EDDC faces £7 million “black hole” – and blames the Tory government!

“The council, along with other local authorities who have housing stock, has a 30-year business plan to ensure that it is able to maintain its properties.

According to the authority’s calculations, the one per cent rent cut could mean East Devon’s ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account would reduce by £77.2 million over the next three decades. The council said this loss of income makes the business plan unviable.

The proposal has also been described as “particularly unwelcome” because the Government required East Devon District Council to take on £84.5 million of debt in 2012 in return for freedoms and flexibilities to run its council housing free from government interference.

The debt was based on the Government’s assessment of income and expenditure over 30 years, and three years into that arrangement, the government has been accused of proposing to “move the goalposts”.

Councillor Elson is urging the Government to reconsider the policy. She said: “This is very short sighted and this policy has tough consequences on us as a council and on tenants too. We need to secure a more effective balance between the needs of present and future tenants in the long term”

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/East-Devon-Council-facing-7m-black-hole/story-27530755-detail/story.html

But, of course, it won’t stop them spending £8m plus on a new HQ – just cut down the amount of social housing they will finance.

And how interesting they had a 30 year maintenance plan for their housing stock, but not for their HQ!

Someone has also added a trenchant comment:

More blackmail from the Council. Their response to anything is “if you don’t do what we say, we’ll throw our toys out of the pram” but I notice they’re still spending £££s on moving offices, and more £££s on the seafront scheme which no one wants. Priorities! They’re always blackmailing the residents about something, anytime they have to toe the line. they threaten to make someone suffer for it.

SWIPE – “South West Independence Party England”

Following on from our post about how much the South-West loses out to other areas of Britain, particularly the South-East, we have been considering the suggestion that we should create in this region a party similar to (but definitely not the same as) the Scottish National Party – a party representing an area which finds itself time and again the poor relation to other areas.

One should recall that the South-West has had a long tradition of non-conformity. Indeed, search on the words “south west england” and “nonconformity” and a whole host of links will turn up. Devon County Council even has web pages for it:

http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/councildemocracy/record_office/north_record_office/leaflets/sources_for_history_of_nonconformity-2.htm

Admittedly, this refers specifically to religious non-conformity. But the South-West showed its independent thinking by being a hotbed of liberalism when liberalism was something more than Nick Clegg getting into bed with the Tories. From Yeovil to Cornwall, this area steadfastly refused to be buttonholed into conformity to the pendulum swings between Labour and Conservative.

So, given that the area is now so definitely politically blue, are we getting a better deal? The post from earlier this week shows very definitely that we are not:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2015/07/31/is-it-time-the-west-country-had-its-own-party/

So, Owl thinks it is time we started thinking about alternatives.

Firstly, what is the South-West? Officially (for political and statistical purposes) it consists of nine official regions of England: Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The Owl thinks that we can discount Gloucestershire (hunting, shooting, fishing, the residences of Prince Charles and the Princes Royal and MI5 keep them firmly blue!) and Wiltshire seems just a little too close to the Home Counties and includes Swindon – definitely out. Dorset we dismiss too – they are totally conformist (see Letwin, Oliver and Grand Designs!

That leaves Bristol, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Bristol has gone extremely green over recent years and are likely to remain so (hopefully) and the Isles of Scilly have always done their own thing and have never considered themselves part of mainland life, but they can have the option of joining us within Cornwall (as at present). This leaves Devon, Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly if they so wish) and Somerset. These three counties have so much in common. Long sea coasts, poor infrastructure and transport links, large retirement communities, large number of second homes, tourism forming an important part of economic life, a history of being overlooked when the honey pot is being shared out.

Imagine a specific party for Devon, Somerset and Cornwall! Imagine what a group of people from this area who held the balance of power in Parliament could achieve. Imagine just how powerful that could be.

And the acronym: South West Independence Party England – SWIPE!

Take a SWIPE at London-centric politics – devolution for the Cornwall, Devon and Somerset region!

Alas, just a pipe dream – for now …..