Letter published in Cornishman

Posted on: 3rd January 2015

Letter published in Cornishman, for Christmas day, was a bit of a surprise as I had written it several weeks ago, if not a month. I expect they were a little low on letters! If you were doing other things at Christmas and did not get to read it then here it is!!

“Mr Chadwick says he is from Penzance but there were so many factual errors in his letter last week that I wonder whether he is following a different Council to the one I serve on? (It was in fact the end of November and he seemed to think Cornwall Council was run by LibDems and accused them of being lefties, hiking up Council tax and dumping services on Town & Parish Councils.) 

The Council is not run by LibDems as no group has a majority. The Cabinet of 10 consists of 5 Liberal Democrats and 5 Independent Councillors. The Leader of the Council is John Pollard, an Independent. The Chair of the Council is John Wood, an Independent. If Mr Chadwick had a conversation with some of the Independent Councillors, inside or outside the Cabinet, he would struggle to refer to them as in any ‘leftie brigade’.

Cornwall Council plan to increase council tax by 1.97%, the highest amount the Council can increase council tax by, without a referendum, due to Eric Pickles meddling in what local councils can do. The largest party in Government, the Conservatives, are ideologically opposed to local Government and they are starving all local authorities of money whilst demands on them, particularly in terms of Adult Care and Children’s Services, increase. As a result, Cornwall Council is working with local communities, Town and Parish Councils and local community groups, to find ways to support them to take over services that mean most to them. What the people of St Just value will be different to what people in Helston or Bude value. Sustained budget cuts mean that Cornwall Council cannot afford many things that local people love in their particular community so more local control makes sense.

Some Towns and Parishes have been looking at what has been happening locally and Nationally and have planned ahead so will not need to raise their precept by too much. Others hoped things would pan out differently but may now be starting conversations to take over assets and services so they may have to make big increases in what they ask people in their own Parish to pay. However, that means the people in St Just will pay for what the community there cherishes and the people in Bude will pay for what that very different community values etc.

As for LibDems being ‘leftie’ I’m probably guilty as charged BUT the party consists of a broad range of views, hence a coalition with Conservatives at a National level. Seems to me we cannot win; Mr Chadwick is critical of LibDems for being ‘leftie’ yet when I speak to local people, many are critical of the party straying to the right, through the coalition. Perhaps the party remains on the centre ground of Politics, after all!”