Council Report dated 29 May 2020
This morning we had a briefing on the financial position of the Council in the light of Covid19.
In a nutshell, the effect of Covid on Cornwall Council may possibly be roughly twice as much as the money received from central government. As well as the money we have spent directly on Covid measures (including £1.6 million on PPE) it also includes lost income (eg carparking & other charges) and lost council tax and business rates. Central government have given 2 grants adding up to £34.4million. That leaves a large budget hole. At the beginning of this process central government promised they would make sure local authorities’ costs were covered. Lately the language has changed to ‘burden-sharing’. The council will review this year’s budget in July.
This article by John Harris interviewing our Labour LGA leader, Nick Forbes gives an idea of the impact on local government - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/25/pandemic-failings-centralised-state-councils-coronavirus?CMP=share_btn_tw
There will be a full council meeting (finally) in early July and cabinet will meet on 17 June. Both virtually. There should be arrangements in place for public attendance and questioning to take place at those online meetings.
Scrutiny committees will meet informally in June to set revised work plans for resuming normal meetings, virtually if necessary, in July. We intend to scrutinise the Covid response. On Health Scrutiny, I am particularly concerned that we make sure our local test and trace response is up and running ASAP, now that the government have rushed out their centralised, privatised Test and Trace programme (most likely to take attention away from the Dominic Cummings debacle).
The council have found emergency housing for 230 people during the Covid crisis. Plans are in place to find move on accommodation so people don’t end up back on the streets when lockdown is lifted. They are hoping to hire extra staff to support people into new accommodation. I am still looking for accommodation nearer to Falmouth as well as that coming online in Penzance and Truro.
If anyone has questions, the Covid email response - Covid19@cornwall.gov.uk is still up and running, or contact me on email@example.com
Labour 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