Campaign group forces further consideration of “integrated care” in Devon

Save Our Hospital Services scored a major victory today when after its demonstrations (including another one today):

Emails, public speaking and media onslaught led to the DCC Health Scrutiny Committee refusing to agree to the commencement of the secretive and undemocratic imposition of an “Integrated Care System” (accelerating privatisation of health and social care) being forced on the county from 1 April 2018 (probably not coincidentally April Fool’s Day).

Well done SOHS!

BUT remember we are in the national local government election period and it may well be that, once this has passed, the Tory enthusiasts for this privatisation by the back door may well rediscover their taste for it!

Vanity projects and housing: no punches pulled in Cornwall!

22 MAR 2018 — This is not about a Stadium for Cornwall, but about mass housing at Chiverton in the middle of a huge traffic jam.

Council tax payers are already paying some 35% of their taxes to cover interest payments to the banks and a massive pension pot deficit, without subsidising another several million £££ build and running costs for this white elephant.

The whole stadium and conference centre has been poorly costed (£14m?? Really? Add another £20-£30m to that; who’s dubious figures have they used? Have any councillors actually seen the fully costed plans?), whilst the running costs of storing raw sewerage and then transporting this through a busy western corridor into Truro, to Newham, will, with other running costs, mean tax payers are looking at another £10m annual bill – we cannot see Dickie Evans’ Pirates, Truro College, Better or especially not Truro City FC (with its 200 fans), forking out this sort of money to run this poorly planned stadium; so tax payers will pay for the shortfall for another 10 years or more, despite 95% of the population never benefitting from this ludicrous project.

Developers and retailers have already abandoned this “golden opportunity” because of the potential huge costs involved, and Phil Mason has publicly said the Truro western corridor is a “mistake”, whilst Threemilestone, Tregavethan & Penstraze residents are very angry at this smog-induced mess; but somehow, oracle John Betty has it all planned out, and with his magic wand, has convinced many cabinet members that it all adds up…

We ask, adds up for whom? Inox? Patrons at the Chiverton Arms? Or just him and his [] mates? Easy to make promises when you waltz into town on a wage higher than the Prime Ministers’, then disappear into the Bristol fog, but who’s going to foot the bill for all this, now and for years to come? And that’s after another 5.1% Council Tax increase this year alone.

This leads us to think that this part-time council officer is a one-man menace to Cornwall’s residents, worse still than Phil Mason…

Adam Paynter – Leader of the Council – obviously can’t handle the heat, as he’s off skiing in Australia, so will John Betty “convince” his remaining colleagues on Wednesday 28th March that his pet project at Langarth is value for money… for ALL of us? Probably, if we allow it.

(which includes Stadium for Cornwall) 28th March 2018 at 10.0am


To –

Report here: for Cornwall Report.pdf

A reminder about housing stats in Cornwall, to counter some of the nonsense peddled by several officers, and swallowed hook, line and sinker by the more gullible councillor element, ie. Dwelly and Eathorne-Gibbons:

“Cornwall Council has had a cleansing of the database and since 26th February. They now have 6,500 people on the register. They have said:

“We did have 19,000 people on it. As of yesterday (26th Feb), we now have 6,500 people on it. We are expecting the figure to go up, but not to the level it was before. We have carried out a cleansing of the database. We have tidied up the connection criteria and looked at whether to allow people to stay on the database if they’ve turned down housing.”

So who’s the 52,500 new homes for, let alone the additional ones which John Betty and Kate Kennally are trying to tag onto this figure?

Note that the regional inspector, Simon Emerson, who forced through the council’s 47,500 new homes plan (and then added another 5,000 to accommodate second homes), has since retired and is now acting as consultant… to the developers. And so the cycle of moral bankruptcy and [] is complete…

Letter from one Truronian to counter the [comments]Councillor Dwelly seems to have swallowed:

“Dear Mr Dwelly,

Thank you for your reply. I was surprised to learn that the Council has been carrying out “large surveys” of the origin of the residents of new housing, as I have not heard of this research before. I assume that it has not made such evidence public, despite requests by people for evidence to back up assertions that most new housing goes to local residents. I would be very grateful if you could direct me to the evidence of these surveys so that we could evaluate the methodology and better understand whether in-migrants are predominantly buying/renting new or old properties. In the meantime, I remain unconvinced by your statement that 80% of new housing goes to local people. They simply can’t afford most of these properties. With Cornwall’s population increasing by 4 – 5,000 each year, and natural change being negative, that increase has to be from in-migration. Mr Mason tried making similar assertions back in 2015, but was swiftly de-bunked in this piece: The article refers to a study of residents of new estates, carried out in 1987 and conducted by the then County Council and the Districts. It found that 44% of households had moved directly to Cornwall from outside, and another 11% moved to the new properties via a short stay in other rented or owner-occupied housing. Those findings are clearly at odds with the planners’ claims that, these days, only 20% of new housing goes to in-migrants, given that current net in-migration rates are running at a similar level.

As you say, it matters not whether I am an incomer or not, so I am surprised you should raise the subject. And I would be grateful if you would refrain from using the acronym NIMBY. It is emotive, has a sneering tone that is unwelcome in rational debate, and suggests prejudicial stereotyping on your part.

I have heard various figures banded about concerning the amount of developed land, anything between 3% to 12%. In any case, the point is that green fields are being consumed at an alarming rate and being replaced by concrete – Cornwall is being subjected to a creeping urbanisation. Whether viewed from air or land, the cumulative effect of hyper-development is to continue to diminish Cornwall’s rurality and all the special qualities that it comprises. Even the Council’s own reports state that biodiversity is falling as not just housing, but vast industrial estates and roads, chop up the integrity of the countryside. What is very clear from an aeroplane is that Cornwall is a small, finite territory. However, our future is infinite, which is why true sustainability is an issue which desperately needs to be addressed in a serious way.

I would suggest that you are amongst a minority of councillors if you feel that the Local Plan figures are “too low”. What is clear, however, is that you do not value the rural dimension that Cornwall is fast losing and that you have no concerns about the loss of tranquility, ancient fields and woodlands; that you are unconcerned about rising levels of traffic, congestion and air pollution, and about the pervading ugliness of so much development that bears no relation to its surroundings. These are the things that opponents of the Council’s hyper-development culture are so shocked, horrified and angry about. Cornwall has been subjected to excessive development for decades now but that has not solved the housing issues you mention. All that has happened is that the population continues to grow and our precious heritage obliterated in order to feed developer profits. I would suggest that the issue is more one of tenureship and ‘affordability’ rather than actual lack of housing.


Councillor Timothy Dwelly from Breage, who “represents” Penzance East, has yet to respond.

Another councillor was told:
Sent: 15 March 2018 09:19
Subject: Re Stadium for Cornwall to Cabinet on 28 March

Further to our phone call yesterday, I have asked Democratic Services for further information.

They have advised that, until the vote takes place at Cabinet, it cannot be known how the recommendation will be submitted to Council as, at this stage, there is no way of knowing who will vote for, against or abstain. The agenda pack for Cabinet will be published next Tuesday, 20 March 2018, and this will contain the report (with the recommendations) and any supporting appendices.

As for time, this will be down to the Leader, as Chairman of Cabinet, and the Chairman of Council for Full Council. There are no set timings for Cabinet and Full Council agendas.

There will also be an All Member Briefing on 11 April 2018 concerning the Stadium.

I hope that the above is helpful and please let me know if I can be of further help.

Kind regards”

But according to Eathorne-Gibbons, millions of our taxes are very “modest sums”; some might say “it ain’t your money, Eathorne!”




Mrs Harding is the clerk at Kenwyn Parish Council which is the parish most affected by the Langarth lunacy.

Dear Mrs Harding

Thank you for your correspondence.

I do not support your position.

A Stadium for Cornwall will bring considerable benefits to Cornwall.

The sum likely to be involved from Cornwall Council is very modest in relation to the Council’s very favourable financial position which is the result of good and careful management by members and officers.

When the matter comes to Cabinet I shall support it.


Mike Eathorne-Gibbons
Cabinet Member- Customers
Councillor- Ladock, St Clement & St Erme

So much for listening to all the arguments and debates before deciding how to vote on this costly white elephant!!

Why not also write to some of the cabinet members involved, just to remind them which planet they’re living on and whose money they’re playing hard and fast with …”

Our LEP enthuses about one of its big achievements

Millions of pounds given to the LEP, and the best grant story they can come up with is:

If that is the best they can do, their hugely ambitious growth targets are going to be even more difficult than we previously thought.

Swire: Maldives, Saudi Arabia, the Commonwealth – SO,SO busy!

Future of the Commonwealth – [Philip Davies in the Chair] (21 Mar 2018)

Hugo Swire: Does my hon. Friend agree that another reason to be optimistic is that the incoming President of South Africa was a major figure within the Commonwealth family? He believes in the Commonwealth, he gets it, he is coming to London and hopefully he will make South Africa a far bigger player in the Commonwealth family than has hitherto been the case.

Future of the Commonwealth – [Philip Davies in the Chair] (21 Mar 2018)

Hugo Swire: I draw attention to my entry in the Register of Members’
Financial Interests as deputy chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. I want to join in the congratulations to my hon.
Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham). My old friend is a stalwart proponent of all things Commonwealth. It is very good that we have Commonwealth debates from time to time….”

“Councils face ‘almost impossible struggle’ to fund social care””

“Revenue from council tax and business rates in England will not keep pace with a growing social care need – and the funding gap will significantly increase, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned today.

Even if council tax revenues increased by 4.5% a year, adult social care spending is likely to amount to half of all revenue from local taxes by 2035, the IFS has predicted.

There is “no easy way to square the circle”, the think-tank recognised in its report Adult social care funding: a local or national responsibility?, “without backtracking on reforms to local government finance and reintroducing general grant funding”.

Grant funding from government is planned to end by 2020, and councils will be expected to rely on council tax and business rates for most of their revenue.

If councils meet their social care costs through local tax revenues “the amount left over for other services – including children’s services, housing, economic development, bin collection – would fall in real terms (by 0.3% a year, on average)”, the IFS warned in the report, funded by the Health Foundation charity.

One in 10 councils are to see their share of the population aged 75 and over increase by 6 percentage points or more over the next 20 years, the IFS noted.

Potential solutions all have drawbacks, the report suggested.

These include a ring-fenced top-up grant from government but this could lead to councils cutting back on how much of their own money is allocated to these services.

If government fully funded social care, this would “remove over one-third of what councils currently spend from local control, reducing residents’ say in local spending decisions”, the report stated.

Polly Simpson, research economist at the IFS, said: “The government has to decide whether it thinks adult social care is ultimately a local responsibility, where councils can offer different levels of service, or a national responsibility with common standards across England.

“If it opts for the latter, it cannot expect a consistent service to be funded by councils’ revenues, which are increasingly linked to local capacity to generate council tax and business rates revenues.”

David Phillips, associate director at IFS, suggested the government could “decide to keep and, over time, increase the general grant funding for councils that it currently plans to abolish in 2020”.

He added: “More radically, it could devolve revenues from other more buoyant taxes, such as income tax, to councils to help fund local services.” …

Hunt fires warning shots about social care

“Jeremy Hunt has promised an upcoming green paper will “jump start” a debate with the public about how social care should be funded in the future.

Speaking to an audience of social care workers on Tuesday, the health secretary recognised the “economics of the publicly funded social care market are highly fragile” and said care models needed to “transform and evolve”.

He said: “We will therefore look at how the government can prime innovation in the market, develop the evidence for new models and services, and encourage new models of care provision to expand at scale.”

Hunt outlined seven key principles the government is considering as it draws up its social care green paper, due to be released before the summer.

He added: “We must make sure there is a long-term financially sustainable approach to funding the whole system.”

He added that this would “take time” but “must not be an excuse to put off necessary reforms”.

“Nor must it delay the debate we need to have with the public about where the funding for social care in the future should come from – so the green paper will jump-start that debate,” Hunt promised.

He also said he would look at making paying for social care fairer and less dependent on the “lottery of which illness” a person gets.

He explained the green paper would look at giving people greater control over the care they received, announcing he would consult on personal health budgets. …”

“Manchester council to publish files used to bypass affordable housing quotas”

“Manchester city council has voted to make public the secret documents used by developers to bypass affordable housing quotas.

Analysis by the Guardian earlier this month showed that developers behind almost 15,000 new homes given the green light by the council’s planning committee in the past two years all managed to avoid including any affordable housing in their developments.

In many cases, developers submitted confidential viability assessments to successfully argue that their projects would not go ahead if they were to offer even one flat for affordable rent or sale. Just 65 of the 14,667 units analysed by the Guardian made any concessions to affordability, being pitched as shared ownership properties.

Over the past year councillors on Manchester city council’s planning committee have become increasingly frustrated that they are being asked to approve huge new developments – some containing 1,500 market-rate, luxury apartments – without being able to scrutinise the viability assessments.

‘We said it wasn’t acceptable’: how Bristol is standing up to developers
On Wednesday councillors voted to require viability assessments for developments of more than 15 units where less than 20% of the development is affordable housing as part of the planning process and for these to be public.

After the unanimous vote, all information submitted for the documents (including commercially sensitive information) will also now be made available to members of the planning committee and other relevant members of the council in advance of determination of the planning decision.

The motion read: “This council notes that developers have often used viability assessments to avoid their obligations to provide affordable housing and where this happens, it can damage public confidence in the planning process. Labour councils in Greenwich, Bristol and Lambeth have improved transparency by making their viability assessments public. “This council believes that the developers who make money from building in our city have an obligation to make a fair contribution to providing affordable housing.”

Last November Bristol became the latest city to force developers to be transparent by publishing viability assessments. Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, believes that it sends a signal to developers: “We’re a great city to do business in – but we want the right kind of money.”

DEFRA not fit for purpose on countryside policies and issues

“The UK government is failing rural communities and the natural environment, a report says.

The Lords Select Committee document says there should be radical change in how the countryside is looked after.

It recommends stripping the environment department Defra of its power to regulate on rural affairs, and reforming the Countryside Code.
The Lords said Defra had focused too much on farming and agriculture, rather than other aspects of rural life.

The report describes a “consistent failure, over a number of years, to prioritise the ‘rural affairs’ element” of the remit of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

All this, it says, has had a “profound negative impact … to the cost of us all”.

The Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 recommends that responsibility for rural affairs should transfer to the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government.

According to the report, the body responsible for conserving the natural environment and promoting public access to the land, Natural England (NE), has been “hollowed out” and is now largely ineffective.

The report’s chairman, Lord Cameron of Dillington, said: “The last major research was done by the Commission for Social Mobility last year, and it said some of the worst spots for deprivation and intergenerational poverty exists in rural England.

“That it’s as bad as if not worse than our inner cities. We feel they have been neglected by government, that Defra is not doing a good job and that changes need to be made.”

Budgets slashed

Severe budget cuts and the abolition of the Rural Communities Policy Unit means that NE no longer has the budget or power to effectively and independently regulate government policy. It also means that not enough is being done to promote responsible access to the countryside.
Taking advice from the National Farmers Union, it says that the Countryside Code should be re-launched, so more people are aware of how to properly enjoy rural areas. …”

So, what difference has our Police and Crime Commissioner made to policing in Devon?

“Devon and Cornwall Police needs to improve at keeping people safe and reducing crime, an official watchdog has ruled.

The force was given the rating of ‘requires improvement’ in its annual report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

In particular, it received poor grades in two key areas – investigating crime and preventing reoffending and protecting vulnerable people.

The findings come with inspectors raising “major concerns” over the stress police forces across the country are under, with “cracks beginning to show” due to budget cuts.

For 2017, Devon and Cornwall Police received a ‘good’ grade for tackling serious and organised crime, and for preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.

But it received a ‘requires improvement’ grade for both investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people.

That meant the force received an overall grade of ‘requires improvement’ this year.

The report showed that recorded crime in Devon and Cornwall was up 17 per cent for the 12 months to June 2017 compared with the 12 months to June 2016.

This is compared to a national rise of 14 per cent.

Although Devon and Cornwall Police was seen to have made progress in some areas since 2016, its performance in other areas has deteriorated.

Inspectors found that the force needs to provide better support to officers and staff investigating crimes with vulnerable victims.

It also needs to improve its understanding of the way it protects some victims of domestic abuse.

Similarly, the force requires improvement in some aspects of investigating crime and reducing re-offending, as while victims generally receive a good service, rising demand has undermined the quality of some subsequent investigations. …

In total, 12 of the 43 police forces are considered to require improvement overall – including Devon and Cornwall – although none were seen to be inadequate. …

Performance is still below standard in nearly half of all forces. …”