Constitutional changes, democratic decision making, opposition to the Planning White Paper, contract awarding, COVID testing, & budgets ....
Council Report 26/9/20 - Jayne Kirkham
Last week we had sessions on the budget as well as a full council meeting and I attended a Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee meeting.
Full council agenda can be found here - https://democracy.cornwall.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=584&MId=9693&Ver=4
We debated some changes to the constitution. I was concerned about the provisions checking meetings in the pre-election period, argued against too much restriction, and did not vote for them.
There were 3 members’ motions.
The first was to speed up the restoration of democratic decision making in the council. Our group leader, Stephen Barnes, made a robust speech in support. The motion passed.
The second motion was a cross party motion asking the Council to make clear its opposition to the government’s Planning White Paper. There are serious concerns about the way it could affect Cornwall’s housing allocation, affordable housing and delay the onus on developers to build zero carbon housing until 2050! Many Tory councils in the shires have struggled to support this White Paper and the Conservatives on Cornwall Council were between a rock and a hard place. In the end only a few supported their own government’s white paper and most abstained. The motion passed.
My motion to change the constitution as a result of the lack of democracy in awarding the contract for extra care housing to Mears was referred to the Constitution & Governance Committee, where I shall pursue it.
Questions to Cabinet members focused on Covid measures. The withdrawal of testing capacity from Cornwall had been a real issue. Covid cases have been rising with outbreaks in food factories and educational establishments. I asked what officials were doing to make sure that Covid-19 patients were not discharged from hospital to care homes or home with domiciliary care without adequate preparation. At least 136 residents were not tested before entering the homes in Cornwall before 15 April in the last spike.
A consultation on the budget has begun with each scrutiny committee being asked to look at its own department. The gap for 2021/22 is growing and voluntary redundancies are sought. We will be working closely with the council’s unions during the consultation. And making sure that any council buildings and land are offered to be devolved to parish and town councils, to the community or as sites for social housing before anything is put to the open market. We have on the record assurance from the Council Leader that this, at least, will happen.
This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee or by local Labour Councillors on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party