Adam Paynter, currently Lib Dem Leader of Cornwall Council, has sent this email to Lib Dem members across Cornwall. We thought Lib Dem Councillors and campaigners elsewhere may find it useful to see what our Lib Dem led administration is doing there.
“We are at that time of year when Cornwall Council is planning its budget for the next year 2019/20, and this year it is even more difficult than ever. The amount that we have received from the Conservative Government has been cut by £130m over the last four years, from £150m in 2013/14 to £14.5m in 2019/20. This is a cut of 90% and yet the demand and need for our services are rising, with an ageing and an increasing population.
In spite of this, under the Lib Dem led administration, we will be balancing our budget and doing our best to defend and protect the most vulnerable. It is worth noting that a number of other Councils around the country, particularly Conservative led administrations, are slashing key services and are in danger of becoming insolvent.
The Council has prioritised spending in the areas residents have said mattered the most to them and in spite of the cuts in funding by the Conservative Government, we have delivered a range of achievements:
· Cornwall’s Children’s Services continues to improve, having been rated as ‘Good’ by OFSTED in 2016, and the 2017 Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) inspection was equally positive;
· Our Adult Social Care Service is also improving, with additional investment and improved performance freeing up over 1,000 bed days in Cornwall’s hospitals compared to the previous year. Our new domiciliary care contracts will end 15 minute visits, pay carers the foundation living wage, also give them paid travel and training time;
· The Council ranks among the best in the country for providing new affordable homes, with over 900 built in 2017/18 and the Council is providing £250m of capital funding to directly deliver further new homes;
· Having already introduced the Foundation Living Wage for our own employees, during the last year as a result of a number of steps, average earnings in Cornwall rose by 5.6%, more than 3 times the national average;
· Our Devolution Deal has enabled us to secure an extra £17m investment in public transport, which has provided 41 brand new buses for Cornwall; with 700,000 more bus journeys compared to the previous year. We are one of the few Local Authorities in the country to increase public transport usage;
· 99% of significant potholes are repaired with 48hrs of being reported;
· For the last two months in a row, zero waste in Cornwall has been sent to landfill.
We need fair funding for Cornwall
At the moment we are living through times of great uncertainty as a result of Brexit and no one knows what will happen over the next few months politically. What we DO know, is that Brexit will mean a massive loss of EU funding to Cornwall, which makes it all the more important that we have a fairer funding formula for Cornwall.
There is currently a big gap between the highest and lowest funded councils. For example Camden in London, receives around £1,100 per resident in funding from government, compared to £784 per resident in Cornwall.
Cornwall Council has been calling on the Government to provide a fairer funding formula, based on need and the factors that drive demand for local services, such as the number of older people and the higher cost of delivering services in rural areas. Using that model, Cornwall should receive an additional £39 million a year.
We are living in difficult times, but I want to assure you that in spite of the challenges and particularly the cuts imposed by the government, I and my colleagues in the Lib Dem Group on Cornwall Council are standing up for Cornwall and delivering services that we can be proud of”.
All good wishes,
Leader Cornwall Council
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Launceston North and North Petherwin