Twiss gets his words into a twist – ANOTHER reason we need independent councillors!

This time from the blog of DCC EDA councillor Martin Shaw.

“Conservative County Councillor for Honiton, Phil Twiss told Devon County Council on 4th October that ‘Sonja Manton [Director of Strategy for the Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups] said at the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee the other week that there no plans to close any community hospitals in our area. We were talking about Seaton, Honiton and Axminster at the time.’

I was surprised that he should give us this good news in passing, and that the CCG had made no announcement of something so obviously important. So eventually I watched the webcast of the Health Scrutiny meeting on September 20th. Although Sonja Manton spoke several times, I couldn’t find her saying anything like what Phil said – indeed anything about community hospitals at all.

So I emailed Sonja and she confirms she didn’t speak about the hospitals. As for the issue, all she would say was, ‘I can assure you that our continued focus remains on planning and commissioning services and support to meet the needs of the Devon population in the best possible way. We recognise how strongly communities feel about community hospital buildings and will continue to work with communities and stakeholders to modernise and evolve the way our services are delivered and where they are based to make sure we make best use of all our resources and public estate.‘

So was Sonja more forthcoming at another, presumably private, meeting, Phil? Or was what you said wishful thinking?”

@philtwiss’claim that @SonjaManton said ‘there are no plans to close any community hospitals in our area’, not backed up by @NEWDevonCCG. What’s the explanation, Phil?

Why we need independent councillors

From the blog of Claire Wright. The review would NOT be happening without Claire’s dogged persistence (and similar action by EDA Independent Councillor Martin Shaw. Without them these issues would be kicked into the very, very long grass!

“A Devon wide review of how carers are coping will take place, following my successful proposal at last month’s Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting.

I had been carrying out research into this area since January, when I asked for more information on a scrutiny report, which suggested that carers may be struggling.

I had a meeting with officers and asked for a report of a focus group that was carried out last autumn (2017). …

The results (which I was asked not to publish) were worrying. In almost all areas carers who took part indicated that they were worse off, or saw services being poorer.

What came out strongly to me that the three key areas of health, financial support and respite care, were all deemed as being poorer, according to the carers who took part.

I proposed a review at the June scrutiny committee meeting but chair, Sara Randall Johnson suggested a meeting with Devon Carers staff first, at the Westbank League of Friends. Devon Carers is commissioned to provide support for carers in the Devon County Council area.

This was a useful meeting. What emerged for me, among other issues, was that under the Care Act 2014, the bar has been raised by the government for both financial support and for respite care so it is now harder to access. I am quite certain that this is partly the reason that carers are finding things tougher.

I asked for a further agenda item for the September Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting. I invited two carers who had asked for my help – Maureen Phillips and Mary Hyland, who gave powerful and moving presentations of their experiences of caring. Maureen, for her father and Mary for her partner.

Mary said there is no respite care available. And that overnight she became a carer, she was thrown into it, she knew nothing about it and had to give up her job. She has no support and finds it hard to even leave the house. Previously, she was a very outgoing person, even having her own programme on BBC Radio Devon. She said she was there on behalf of all local carers. Everyone is finding things hard.

The committee was silent.

Maureen said she had been the carer to her father for eight years. Life is exhausting, demanding, frustrating and isolating, she said. Maureen said specialist support workers are required. She said both she and her father need emotional support. She asked who she should turn to when things get tough. There is a shortage of care workers. In the last eight years she had one holiday. She had to take her father with her. Maureen said she had to fight for every bit of support. She has turned to the services of a solicitor in desperation.

When I made the proposal for a spotlight review at the September meeting, it was seconded by the chair and agreed by the committee. I hope to have a date for the first meeting soon.

We need your help! If you would like to take part by giving your story to the spotlight review, please get in touch at claire@claire-wright.org – many thanks

Here’s the webcast: You can see Mary’s and Maureen’s presentation under public participation – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/359701

The agenda item itself is under number 12..”

http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/scrutiny_review_to_take_place_into_how_devon_carers_are_coping

Some better news – reduced winter car parking charges start on 1 November

Winter parking tariff starts this week:

£2 all day in all East Devon car parks compared to £1 per hour summer parking charges. BUT this applies to CASH paying parking only – parking permits and Parkmobile tariffs are NOT included.

No excuses not to do your Christmas shopping in your local East Devon towns.

Richest households to gain 14 times more cash than poor households from budget

“… Despite the chancellor setting out £55bn in spending on Monday, the Resolution Foundation concluded that 84 per cent of the income tax cuts will go to the top half of the income distribution.

“The richest tenth of households are set to gain 14 times as much in cash terms next year from the income tax and benefit giveaways in the Budget as the poorest tenth of households,” its post-Budget report stated.

“Meanwhile, income tax cuts announced yesterday will overwhelmingly benefit richer households, with almost half of the long-term gains going to the top 10 per cent of households.” …

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/budget-2018-philip-hammond-income-tax-cuts-austerity-finance-economy-chancellor-statement-a8608231.html

Get your school toilet rolls here!

Yesterday’s budget promised “a one-off £400m “bonus” to help schools buy “the little extras they need” this year”.

Note that this CANNOT be used for staffing – only one-off purchases (such as toilet rolls which some schools have asked parents for help to buy).

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/school-funding-teachers-parents-national-education-union-neu-austerity-a8282236.html