Other News From Full Council January 2014
I put a motion to Council to lobby Government to make some groups of people exempt from the spare room subsidy (bedroom tax). This was based on my view that it is morally wrong to punish people judged to live in a home that is too big for them, if they are willing to move but no smaller, suitable home is available. I also think that it does not make sense that when tax payers money has been used to make a home suitable for a disabled person to live in, they should have a financial penalty to pay, if they have a spare room. For the disabled person, if they then asked to move, tax payers would again have to pay to adapt the property and where is the sense in that.
My motion did not get debated. It will go to a committee to look more closely at the implications of what I am asking and it maybe that some more exemptions will be added into the motion.
Should a family, with a boy and a girl under 10 years, be expected to move to a smaller home when in a few years time they would need the larger home again? They too, at the moment are being punished for technically, living in a home too big for their needs. What about if your child dies? Should that family be expected to instantly move of pay a penalty for now having a spare room?
I also asked what Cornwall Council is doing about the people, who it now appears, should not have been paying bedroom tax anyway. Those who have lived in their home since 1996 and have been getting Housing Benefit since then, should not have had to pay bedroom tax and should be getting it back. I will post information on how this will be returned to people in Cornwall.
Several Councillors spoke to me about the action I took that led the Director of First bus to review fare increases for the people of Pendeen and St Just. I did challenge the member of the Cabinet over the fact a more robust challenge on fares had not been taken for other people living in Cornwall. Many have seen fares rise by 10 – 40%, some even more. I was told that the increases went unchallenged because there is only a short time of the current contract to run and there was fear, that with Western Greyhound having pulled out from the West, that First might do the same and rural areas would have no buses.
I am assured that prices are being discussed as part of the process to agree new contracts. The Cabinet member, Bert Biscoe, said “I strongly suggest to the operator that it is better to have passengers on buses at prices which take account of low pay, scattered settlements and the needs of the wider economy … and that lower fare prices, which are affordable, will be a long-term investment in Cornish public transport.”
Fairer Funding For Cornwall
A motion passed at Council yesterday means that the Council is united in seeking a better, fairer funding deal for Cornwall. There is strong evidence that Cornwall gets less than its fair share from Government and the Council is going to work together and seek the support of all 6 Cornish M.P’s. Look out for more news on how you can join the fight for fairer funding and therefore help the Council protect the Services that are important to you.