The effect of the Local Plan on villages of East Devon

Excellent summary of the effect of the Local Plan on the district’s villages – including potential pitfalls if the Plan goes hopelessly wrong, given the risky “high growth” strategy that the Inspector has accepted:

Exmouth at centre of world banking crisis!

“WHILE regulars at the Powder Monkey quietly sipped their pints, the young American sat jabbering on his phone and tapping away on a laptop.

He had been at the pub in Exmouth, Devon, since 2pm and stayed until closing time — but he did not drink much.

He was too busy trading with US banks 3,600 miles away, flogging £150million worth of financial products ahead of the 2008 global crash.

Not that Wall Street hedge fund guru Ben Hockett was particularly fond of English ale. He had been directed to the pub by his Brit brother-in-law, who told him it was the only place in the quiet seaside town with reliable wi-fi.

And as Oscar-nominated Hollywood film The Big Short makes clear, when it is time to make a fortune, there is not a minute to waste.

The movie tells the astonishing story of trader Ben Rickert — played by Brad Pitt and based on Hockett, who had been visiting his wife’s family in Devon before the crash.

Within four afternoons in the Monkey, Hockett had turned his firm Cornwall Capital’s £700,000 investment into a £55million profit.

The Big Short, out on Friday, is based on the best-selling book of the same title by former Wall Street man Michael Lewis. …..”

TV tonight: The Town that took on the taxman

“The Town That Took on the Taxman
9pm, BBC2
As part of the Black Economy season, Heydon Prowse looks at the techniques used by large companies operating in the UK to avoid tax and sees what might happen if local businesses in a small town in Wales used them.

Crickhowell is home to a number of independent concerns – including a salmon smokery and bakery – that have successfully fought off a large supermarket chain. Now, in a satirical experiment, they see if they can’t pull the same tricks to dodge tax as used by their more overbearing competitors.

David Stubbs”

National Public assets being sold off too cheap and investment evaluations not robust

“The Committee of Public Accounts publishes its Sixteenth Report of this Session, following its inquiry into the sale of the taxpayer’s stake in Eurostar.

Members conclude there is an over-reliance on a small pool of financial and legal advisers in some asset sales and projects, and the government relies heavily on external advisers for corporate finance skills and expertise.

The Report also highlights the Committee’s concerns about the Department for Transport’s approach to evaluating the benefits and economic impact of transport projects.

It is concerned the Department does not accept its own evaluation of HS1 shows the project was poor value for money – and describes the two year delay in publishing this evaluation as “unacceptable”.

The Committee finds this meant “important information that could have been used by Parliament to consider other projects, such as HS2, was not available”.

It calls on the Department for Transport to develop a “robust way” to evaluate its investments and report on progress by September 2016, and urges that in future such evaluations will be made available “promptly regardless of their findings”.

Covered by BBC here:

“Independent Person” needed for EDDC Standards Committee

Fancy dealing with what EDDC decides are its naughtiest parish, town and district councillors and being involved in the process of ever-so-lightly rapping their knuckles and/or sending them on rehabilitative training (since no other sanctions exist)?

EDDC is seeking to recruit what they call an “Independent Person” to join its Standards Committee. However, not so independent that they can over-ride the Monitoring Officer or even vote about the outcome of cases – just be there as an “independent” observer.

Advertisements appear in this week’s local press and the closing date for applications is 19 February 2016.

The process for dealing with recruitment of this very, very special person was shrouded in mystery – however, a Freedom of information request in 2011 threw light on the process:

Unfortunately, the vacancy does not appear in EDDC’s online list of current vacancies. Interested parties are told they can contact Monitoring Officer Henry Gordon-Lennox 01395 517408 for more information.

You must not be a relative or close friend of an officer or member of EDDC and you must not have served as an officer of any local authority in the last 5 years. Previous applicants are told they cannot apply.

Owl has been thinking of filling in an application form …

One thought: it says that the person must not be a close relative or friend of any officer or member of EDDC. However, there is now so much close working with Exeter City Council, Teignbridge and the like, could there not be conflicts of interest from even wider circles these days.

What if a member of the Local Enterprise Partnership were to apply, for example!