Council Budget, Asset disposal, Responsible Procurement, more house-building but less affordable, & challenging decisions
There was already a big hole in Cornwall Council's budget next year, which Covid has only exacerbated. Papers for the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (https://democracy.cornwall.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=577&MId=9548&Ver=4) show that the Council intend to speed up their 'transformation' agenda to try and fill the gap, including a voluntary redundancy scheme. The papers also mention using the Covid crisis and more people working from home to 'dispose of assets'. It is vital that all local authority owned land and buildings are offered to the community, town and parish councils and to the housing department to see if they are suitable for council housing, before anything is offered for sale on the open market. Cabinet are also being asked to approve using money set aside for spaceport to bail out the airport.
The full council meets on 22 September. Motions from councillors include one condemning the government's planning white paper (which looks like it could lead to a bigger housebuilding target for Cornwall, yet fewer affordable homes) and one about having hybrid council meetings.
Last month, myself and 2 members of the Health Scrutiny Committee attempted to 'call-in' the decision to award a huge contract to national company Mears to build sheltered style housing in Cornwall, so our committee could scrutinise it. Our application was rejected by the legal officer. Therefore, I have tabled a motion that tries to make the rules for challenging Cabinet decisions more objective and transparent. The full press story on it is here - https://cornishstuff.com/2020/09/09/mears-contract-provokes-call-in-motion-to-council/
This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party