Cornwall Council’s Cabinet meet virtually on Wednesday for the first time since March.
The agenda is here - https://democracy.cornwall.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=577&MId=9546&Ver=4 - including a rundown of what the council officers have been doing since lockdown. The public should be able to virtually attend and watch.
The main item of interest will be the Council’s report on the actions taken since the Covid crisis began in March. Item 6 on the agenda is a report to the Cabinet on the council’s emergency response and a request that the ‘emergency decisions’ made by the CEO and other officers as set out in Appendix 3 be endorsed and ratified by Cabinet.
14 ‘emergency cells’ were set up to respond to the crisis. Between 24 March and 26 May 10,500 emails were sent to the email@example.com address. There were 2 million visits to the website. However, calls to council call centres dropped by 25.57% (probably because no council tax reminders were issued or business rates chased). There was a reduction of 88% in the council’s printing bill. 71% of our Covid deaths in Cornwall were men. There was a 401% increase in applications for free school meals and a 142% increase in council tax support claims.
The council has estimated that the Covid crisis has meant a £10.8 million net loss for the council, plus the lost council tax, business rates revenue and pressure on services which is yet to be quantified. The various funding from central government is set out at appendix 2 - https://democracy.cornwall.gov.uk/documents/s135386/Cornwall%20Councils%20response%20to%20Coronavirus%20and%20our%20approach%20to%20recovery%20and%20renewal%20-%20Appendix%202%20Fun.pdf
Examples of the ‘cells’ and decisions that have been taken are:
3. Housing Cell - At 500, double the number of households than normal needed temporary accommodation.
4. The Business Cell - Dealt with the business grants. There is a 61% increase of people in Cornwall who are claiming Universal Credit.
Full information is at Appendix 1 of the agenda https://democracy.cornwall.gov.uk/documents/s135385/Cornwall%20Councils%20response%20to%20Coronavirus%20and%20our%20approach%20to%20recovery%20and%20renewal%20-%20Appendix%201%20Sum.pdf
The next full council meeting is on 7 July. I have prepared a motion based on the work that Labour councils in Preston and Manchester are doing to try to ensure that the council considers social value and climate impact when it uses its spending power. This would benefit workers and the local economy. It is getting quite a bit of support across the council which is positive, if a little surprising!
Cornwall Councillor for Falmouth Smithick
This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party