Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Cornwall Council Strategy? (Cornish Guardian article; 16th July)

Over the last month, I have somewhat neglected this blog because of other pressures. Tonight, to bring it more up-to-date I intend to post three recent articles that have been published in the Cornish Guardian. The first of these was published on 16th July and was as follows:.

Cornwall Councillors are presently attending a range of meetings to consider a Strategy framework, which will set out the “direction for the organisation over the course of the next four years.”

It is a particularly stressful time for all councillors. It has been estimated that – after four years of swingeing cuts – the unitary authority needs to cut a further £196 million from its already shrunken financial base.

Part of the pressure comes from rising costs and additional pressures, for example because of Cornwall’s growing population, but yet more cuts are anticipated from central government.

The ruling Liberal Democrat and Independent Cabinet has published a first draft of its Strategy for the Council. It includes a set of “values and principles” which they claim “will guide and shape how the Council operates” and “provide the grounding for the difficult decisions that lie ahead.”

Their values include “inclusive, engaging and empowering leadership,” “honesty, respect and … trust” and being “ambitious for Cornwall.”

Their principles meanwhile promise close working with partners and communities, as well as flexibility, while “providing choices and opportunities in every aspect of people’s lives” and “supporting equality and social inclusion,” and “acting in Cornwall’s best interest.”

The document also has a series of “themes,” which include “driving the economy,” ”healthier communities” and the “stewardship of Cornwall’s assets.”

Fine words indeed.

But it is still extremely unclear as to how they will help Cornwall Council take the “difficult decisions” being forced upon it.

Local councils are struggling because of the truly disproportionate cuts from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition. And it is so bad that the new chairman of the Local Government Association, David Sparks, has accused the Government “of an abuse of power” in the manner in which they deal with local government.

It is particularly galling to local politicians, such as myself, to see the Coalition undermining local government with cuts, while wasting money themselves.

Only days ago, we had the headlines about large numbers of wealthy people still using aggressive tax avoidance schemes to get out of paying their fair share of tax, while the Government’s own Business Select Committee has reported that the privatisation of the Royal Mail short-changed taxpayers by £1 billion.

It seems to me that the Coalition needs to get its own house in order and it could start by reversing its damaging cuts to local government.


Armorel said...

Thank you Dick for your posting. I am deeply concerned about the future running of Cornwall and especially the Pension Fund and the financial viability. When will the rest of us know exactly what the proposed future Vision is for Cornwall because many of us are becoming distraught about the seemingly irresponsibility in respect of Planning decisions both by CC and the Inspectorate. Our present infrastructure is totally inadequate whether it be highways, sewage, surface water run off, hospital and local GP surgeries to name but a few.
Our social fabric is also v. fragile because the communities are unable to absorb what can only be termed an "invasion" which is totally destroying our Cornish culture. Now that we have obtained Minority status I think we are entitled to make our views heard and any new houses should be for Local needs only. There is no shortage of housing. We do not have a housing crisis what we have is a HOUSING PRICE CRISIS.... just take a look at any Estate Agents window!
Thank you Dick for making your voice heard at Cornwall Council. said...

Hi Dick you may think I am being a little harsh with MK recently I know and appreciate the difficulties you work under but MK really does need to raise it's head above the parapet a little given the urgency of the burning issues highlighted by Armorel. Diligence has a place but in Cornwall so does pride and passion which I suggest is sadly lacking. Armorel and I are part of a group who according to yesterdays MK post might be termed hotheads... let me assure you that we are not but neither are we poodles we will say what we feel needs to be said without fear or favour if it is for the good of Cornwall... from the reaction we are getting at grassroots the awkward questions that are being asked are striking a chord with those who currently see themselves as disenfranchised.My message to you is please do not regard us as hotheads listen to the messages we are relaying from the increasingly cornered increasingly angry Cornish electorate. said...
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