Monday, 3 June 2013

The aims and ambitions of the new council

Today we published the aims and ambitions of the new Cornwall Council administration. This is the joint plan of the two groups that have formed the cabinet - the Liberal Democrats and Independents.

It is a document which is deliberately not too detailed. Those details are for all councillors to decide. But we wanted to set out the framework of our ambitions and our philosophy, to highlight some of the key concerns and to give reassurance as to our determination to limit the effect of cuts on the core services on which the people of Cornwall depend.

This is what we have said. I'd be keen to hear what readers think.

This administration will work to establish a positive, forward thinking Council, representing the whole of Cornwall. This will be a four year partnership with a ‘review’ after the first two years. We will work with our MPs to lobby government for a fair deal from Government and plan for the four year period, develop policies that reflect the future  needs of Cornwall within the current financial and political constraints – these will be based on the following:

A ‘can do’ positive and responsive approach.

A ‘lean’ council focusing on providing value for money, cutting wasteful spending and delivering the most efficient service. We will review the use of consultants.

We will develop, enhance and improve the Council’s relationships with our partners, the Parishes and Towns and the public. 

We have a responsibility to deliver services but need to be clear what can and cannot be sustained; budget appropriately; establish what we must protect, what needs to be devolved and what may need to be sacrificed. A vision for Cornwall over the next four years will be the basis of all our work. We need to build the future, not reluctantly surrender the status quo in the light of government cuts and a shortage of funding.

Our environment is fundamentally important, the public demand clean beaches, accessible countryside, community services such as libraries, a safe and protected environment and good roads and transport. We must deliver.

A sustainable economy: the key to the future. We will invest in Cornwall, fight for Cornish jobs and business and use European funding effectively and strategically. 

Economic development and regeneration will be a priority. We recognise the crucial role the EU plays in Cornwall’s economic development and will engage fully to seek benefit for all.

Protect the vulnerable. Some health services, social care and services for the elderly, children and those with disabilities are under constant threat. This creates negativity which we must overcome. 

We will endeavour to support young people into the world of work through learning, training and apprenticeship and address the issue of affordable transport. 

Homes. An area of great concern to all. We need to build more Council Houses for local needs, use available funds to support affordable housing and sustainable development.

Planning. Clear policies, a consistent approach, straightforward procedures and real consultation could create a stronger, less contentious planning process that everyone understands.

Transport. Access for all to the best transport network that helps residents become less reliant on their cars. We will make repairing our roads a priority.

The Green Agenda – we will promote sustainable, renewable energy production, support other sources of non-fossil fuel energy and protect our environment throughout.

Heritage, Tourism, Culture and the unique aspects of Cornwall will be protected, enhanced and used to maximum economic effect.

We will encourage communities to grow, develop and become more self-sufficient.

Cornwall Council needs to create a ‘will’ to support Towns and Parishes, devolve resources as well as responsibilities and create strong, resilient and sustainable communities.

We will pursue policies base on social justice, equality, working together and fighting for the needs of Cornwall. This must be underpinned by a fair and realistic budget.

We do not set out any aims or constraints or support any national policy at this stage – we will look at the figures, cost the vision, work from the starting point of what is possible and acceptable to Cornish tax payers and move forward on that basis. We believe there are benefits from bringing Health and Social Care together. Car Parking charges have been a contentious issue but are an example of budget contributions limiting the flexibility that communities can employ. This must be reviewed.

Cuts, diminishing services, fewer resources, constant restructuring in the light of the financial situation and Government priorities have been the watchwords in recent months. We will fight for fairer funding, bring as much investment into the area as we can and build the best, most inclusive, vibrant and successful Cornwall possible.


Mick said...


Why is there no mention of protecting and assisting people re the various welfare reform changes (vested interest as i am impacted).

I have received excellent assistance from the call centre and benefits team but am surprised to see none of this in you priorities??

Alex Folkes said...

Hi Mick
We are certainly going to look at the impact of the various welfare changes on local residents. We don't have control over most of those changes, of course, but we can look at how we manage benefits and so on to ensure that the negative impact is lessened wherever possible.
But the first stage is a better understanding of what is happening on the ground. As part of this, the new Chairman and Vice Chairman of the council are going on a whistlestop tour of all the One Stop Shops in Cornwall over June to talk to our residents. The new Vice Chairman, Ann Kerridge, will be at the Launceston OSS at 11am on the 17th June and keen to talk to anyone.

Mick said...


Thanks for responding, that sounds like a great initiative, are all of their visits being advertised so people can attend?

Alex Folkes said...

They should be. There is a list somewhere on the council website as well