Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Road closures in Launceston

Blindhole and Market Street will be closed from October 20 to November 7 while South West Water carries out repairs.

Carboth Lane will be shut from October 13 to 17. If you have any questions or concerns please call 0844 3462020.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Cornwall Conservatives go AWOL on the budget (again)

Cornwall Council is currently deciding on its budget for the next four years. The council needs to save £196 million and the authority cannot look the same again. It is, without doubt, the biggest challenge that has faced the council since it was founded in 2009.

We are determined to make sure that everyone has their chance to comment on the budget proposals and we are genuinely listening to the views that people express. So on Wednesday we start a series of 19 public meetings, we meet tomorrow with the partners we do business with and we are holding meetings with individual groups to discuss the areas of the budget proposals that affect them. We are also engaging online and meeting with staff.

But the biggest say on the budget goes to the elected members of the council. There are 123 councillors who will take the ultimate decision on the budget decision. They have the right to propose amendments, to accept or to reject it.

You might think therefore that budget is a vaguely important part of what the council is all about and that councillors might have turned up to have their say or just to listen and understand.

There have been 10 portfolio advisory committee (PAC) meetings to discuss the budget and a further discussion as part of the full council meeting. (There have also been other informal meetings but some members have made clear they don't agree with having any sort of informal meeting and they boycott them.)

But despite styling themselves the official opposition on the council, the Conservatives continue to absent themselves from most budget debates in stark contrast to Lib Dems, Independents, Labour, MK and even UKIP.

During the full council discussion of the budget last Tuesday, only 11 (out of 30) Conservatives were present and only two spoke.

Across all ten of the PAC meetings, only 12 individual Conservatives attended any meetings. There were three PAC meetings with no Conservative voting members of the committee present at all and one other where the only Conservative present left halfway.

So do the Conservatives care about the budget decisions facing Cornwall Council? And how do they think they are representing their voters by failing to turn up?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Council budget webchat - UPDATED

This lunchtime I took part in an online discussion about the council's proposed budget for the next four years. We brought together a wide variety of social media and integrated them to make a pretty fantastic platform to engage with residents and got a great response.

Here's the geeky bit.

The platforms we used were the usual suspects - facebook, twitter and youtube - but also Cover It Live, a discussion platform we use alongside our webcasting which allows people to comment on the proceedings.

Thanks to the great work of our comms team, we got these all together in one place so that comments posted from a variety of platforms could be brought together in a single stream. We answered with live text and with seven short videos that we had prepared in advance to act as introduction, wrap up and to cover five of the most frequently asked questions.

The event ran for two hours and we plugged it via social media beforehand. We also got some support from Radio Cornwall who interviewed me this morning about the consultation and mentioned it on air when it started.

We got enough questions to fill the full two hours. I may not be the fastest typist, but I'm also not the slowest and I don't think I paused for the entire 120 minutes.

The live stream has been saved and archived and is available here.

To any council or elected politician wanting to consult with people, I would thoroughly recommend this sort of event. Of course, it is only a way of communicating with people who have internet access at the time you are live. It doesn't replace what a face to face session can do (and the council is hosting 19 such events across Cornwall starting next Wednesday) but it did reach out to many people who might be concerned but not worried enough to come along to an event in person.

Hopefully, I can persuade our excellent comms person who pulled it all together to write a blog with more of the technical details and I'll add a link if he does.

UPDATE - Here's a blog written by the guy who put the event together (and knows what he is talking about).

Scott Mann's cut'n'paste survey fail

Yesterday the Conservatives were embarrassed when their Police commissioner's public consultation event attracted just one person and Cornwall's Tory leader walked out of a discussion on the future of local library and leisure services. Today another example emerges of Conservative inability to engage on serious issues.

North Cornwall candidate Scott Mann has sent out a survey to some local residents cut and pasted from a national template. In among the misleading propaganda and spin comes this:



Clearly Scott believes that no one could possibly think that more clinics might be needed at Bodmin hospital.

But that's not the worst of it. He couldn't even think of a question about the economy locally.


At least our hard working local MP Dan Rogerson is on the case. Thanks to the hard work that he and other Lib Dems have put in, there are hundreds more apprentices in North Cornwall and thousands of workers have enjoyed an £800 per year tax cut.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Police Commissioner's public engagement session attracts just one person

Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner Tony Hogg today held the first of what he promised would be regular open meetings of his 'Accountability Board'. His promise was to use it to hold the chief constable to account. He had arranged a webcast from Devon County Council chamber and had fourteen police officers and staff lined up. The only trouble was that only one member of the public came along.

I don't think we should criticise Mr Hogg for his ambition - but it is clearly more than a little embarrassing to get so little response.

The public still see crime and anti-social behaviour as important issues. But I don't think they trust the institution of police and crime commissioners to hold the police to account on their behalf. Just look at the terrible turnout in PCC elections. Add in that a number of office holders have made the news for all the wrong reasons and it adds up to a failed institution.

It's surely time to write off PCCs as a failure and scrap the post. Lib Dems (and now Labour) have both committed to doing so.

Conservative empty chairs during Cornwall's crucial budget debates

Various Conservatives in Cornwall have been in the media making loud noises about draft budget proposals affecting libraries and leisure centres. But when push comes to shove, they don't even turn up to the debates that matter.

North Cornwall candidate (and councillor) Scott Mann invited a cabinet minister to visit a leisure centre last week on the pretence that its future is under threat. He promised to do something about it. (In fact there are no proposals to close leisure centres).

Today, the council committee tasked with examining the proposed leisure budget and service changes discussed the proposals and Scott Mann was conspicuous by his absence. In fact, no Conservative had anything to say on the subject.

Another senior Conservative, current group leader Cllr Fiona Ferguson, is a member of the committee that met today. She has also complained outside the council about proposals affecting libraries and leisure centres. Yet she walked out before the debate on libraries and leisure centres started, leaving an empty chair.

Although the council is committed to listening to every point of view and we have the widest ever consultation taking place, there is no doubt that councillors have a privileged position in this debate. When it comes to the budget discussions, councillors can propose alternatives and require a vote. But the Conservatives seem to have forgotten this. They seem happy to spout off in the press whilst refusing to use their chances to actually do something about it.

Nobody thinks that the current budget proposals are ideal. None of us got elected wanting to make front line service cuts. But we have to meet the £196 million target by the end of 2018/19. The proposals that have been put forward are just that - proposals. We want to hear alternatives - even if we end up disagreeing with them. The Conservatives are the self-styled opposition on Cornwall Council, yet they are refusing to put forward any alternatives. I think they are letting down their voters and, indeed, the wider population of Cornwall.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

North Cornwall Conservative campaigns for more politicians and bureaucracy

Whilst his colleague in Truro is railing against a Cornish Assembly because she says it will mean another layer of bureaucracy and elected politicians (it needn't), North Cornwall Conservative candidate Scott Mann is campaigning for, er, another layer of bureaucracy and elected politicians.

At today's full council meeting, Cllr Mann said he wanted to create a new tier of councils below Cornwall Council - something akin to the former district councils. But he forgets that the switch to unitary is widely credited with helping to save £170m by abolishing administration, bureaucracy and hundreds of councillors. Dozens of highly paid council chiefs were also abolished.

If Cllr Mann's idea was taken up then money would have to be diverted from libraries, leisure centres and caring for vulnerable people in order to pay for more bureaucracy.

Lib Dem policy of free school meals creates 76 new jobs

At the start of the new school year all infants at school in Cornwall (and throughout England) became eligible for free meals at lunchtime as a result of an intiative promoted by the Liberal Democrats.

As well as the obvious benefits for local families, often struggling to put nutritious food on the table, one other benefit has been to create 76 new jobs for staff to cook and serve those meals. That's just within the Cornwall Council maintained schools. Academies and free schools are also required to provide free meals for infants and their staffing arrangements are a matter for their governors, but there will have been new jobs created there as well.

Obviously the new scheme required new investment and the schools themselves stepped up to the mark to help pay for re-fitting kitchens where work was needed. At the start of the autumn term there were a few schools where some work was still taking place but all schools will be meeting this policy fully by the end of half term.



Monday, 22 September 2014

Cameron's devolution lunch - no mention of Cornwall

Prime Minister David Cameron today held a lunch at his official residence Chequers to discuss a Conservative Party reaction to the vote in Scotland to remain part of the UK. Devolution was top of the agenda but it seems that Cornwall was not mentioned.

In the last few days of the Scottish referendum campaign, the three main party leaders made a pledge about delivering further powers to the Scottish Parliament. Now the parties need to live up to their promises.

But many backbench Tory MPs are concerned that they did not agree to the pledge and want action to address the problem of Scottish MPs being able to vote on English laws, but not vice versa. Hence the lunch at Cameron's 16th century mansion.

Sadly, according to the list of attendees given by Conservative Home, there wasn't a single voice from Cornwall present. It seems that the Conservative debate on devolution will start and end with an English Parliament and will not consider wider issues such as greater powers for cities, counties or regions such as Cornwall.

Friday, 19 September 2014

What services should be devolved to Cornwall?

Last night Scotland voted to remain part of the UK. As I've blogged before, the time is right that we should consider what powers, rights and responsibilities should be devolved to Cornwall.

I'd be grateful to hear from as many people as possible - particularly those in Cornwall - as to what  you think is the right balance. I've created a short survey which takes a couple of minutes to fill in.

You can find that survey here.

Monday, 15 September 2014

BT Cornwall creating 50 new jobs at Bodmin Beacon offices

BT Cornwall have announced today that they will be creating 50 new jobs at the council's new Bodmin Beacon offices. The offices themselves will save money for the council to help protect front line services.

The new offices will have 625 desks and most of them will be filled from staff already based in Bodmin in various buildings. We need to get out of these because they are old, inefficient and expensive. If our staff move out then we can save money by selling off the old buildings or giving up the leases where they are rented. Depending on the prices we get when we sell them, the new building costs will be made back in about four years. It's a good investment which will save money.

There will be a few staff moving from St Austell and Liskeard, but our overall commitment to a significant presence in these towns remains and this small change has been known about from the start. Similarly, staff will be moving from their base at Higher Trenant in Wadebridge as Cormac take over this building.

But as well as saving money, our aim has always been to use the new building to work more closely with partner organisations and to bring new jobs to Cornwall. So BT Cornwall's commitment to base their tele-health and tele-care work at Beacon and to create 50 new jobs is very good news. Today the Chief Executive of BT Cornwall, Chris Leggett, described Cornwall Council as good people to do business with.

Other space in Beacon will be taken by Cornwall Housing* and by Cornwall Adult Education Service. Both of these are arms length companies delivering services for the council.

It's worth pointing out that the Conservatives - including their parliamentary candidate for North Cornwall - have consistently said that this investment was a bad idea. They refuse to say what services they would have cut instead and have refused to say what plans they have to bring new jobs to Bodmin or anywhere else in North Cornwall.

*Cornwall Housing will be confirming their decision on taking space at their board meeting later this month following approval at a finance committee and previous board meeting.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Devolution discussion on Sunday Politics - UPDATED

I was on the Sunday Politics South West this morning talking about the prospects of devolution to Cornwall. The debate was sparked by the independence referendum in Scotland. Whether it is yes or no, there will be fundamental changes in the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK and many believe it is right that we should examine what is best for each constituent region and nation. So what will it mean for Cornwall?

The Liberal Democrats have announced that we will be fighting the next general election on a pledge to devolve powers from Westminster including the establishment of a Cornish Assembly. We believe in devolution on demand and recognise that what is right for one area may not be right for another. Just as when the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly were set up they had different powers, so we believe that what is right for Cornwall may not be right for Yorkshire or Dorset (or Wales or Scotland). Cornwall should not be held back by a 'one size fits all' policy.

The discussion about exactly what powers a Cornish Assembly should have and what should fit around it is still to be had. My belief is that the current Cornwall Council should take on more powers and become the assembly. I don't see the need for the creation of a new tier of councils below the assembly. More powers and responsibilities could be given to beefed up town and parish councils to fulfil the role.

So what do the other parties think?

The Conservatives do not seem to support any further systematic devolution to Cornwall. On the programme today, local MP and Minister George Eustice said that the reason so many powers (like the frequency of bin collections) are kept in the hands of Eric Pickles and other ministers was that local people have the right to expect a certain level of service. In other words, that local councils cannot be trusted to do the best for their residents and that a minister in London can.

Labour's shadow local government secretary Hilary Benn wrote to Cornwall Council recently offering further powers but making clear that these will only be given to authorities that join together. So we could only expect more power for a South West region (or maybe Devonwall).

UPDATE: Labour's Candy Atherton has told the Western Morning News:
"We are the first political party to say we don’t believe in Assembly"

So of the three parties with any hope of winning seats in Cornwall at the general election next May, only the Liberal Democrats are pledging to introduce proper devolution and a Cornish Assembly. More votes for the Lib Dems and more Lib Dem MPs will give a stronger hand to our negotiations with other parties in the event of a hung parliament to make our vision happen. Neither Labour nor Conservatives governing on their own will give Cornwall the freedom to make decisions for itself.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Young people need proper representation and more say over local EU programmes

Cornwall Council’s cabinet has urged the new bodies responsible for delivering local EU programmes to make sure they have proper representation from young people. They have also been urged to make the needs of young people are reflected in the schemes they support.

As part of the new round of EU structural funding, Cornwall will be setting up a new system of Local Action Groups (LAGS) to deliver a strand known as community led local development. These four LAGs will be overseeing 5% of the EU funding - some £24 million or more over the course of the scheme.

The good news is that the new LAGs will cover the whole of Cornwall rather than just bits of it. And the LAGs will be run by new boards made up of a mix of local town, parish and Cornwall councillors, representatives of the community and voluntary sector and of local businesses. One of the key aims is to make sure that these boards are truly representative.

Sadly, to date the boards are significantly lacking in young people. Yesterday the cabinet agreed that Cornwall Council should take on the role of 'accountable body' for the new LAGS to support their work. But we said that the LAGS should make it a key priority to do more to become properly representative. And we said that having proper representation from young people is urgent. We also need to ensure that the schemes that are supported by the LAGs include those which will benefit young people.

Local parents concern over pupil transport to Callington

A number of local parents have expressed concern over the difficulties facing Launceston-based pupils attending Callington College. One parent has found that a season ticket they bought is for a bus that no longer exists and others have complained about the unreliability of some of the remaining services.

For a variety of reasons, some parents choose to send their children to Callington College. In cases where this is a matter of parental choice (rather than because there is no place available at a more local school) then the council is not responsible for home to school transport.

In the case of getting to Callington, there are local bus services which are run by both First Group and Western Greyhound - the 76 and the 576 respectively. They run at various times through the day and enable pupils to get to and from school. However, First have withdrawn the return service that left immediately after school and pupils therefore have to wait for an hour or so before they can start their journey home.

One parent had bought a season ticket for their child from First Group in the expectation of being able to use the service which has now been withdrawn. I trust that First will be making a refund of the full price of the season ticket and the council will be supporting the parent on this.

The other principle concern is over the reliability of the Western Greyhound service. I am told that there are many occasions when the bus terminates at Westgate Street rather than continuing to St Stephens and beyond. As a result, children have to walk to final mile home. There are also issues with buses arriving on time or being cancelled altogether.

As the route between Launceston and Callington is not a subsidised route, there is little that the council can do to enforce the reliability of the service. But I am asking officers to get in touch with Western Greyhound to make sure that pupils and other passengers are getting the service that they pay for and aren't kicked off the bus early or left hanging around hoping that the bus will arrive.

Cornwall Council adopts a 'more local' approach to council housing

Cornwall Council is moving to a new housing register which will give greater priority to local people. Applicants to join the housing register will need to show a three year residential qualification and the council is seeking advice on whether this can be increased to five.

Delivering homes to meet the needs of local people is a key priority for the Council. We want to tighten up our allocations policy to try and meet the urgent need of our communities and the changes agreed will assist Cornwall Council and Cornwall Housing Ltd to better manage the housing waiting list and ensure that homes are allocated fairly to those in greatest need.
 
The cabinet also decided to impose an upper earnings and savings limit on those wanting to join the housing register. Anyone with a household income of more than £60,000 or savings above £50,000 will be excluded and, when it comes to allocating a house, preference will be given to those with a household income of less than £30,000. That's important because we should be working to help the poorest families get into adequate housing. Although those on higher incomes may not be 'well off', they are better able to be able to afford to rent privately or to think about buying than those on much lower incomes.
 
Finally, the council has decided that anyone who has been judged guilty of anti-social behaviour in relation to a tenancy in the past two years will not be eligible to be on the housing register.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Hallam come back for more on Upper Chapel

Hallam Land Management, the developers who won permission to build 100 new homes on land north of Upper Chapel in Launceston, have submitted an application to increase the number of houses to 140.

The original application was resisted by both the town council and Cornwall Council as it ran contrary to the town framework plan - the plan developed in conjunction with the local community to set constraints on the building of new homes and new infrastructure over the next 20 years.

However, despite being rejected unanimously by both the town council and Cornwall Council planning committees, Hallam appealed and permission was granted by the government appointed inspector.

This news will come as a bitter blow to the residents of Launceston. We fought the original application because we know it is wrong for our town. We are grateful for the effort that both the town council and Cornwall Council put into the battle to stop a development which will create significant highways problems.

Now we find this was merely a trojan horse as the developers want permission to pack even more homes onto the same space. Just as the first proposal was wrong, this one is too and we will continue to battle against it.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Lib Dem Andrew George wins vote to reform Bedroom Tax

Cornish Lib Dem MP Andrew George today saw his Bill to reform the bedroom tax passed in the House of Commons. Andrew was first out of the hat in the annual ballot to select backbench MPs to promote changes to the law and he chose reform various welfare provisions including the bedroom tax.

The bedroom tax is the name given to the penalty imposed on people in receipt of housing benefit but who have more bedrooms than they need. Andrew's proposal will see a halt to penalties being imposed on those who cannot find a smaller property and those who have had significant adaptations to their home to help with disabilities.

The problem faced by many people in Cornwall is that there are simply not enough properties for people hit by the bedroom tax to move into. Most of my constituents who are affected tell me that they would move if a suitable home was available. Others have had adaptions, often costing tens of thousands of pounds, made to their current home. These would have to be made again if they moved.

In the vote today, Liberal Democrats were supported by Labour MPs. North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson joined Andrew George in voting to reform the bedroom tax. The third Lib Dem MP in Cornwall - Steve Gilbert - is away on Parliamentary business. The Conservatives voted against the Bill and two Cornish Conservatives - Sarah Newton and Sheryll Murray - also spoke against reform. Throughout proceedings, Conservative MPs tried all sorts of underhand tactics to avoid a vote including at one point asking for the House of Commons to sit in secret.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Carboth Lane road closure

South West Water are going to be carrying out sewer works in Carboth Lane which will require the closure of the road from October 13th to 17th.

I have asked that the suggested diversion does not encourage drivers to make the very sharp turn into Western Terrace when travelling north on Western Road (ie into town) or to turn from Western Terrace to go south on Western Road (ie towards the Pennygillam roundabout). Such manoeuvres are dangerous and cause delays.

If you have any questions, please contact South West Water on 0844 346 2020.

Should Police and Crime Commissioners be abolished?

My colleague Sue James has set up a petition to start a debate on the potential abolition of the post of Police and Crime Commissioner.

Sue says:

"I have no personal gripes with any particular Police and Crime Commissioners. I feel they have been given a role that the public do not want a single elected person to have, no matter what their political persuasion. I also believe that even if you believe in the purpose of the role, it would be impossible for even the most brilliant of people to carry out, when you think of the size of the electorate they are supposed to represent and the challenges facing police services up and down the land. The cost of the elections, the low turn outs and the cost of the offices Police and Crime Commissioners are feeling they need all needs a further review before we ask everyone to go to the polls again."

You can view Sue's e-petition at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68799

Monday, 1 September 2014

Cornwall Council sets out draft budget proposals

Cornwall Council has today published its proposals for saving £196m over the next four years and is asking members of the public, partner organisations and staff to give their views on the draft budget and come forward with any other ideas for saving money.

The Council's aim is to strengthen its partnerships with the rest of the public and community sector in order to make as many savings as possible without cuts to frontline services. The authority is seeking to devolve at least £34m of services to town and parish councils and to work on integrating services currently run by government departments, the NHS, voluntary and community sectors and Cornwall Council.

The unprecedented scale of the savings required means that all areas of the Council are affected by the draft proposals.  However, rather than simply ‘salami slice’ every service, the authority has developed a four year plan which will help protect the three key priority areas identified by the public and Members during last year’s budget consultation.  These are services for the most vulnerable in society (including vulnerable adults, children, older people and the poorest), public transport, and road repairs and maintenance.

We are determined to focus on what Cornwall will be like in 2019, rather than what we need to cut. Budgetary constraints and the changing nature of Local Government require a different approach and, as we said last year, we want to build a resilient and sustainable Cornwall and not simply reduce the services we provide.

To this end we have worked with Councillors, officers and partners to develop this budget, the Council’s strategy which underpins it, and a Business Plan which will implement it.  Our commitment is to create a leaner, more resourceful organisation that delivers essential council services in the most efficient and effective way. This also means having the courage to make some extremely difficult decisions.

At the same time we have been pressing the Government to change the way local government is funded to give Cornwall a fairer share of the money it allocates to councils to provide services.  We currently receive less than half the money per head of population than that given to Hackney and if we were funded in the same way as an average urban council we would receive an additional £48m a year. We are continuing to have discussions with Ministers over the need to recognise the cost of providing services to people in Cornwall and have recently sent a submission to the Independent Commission set up to look at this issue setting out how we think the system should be reformed.

Over the past few months we have looked closely at everything we do to see how we can protect services by becoming more efficient and changing the way the Council is run.  We started with the money we spend on ourselves and have already identified more than £30 million of savings through a radical restructure of senior management, reducing the use of consultants and agency staff by 59%, and a local pay agreement with staff. This work is continuing, with further savings due to come from ongoing restructuring and the sale of surplus buildings, but the sheer scale of the savings we need to make means we cannot rely on these actions alone.

We are looking to work much more closely with the rest of the public sector and the voluntary and community sector. We will be seeking to integrate our services and to share support functions and buildings wherever possible. But we know that front line services will also be hit and so we have worked with elected members, with partners and with the public to understand where they feel savings can be made and which services should be protected.

However we are also looking to the future and to developing the skills, jobs and infrastructure that Cornwall needs. We persuaded the Government to allow decisions on spending our European funding to be made in Cornwall, and we have seen significant Government investment in our rail, air and road links. We are also investing £50 million in match funding for the next round of the EU convergence programme.

The draft budget proposals include some things which we would want to do regardless of the need to make savings. These include further reducing the number of buildings and working more closely with partners to share costs. Others are savings we would prefer not to have to make and which we know will have a significant impact on the people who use these services. But, faced with the need to save £196m from our budget, we have very little choice.

However even implementing all these proposals will still leave us with a £6 million shortfall and this figure could rise depending on Government funding decisions. We have already ruled out a number of options as unacceptable in the current circumstances and, rather than have to revisit them in the future, are asking people to come forward with any ideas on areas for savings we might have missed or where we could go further than we are currently suggesting.

The draft budget proposals are based around four key areas:
  • Working with staff to reduce the pay bill – including further restructuring and the transfer of staff to new models of delivery and arm’s length companies
  • New models of delivery – including integrating health and social care services; devolving further services to town and parish councils and community and voluntary groups (eg libraries); creating trusts and partnerships to deliver services such as culture and tourism, and seeking external partners for services such as parking.
  • Management improvements – including delivering more services digitally and through the website; reducing administrative costs in areas such as IT and postage; more effective procurement and contract management and sharing buildings with partners and community groups;
  • Increasing income – taking a more commercial approach in areas such as public protection, licensing, planning, and waste.
We recognise that many people will be concerned at the impact of some of these proposals but the stark truth is we cannot protect services and save £196m by continuing in the same way. We have to become more efficient and change the way we run the Council. By doing this we can support key services for vulnerable children and adults, and help people who are struggling to make ends meet by maintaining council tax support.   We will also be supporting the bus network and continuing to fix potholes and maintain our roads.

We now want to hear the views of people in Cornwall on these proposals. We are holding 20 public meetings during October  so people can give us their views on the proposals and any new ideas.

Following today’s publication of the draft budget, the proposals will be considered in detail by the Council’s Portfolio Advisory Committees during September.

As well as the public meetings in October there is also an online form on the website where people can give their views and make any suggestions. - www.cornwall.gov.uk/cornwallbudget . This consultation will close on 29 October.

All the comments and suggestions made by members of the public and partners will then be used to produce a revised draft which will be discussed by the Cabinet on 5 November and then the full Council on 22 November when the final decision will be made.

UPDATE - Here is what the Western Morning News said in their editorial about the budget proposals.