Safer Cornwall, a question on democracy, COVID testing & questions for Labour’s Regional Executive Committee rep.
Councillor's Report - 5/9/20
Safer Cornwall is a Cornwall Council led collaboration between agencies that focuses on towns and safety and community issues. I am on the Safer Falmouth committee. The pandemic has led to a rise in homelessness, street drinking, domestic violence and drug use and dealing has gone up. It often feels like the resources we do have are hideously stretched and we are involved in a merry-go-round of moving the limited resources from place to place when there is an issue. For example, our ASB officer and homeless outreach officer in Falmouth cover a vast area right up to the Tamar. They have been pulled up to St Austell because of recent issues and we have suffered their loss in Falmouth. Street homelessness is on the rise again and Cornwall has been so busy since the ease of lockdown with visitors. Our action should be about prevention, but it has ended up being reactive when things hit crisis level. Drug and Alcohol Treatment and homelessness often get overlooked by councillors in favour of potholes and funding has steadily fallen. The pandemic meant that a light was at least shone on street homelessness, some emergency accommodation was found and the Council via Cornwall Housing has hired new outreach officers to help support some of the people housed in move on accommodation. Much more needs to be done to help people to stay housed and improve our woeful mental health support though.
There has been controversy this week about CC's policy of keeping staff and councillors working from home longer term. Steve Double staged a question in the House of Commons to enable Jacob Rees Mogg, from a virtually empty chamber, to air the government's pushing people back to work in offices policy while slating the LibDem council. There have been times where democracy has suffered in Cornwall during the pandemic. Decisions were made by officers under emergency powers. The Mears decision that I tried to call in was not subjected to full scrutiny because of Covid measures. The last full council meeting was limited by Microsoft Teams 4 hour time limit, so some councillors were not heard. Whether it's virtual, or hybrid, or in person, we need full democracy to be restored. There is a full council meeting on 22 Sept at 10am. All are welcome to join virtually. https://democracy.cornwall.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=584&MId=9693&Ver=4
Regarding Covid testing, capacity is being pulled from Cornwall to go to other areas with a higher prevalence of cases. Not a sensible policy considering our recent visitor levels and the return of schools and university students. The local NHS are trying to fill the gap, but it is unhelpful.
And on a final note, it is the Regional Executive Committee meeting on 12 September. I will be there as one of the 2 Cornwall CLP reps. I have attached the agenda. If anyone has a point they wish me to raise at that meeting, or a question, please let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org and pass it onto members.
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