

·       The Equality and Human Rights Commission document ‘Making Fair Financial Decisions’ highlighted the need to consult with disabled people on how changes would impact them;

·       Councillor Lavery had indicated there would be no gap in service at the Café but on 18 April it had been already closed;

·       A revolutionary way of looking at disability had been introduced globally with the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. The Convention was based on the social model of disability and aimed to remove the barriers faced by disabled people - Hillingdon Council had adopted this model in 2009;

·       An example of this was the case of Remploy factories set up to provide employment to disabled ex miners and soldiers returning from WWII. Remploy had closed some factories which were not making a profit. Esther McVey, Conservative minister for disabled people, had been willing to provide support of £6,400 to each Remploy employee for 3 years;

·       Autistic people faced huge challenges in the jobs market. Closing the Tea Rooms reduced the options further. It was recognised that working in a rural environment could have a positive impact on Mental Health;

·       The Equality Act 2010 indicated that Hillingdon Council should think about the need to reduce the disadvantages faced by those with a disability;

·       The Government’s National Strategy for autistic children, young people and adults reported that, in December 2020, 22% of autistic people aged 16-64 were in employment, in contrast to 52% of disabled people and 81% of non-disabled people;

·       The Tea Room enhanced the Garden Centre as a destination;

·       The use of the Tea Room by the Council as a venue would help its cashflow;

·       The BBC2 Chris Packham documentary ‘Inside Our Autistic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.