In any election there are claims and counter claims, innuendo, and falsehoods. It's time to set the record straight.
One irrefutable fact is that Cornwall Lib Dem’s have prudently managed Cornwall’s finances and prevented services being cut over the past 4 years, despite the Tory 71% funding cuts, the assault on NHS and social care budgets by the government, and 6 Tory MP’s failing to stand up for Cornwall.
Of course the Tories will tell you they are the only people who can run things efficiently, but in Cornwall their record is appalling, and after the last Tory administration it was down to us to put things right, so we did.
We hear time and time again “what have you done?”, so here is a short (ish) list of the highlights:
- Toilets kept open (most forget the closures came under the Tory administration)
- Libraries kept open – Tories time and time again attacked the service
- Leisure centres kept open - the previous Tory administration planned to close Camelford Pool before the local community stepped in to save it. They then signed a flawed contract for the other centres that has seen standards drop and little or no investment, with some of the facilities literally falling apart. The new deal, with a new partner, has savings of £3.5m a year and planned investment in the centres to renew them and keep them open.
- Increased kerbside recycling collection
- Fixed the waste collection problems
- Stopped plan to merge Cornwall Fire Service with Devon and Somerset
- Maintained weekly rubbish collection, unlike most of the country, and will continue to do so until at least 2020 under the current contract.
Planning & Housing
- Local plan finished – helping to ensure homes are built where needed, not where developers want to speculate. No one could work out why the Conservatives dragged their heels on it for so long.
- Prevented developers overturning St Ives’ 2nd home controls and residency policy
- Prevented speculative and unwanted housing development, improving the “appeals win” rate from the Tories 60% to over 90%, saving our green spaces and a shed load of council money.
- 3rd highest provider of affordable homes in the UK In 2014/15, providing 1033
- Last year we delivered the highest number of affordable homes in the country – 719
- Have used Council land to build affordable homes – 11 sites across Cornwall – with money re-invested to buy new sites.
- Pledged to build 1,000 fair rent homes for locals
- Identified £34 million of savings in the 17/18 budget, with more to come, while still maintaining services.
- Since 2013 saved £167 million.
- Reduced the council’s net debt by a massive 25% of the total, down £120 million.
- Devolution deal commenced, with Cornwall £4m better off this year as a result of Business Rates remaining here.
- Slashed Tory consultant spend from £12m to £4m
- Prevented the wasteful Tory “Mayor of Cornwall” proposal
- Saved the tax payer £1.67m on the cost of running the airport
- Cancelled the Tory ill-fated and toxic deal with BT to deliver council services
- Ensured Cornwall received £5m from DCLG from the stamp duty on 2nd homes, with more to come.
- Council staff now paid the minimum recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.
- Invested over £700 million in capital projects that bring additional investment, jobs, services, and long term gains to Cornwall.
- Commenced the City of Culture bid with the council underwriting under £170,000 of potential cost, not the Tory reported £500,000 – for the full facts on this go to www.cornwalllibdems.org.uk/cityofculture
NHS & Social Care
- Found ways to keep it running, despite the cuts
- Additional £11m of hard cash for 2017/18 for social care
- Scrutiny of the Tory NHS transformation plan, with the outline business case being thrown out as “not fit for purpose”
Economy & Development
- Continued to invest in economic development projects
- Stopped the Tory plan to halt development funds for :
- Liskeard cattle market development
- St Austell Market House
- Workspace in Penzance (the Place Shaping project)
- Agri-food hub in Bodmin
- An Innovation centre in East Cornwall (£11m economic boost alone)
- Newquay Aerohub / Spaceport development
- Strategic transport links (e.g. A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross and St Austell Link Road)
- Airport “passenger tax” has been scrapped, leading to more airlines returning to the airport and opening up routes to new destinations.
- Provided £10 million in community benefit contributions, funding things like park improvements
- Superfast Broadband rollout
- More beaches designated as bathing waters
- Adopted the first Environmental Growth Strategy of any local authority in the U.K.
- Banned harmful pesticides from council owned open access land
- Created a pollinators action plan to protect bees
- Instigated a balloon release ban
- Cornwall now produces 32% of its electricity from renewable energies
- Investments commenced or budgeted for:
- Smart energy and storage solutions in Indian Queens, Cornwall Airport, Marine Renewable Business Park,
- Marine energy generation in Hayle
- Geothermal heat and power projects in Redruth and St Austell, with a heat only scheme in Newquay and Heat networks in Porthleven, St Just, Camelford, Camborne, Redruth and Pool
- Development of a Low Carbon Heat Enterprise Zone
We also need to present the facts about just how badly Cornwall has done with the Conservatives in central government, and 6 Tory MP’s supposedly representing us.
There has been a 71% cut in central government funding, with Cornwall receiving well below the average of central government funding per head:
- England average per head: £331.51
- London: £510.55
- Other cities: £407.90
- Cornwall: £307.40
We know Conservatives portray themselves as the party of prudent safe financial management, , but the reality is that in Cornwall it is the Lib Dems delivering financial efficiency and improving services.
Don’t be fooled by the Tory claims.
And please don’t let them take back control in Cornwall on May 4th.