“Greater Exeter” dependent on EU for 70% of its exports

Exeter is more reliant on trading with the EU than any other city in the country, according to a new report.

Centre for Cities released a report today which reveals that 70 per cent of Exeter’s exports are sold to the EU – meaning our city would be hit worse by a bad Brexit deal than anyone else.

That figure is much higher than average, Almost half the exports from UK cities are sold to the EU.

That is three times more than to the USA and five times more than to India, Japan, Russia, South America and South Korea combined.

The annual Cities Outlook survey shows that the whole of the South West relies on EU trade more than other regions – with Exeter the most dependent of any city in the country.

The same report also says Exeter is the fastest growing city in the country, with a population increase of 2.4 per cent in the last year.

Exeter’s main exports are in goods and services such as insurance and pensions, as well as transport equipment.

While across the UK the average is close to 50 per cent of trading done with the EU, in some cities it is as low as 25 per cent.”


Knowle relocation costs: it’s up to us to check as councillors don’t get the information

And this is how we do it (whilst we have a Freedom of information Act):

Dear East Devon District Council,

I would like to make a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am also making this Request under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2004 which require disclosure on the part of Local Authorities.

Please let me have the costs to date of the Knowle relocation project, to include all preliminary pre “moving decision” costs, and subsequent costs of all work associated with the intended reallocation, including those at The Knowle, Manstone, the intended Honiton site and Exmouth Town Hall

I should also like to know the current projected costs of the Exmouth Town Hall move, (including all associated costs such as moving, staff compensation and travel costs and fitting out costs), and for Honiton and costs associated with the “mothballing” of various parts of the Knowle contingent upon the intended relocation of 90 staff to Exmouth.”


And if they say they can’t tell us how much it has cost so far …..

Exmouth Visitor Survey

Last year nearly 5000 people in Exmouth voted in favour of further “INDEPENDENT consultation before any further action (including submission of planning applications) was taken on The Queen’s Drive.

While this has been roundly ignored by EDDC. they did at least seek the opinion of visitors. When independent Cllr Megan Armstrong carried out the Seafront Survey with support from SES we found visitors hold similar values around the seafront as residents, and that it was Exmouth’s unique charm that kept them coming back. Alarmingly many said they would no longer visit Exmouth if The Queen’s Drive development went ahead. I would have thought EDDC would be concerned about this yet it is just another piece of evidence that has been ignored.

Here is the EDDC website announcing the visitor survey, note the last paragraph states the results will be reported to ‘the team’ (Coastal Communities) at the end of the year (2016) …”


Knowle yesterday, Parliament today!

“Plans for a £4bn restoration of the Palace of Westminster that would mean MPs and peers leaving the building for six years have been thrown into doubt by a powerful Commons committee, which says there is insufficient evidence for it to back the project.

In an extraordinary move, the all-party Treasury select committee is to appoint its own team of specialist advisers to gather what it says is the necessary level of detail about the work and costs, claiming previous exhaustive investigations by parliament and private consultants failed to produce sufficient evidence. The committee’s chairman, Andrew Tyrie, took Commons authorities by surprise by announcing that a Commons debate, which he says was due to be held this week on the restoration, had been postponed because MPs did not have the facts they needed. Commons sources said Tyrie was mistaken and no date for the debate had been fixed.

The committee’s surprise intervention is evidence of a growing split between those responsible for managing parliament along with MPs who back the restoration project, and others who are worried about the disruption and the likelihood that costs will soar. …”


NHS: Underfunding, underfunding, underfunding

And our CCG’s solution? Cut hoppital beds.

“Hospitals were dangerously full during the recent onset of the winter crisis and breached an edict from NHS bosses to keep one in seven beds free, a new King’s Fund analysis reveals.

England’s 153 acute hospital trusts were told by the health service regulator on 9 December to run at no more than 85% bed occupancy between 19 December and 16 January, the internationally recognised level that hospitals are meant to stick to in order to minimise the risk of potentially deadly infections and to maintain the capacity to deal with emergencies.

Hospitals only managed to meet the target for three days over that period and were running at far higher levels of bed occupancy, often exceeding 95%, the King’s Fund found. Occupancy only dipped below 90% on four days since mid-December, it added.

“Bed occupancy rates above 85% increase the chances of bed shortages and the risk of infection. The fact that hospitals have missed the 85% objective by such a significant amount is further evidence of the huge pressure facing hospitals,” said Richard Murray, the thinktank’s director of policy who undertook the analysis.

The NHS entered the winter period with bed occupancy rates already high by historic standards, given that they were at 87.5% in the normally “quiet” second quarter of 2016/17. “The NHS did indeed achieve occupancy rates below 85%, but only on 23–25 December, when bed occupancy often falls as hospitals discharge as many patients as they can for Christmas, ”said Murray’s analysis.

“However, whatever spare capacity the NHS managed to create was quickly eaten up. As a consequence, it should come as no surprise that early January was an exceptionally difficult time as occupancy rates rose quickly above the 95% mark, although they do appear to have eased somewhat since then.”

Hospitals were operating at close to capacity even though flu, the winter vomiting bug norovirus and extreme, snowy weather, which oridnally might make it more difficult for hospitals to cope, did not cause significant problems. But the fact that unprecedented numbers of trusts were forced to declare an alert in the early weeks of January underlined that hospitals have come under unprecedented strain in recent weeks, Murray said. …”


Just poor grammar in the Sidmouth Herald? …

In its piece on EDDC being forced to publish the PegasusLife contract for The Knowle, it concludes:

“… Mr Woodward had previously challenged EDDC in 2015 when it refused to comply with Freedom of Information requests, also on its relocation. The eight-month legal battle saw EDDC blasted as ‘discourteous and unhelpful’ and cost taxpayers £11,000 in lawyers’ fees.”


What is not made crystal clear is that it was the JUDGE in the case – the judge in the case, Judge Brian Kennedy QC – who made this remark, not Mr Woodward.

In fact the full sentence read:

“Correspondence on behalf of the council, rather than ensuring the tribunal was assisted in its function, was at times discourteous and unhelpful including the statement that we had the most legible copies possible.”


Sloppy, Sidmouth Herald, very, very sloppy.

NHS crisis? Not in Swire’s backyard!

Our MP’s questions in the House this week:

Written Answers – Foreign and Commonwealth Office: North Korea: Politics and Government (26 Jan 2017)

Hugo Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to discuss the political and human rights situation in North Korea with the incoming US administration.

Written Answers – Foreign and Commonwealth Office: North Korea: Politics and Government (26 Jan 2017)

Hugo Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Japan,
(b) South Korea and (c) China on the political and human rights situation in North Korea.”