Rubbish and recycling collections over the Christmas period

It is that time of the year when people ask: will there be any changes to my weekly and fortnightly rubbish/recycling collections? The good news is unless your collection for either rubbish, clinical waste, recycling or garden waste collections falls on Boxing Day, then there will be no change to your collection. As Boxing Day (Monday 26 December) is the only collection day that is affected over Christmas and New Year.

Now if your collection would have been on Boxing Day, then your rubbish and clinical waste due to be collected on Boxing Day will be collected on Monday 2nd January. If your recycling or garden waste collection waste is due on Boxing Day (Monday 26 December) it will be collected on Saturday 31st December .

Date Rubbish and Clinical Recycling or Garden
Boxing Day

Monday 26 December

No collection

Next collection on Monday 2 January.

No collection

Next collection on Saturday 31 December

For anyone wanting to use the Household Waste and Recycling Centres, these will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The people at these centres need a day off too!

The Council will still collection you Christmas Tree for free, and yes it only applies to Christmas trees. This free collection will start from the 9th January and 16th January.  All you have to do is put your tree out on your normal rubbish collection day on the alternate week to your recycling collection. The trees will be collected and then shredded and composted. You can also take your tree to the Household Waste and Recycling Centres.

The following items can be recycled in the following ways:

  • Christmas cardsThere are various charity collections for Christmas cards.  You can also put them in your cardboard bag as part of your household recycling collection.
  • Envelopes – Envelopes can go in your household recycling collection.  White envelopes should go into the bag for paper, coloured or brown envelopes should go with the cardboard.
  • Wrapping paperWe can take wrapping paper that isn’t coated with foil or plastic.  Please put all non-shiny wrapping paper in bag for paper, and remove any sticky tape, string or ribbons.
  • CardboardOver Christmas there are a lot of extra cardboard boxes. Flatten the boxes and put them in the orange cardboard recycling bag. If the boxes are too big, flat pack them, tie them in a bundle and put them out next to your recycling. If you have very large amounts of cardboard, you can either take it to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centres or put it out for the kerbside collection over a couple of weeks.
  • Tin FoilPut scrunched up tin foil into the sack for plastic bottles and cans.
  • Sweet and biscuit tinsYou can put chocolate and biscuit tins out for recycling in the sack for plastic bottles and tins. We can only accept metal sweet and biscuit tins at this time. We cannot take the plastic tubs. (Unless you are in the pots tubs and trays trial)

If you have more kerbside recycling than usual, please put it out in carrier bags.  Glass bottles and jars must be put in a rigid box.

Merry Christmas and keep recycling!!

Cornwall’s Local Government Finance Settlement for 2017/18

It is always a nervous time in Local Government circles when the Government announces its financial settlement for this sector. Over the last few years, the news has not been positive; you know it is going to hurt, but how much it will hurt you only find out in the announcement.

This announcement and publication of the settlement marks the start of a consultation period until 13 January 2017. The final settlement for 2017/18 will be laid before the House of Commons in February 2017.

So how much hurt is contained within the proposed settlement? The positve news is overall on first review the settlement remains largely as expected as there is no change in the levels of Revenue Support Grant, Rural Services Delivery Grant or Better Care Fund. However at this stage not all information is available and as always the devil will be in the detail. But we do know there have been changes to the following grants:

  • New Homes Bonus (NHB) – due to further changes in the way the reward is calculated NHB will reduce in 2017/18 by c£0.750m compared to the existing assumptions within the Council’s financial plan;
  • Adult Social Care Support Grant – This is a new grant that has been established, funded from savings in the New Homes Bonus. Amounts will be distributed according to relative need and Cornwall’s indicative allocation is £2.806m but is one-off only for 2017/18. (sadly nothing for Children’s Social Care)

At face-value, there is also a bit of positive news with the Government confirmed that Cornwall Council will pilot 100% Business Rates Retention from April 2017, although the details of that scheme are yet to be announced and are expected to form part of the final settlement in February 2017.

There is good news on Council Tax referendum limits for Town and Parish Councils. As the proposed introduction of a referendum limit to larger Town & Parish Councils will be deferred, although the Government will continue to monitor the situation and look to make excessive increases more transparent. If this was implemented it could have affected at least six Town Council’s in Cornwall.

And now for the bad news. As you maybe aware, the Government allowed local authorities to add onto the Council Tax bill a 2% levy for Social Care. Now the Government is allowing local authorities to increase this percentage. I totally support we need more money in Social Care; however, I have two concerns on this.

The first is Social Care should also include Children’s Social Care, but this extra levy cannot be used to help any Children’s Social Care, in fact is it rather limited on what is can be spent on. So to call it a Social Care levy is rather misleading!

The second is the Government has introduced a postcode lottery on Adult Social Care by means of this levy; whereas it should be properly funding the service in the first place – and yes that includes Children’s Social Care too. A further problem is as the Government is not funding it properly by passing the buck to a local authority who may not want to increase the Council Tax further because of pressures on its residents finances. If a local authority does not increase the levy, then the Government will just blame the Council for not providing the right level of funding. Hardly fair.

Anyway, lets hope there are no hidden surprised tucked away in the detail…

Could Cornwall be set to potentially receive an extra £10m for school funding?

Since I became Portfolio Holder for Children’s Service, I have argued for the Government to address the serious level of under-funding Cornwall’s schools have received. To be fair, education in Cornwall has historically been underfunded by successive Governments. Over the last couple of year’s there has been a slight increase which has helped, but it still has not gone far enough as Cornwall is still one of the worst funded authorities.

If these proposals announced today are implemented following consultation, the new National Funding Formula could see an additional £10 million allocated to Cornwall for school and high needs pupils. However, while this funding has the potential to make a real difference, we need to look closely at the detail to see how the formula could impact on individual schools. Furthermore, the difference in funding allocation will affect schools in different ways, and not all schools will see an increase in their funding. As the old saying goes – the devil is in the detail.

It is also very important to remember that this is only a consultation at this time and things could change – like they often do.  However, anticipating that Cornwall will receive additional education funding,  we would urge the Secretary of State to consider a swift transition to this new formula of no more than three years.

I welcome these proposals in principle and thank the Department for Education for recognising Cornwall’s historic under-funding and taking appropriate steps to address it. I must also say thanks to say thank-you to everyone who has campaigned so hard over the past few years for a fairer, more equitable distribution of funds to pupils.

 

 

 

Porthleven Town Council supports changes to the dog ban on Porthleven beach

img_1639At the December meeting of Porthleven Town Council I brought an item to discuss the issue of the current dog ban on Porthleven West Sands and whether under the current consultation period to change the timings and period. To recap, HERE is the previous blog on this subject.

The outcome of the debate is the Town Council will formally request changes to the dog ban. If Cornwall Council accepts the changes, the dog ban will not start till 1st May and ends on the 30th September. The ban will not come into force till 8am and will stop at 7pm each day during the ban period.

I believe these are sensible changes to the current ban period and was happy to propose these changes. I will now be submitting these changing as will the town council to Cornwall Council.

I will keep you informed of the outcome of the request.

Introducing £1 to park after 4pm in Porthleven and Helston is not welcomed

The emotive subject of charging to park in a car park has raised it head again with the release consultation on parking charges for 2017 by Cornwall Council. Charging to park is not a popular subject, especially when charges change and go up. I will start with a positive as last year, car parking charges were frozen.

The proposal which is now out for public consultation is for the car park in Porthleven and the main Helston car parks is for the price of the one and two-hour to rise; with the three to four-hour charge dropping. However, in a shocking move, there is the introduction of a £1 after 4pm charge.

The full changes are contained within the following:

Current Proposed
Kittos Field, Porthleven £0.60

£1.40

£3.30

£4.40

£5.00

——

£1.00

1 Hour

2 Hours

3 Hours

4 Hours

24 Hours

Evening

Winter

£0.70

£1.60

£3.00

£4.00

£5.00

£1.00

£1.00

Trengrouse Way & Trengrouse Extension, Helston £0.60

£1.40

£3.30

——

1 Hour

2 Hours

3 Hours

Evening

£0.70

£1.50

£2.50

£1.00

Castle Green, Helston £2.20 24 Hours £2.20
Cattle Market, Helston £0.60

£1.40

£3.30

£4.40

£5.00

——

1 Hour

2 Hours

3 Hours

4 Hours

24 Hours

Evening

£0.70

£1.50

£2.50

£3.50

£5.00

£1.00

Tyacke Road, Helston £0.60

£1.40

£3.30

£4.40

£5.50

——

1 Hour

2 Hours

3 Hours

4 Hours

24 Hours

Evening

£0.70

£1.50

£2.50

£3.50

£5.50

£1.00

Whilst the over all increases in the hourly charges and the reduction in others seems at face value a little bit of give and take; which could be interpreted as encouraging people to stay longer in an area. However when you look deeper into the income, it is clear the income from the is one and two-hour charges is the main source of income. For example:

  • Kitto’s the one and two-hour charge equates to nearly 60% of the ticket sales, with the three-hour charge having 13.3% and both the four and five-hour charge totalling 3.1% of the sales.
  • Trengrouse is 95.6% of the ticket sales are from the one and two-hour charge;
  • Cattle market is 95.5%;
  • Tyack is 92.9%.

Therefore, I believe this is more about generating more income, but sold as something different.

Putting the hourly tariffs aside, my real concern and anger is the inclusion of a £1 charge after 4pm. This has been done without and warning or consultation with local members. There are no grounds for this except for getting more money. Introducing this charge will have negative results; more so than adding 10p to a tariff.

There are a few reasons why this is not good for either Porthleven or Helston. The first is residents who parked in the car parks out of hours because the on-street parking is non-existent or limited and therefore parking in the car park helps reduce congestion. In fact residents have been encouraged to park in car parks out of hours.  If this charge is introduced, then they will just park on the streets. A second is it will harm the local economy who gain from having free parking.

At the December meeting of Porthleven Town Council, Councillors raised various points of objection on the proposals. I made* various points like I have in this blog post. From these points, Councillors voted unanimously to object to the changes, especially the introduction of the £1 after 4pm charge.

I really do believe there needs to be a re-think on these proposals. I hope other Council’s will look at the proposals and take appropriate action. I understand parking charges are a form of income for the Council to provide services, but there is a balance of what is a reasonable charge to park, and what is a cash-cow.

The consultation closes on 16 December 2016

When you visit the website HERE, you will also be able to view the following consultation documents (or click on the links below):

I will, as will the Town Council, make a stong representation against these proposals.

*As a Town Councillor

Want to find out about the future of Helston Cottage Hospital?

This week details (well lots of words) were released about the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cornwall. In a less than clear message, the future of Cottage Hospitals in Cornwall are in the mix and could be under-threat.

In-light of this, I have asked the Chief-Officer of the Health organisation this service comes under about the future of Helston Cottage Hospital. Whilst the reply to my question was not crystal clear this hospital would not be one that would close, I am content the reply given to me gave hope that the Cottage Hospital is not in danger of closing. I might sound a little cryptic, but I know of wider positives that are being discussed for this hospital which would help secure the future of the hospital.

helstoncottagehosp

However, residents of the Helston, Porthleven and the Lizard area have the chance to ask health professionals directly and the future of Helston Cottage Hospital, and the STP at the South Kerrier Community Network Panel. This is a public meeting and all are invited to attend this panel meeting. The meeting takes place on Wednesday 7th December between 6pm and 8pm at Cury Village Hall, Helston.

Cornwall Council supporting World Aids Day

For those who did not know, but today is World Aids Day. Therefore, Cornwall Council is joining other authorities across all of the South West to raise a flag to mark this occasion. The joint flying of the flags is in support of a bid to make stigma history for HIV.

For my generation we were bombarded with the ‘Don’t die of ignorance’ films, which were shown on national tv. However, over the year’s, HIV and Aids has been lost its prominence, and is seen as one of those illnesses that has a cure for it. Yet Aids and HIV has not gone away.

img_1660

Me and the Vice-Chairman of Cornwall Council

There are more than 100,000 people estimated to be living with HIV in the UK though 17% are unaware they have the infection. This is important as individuals unaware they have HIV are unable to get the treatment they need to keep them well, they may also pass the virus on unknowingly. Testing for HIV and STI’s is easy. For HIV it is a simple blood test.

HIV affects people of all ages, including older adults. Effective treatments now mean that life expectancy has significantly increased for people with HIV. The majority of people with HIV who are accessing care are on treatment (96%), and 94% taking treatment have suppressed the virus meaning they are highly unlikely to pass it on. However, wearing a condom is still the safest way to stay safe.

The number of people living with HIV is increasing in the UK. This is as more people continue to be diagnosed and people are living longer as a result of treatment. In 2015, 88,769 people were living with diagnosed HIV and had accessed care (61,097 men and 27,672 women). This represents a 73% rise in the last decade and an increase of 4% over the preceding year. Most people newly diagnosed with HIV were aged between 25 and 49 years in 2015. In Cornwall the age range of people diagnosed with HIV was 28-85 years.img_1659

Late HIV diagnosis is an important issue in Cornwall with 47% of the Cornish residents diagnosed with HIV in 2013-2015, diagnosed at a late stage of infection. Late diagnosis is when an individual’s immune system has already been severely damaged meaning they can become seriously ill.

Heterosexual men and women:

  • 39% new diagnoses in the UK were among heterosexual men and women in 2015;
  • The number of heterosexuals who acquired HIV in the UK remains high and is higher than infections acquired abroad;
  • The number of women/girls newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK has decreased in the last decade from 2,940 to 1,537 in 2015;
  • Among heterosexuals aged 15-44 in the UK, almost one in every 1,000 is estimated to be living with HIV with higher prevalence’s among black African heterosexual men (one in 56) and women (one in 22);
  • Throughout the decade the two largest groups of people who accessed HIV care remained white MSM and black African heterosexuals. There has also been an increase in white heterosexuals (which has almost doubled from 5,302 in 2006 to 10,417 in 2015).

Men who have sex with men:

  • While the vast majority of MSM do not have HIV, gay, bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be the group most affected by HIV infection’
  • Among MSM aged 15-44, one in 20 is estimated to be living with HIV;
  • Just over half of people diagnosed with HIV in 2015 were MSM (54%).

For Cornwall the stats are:

  • 66 people in every 1000 are accessing care for HIV in Cornwall (compared to 2.26 in every 1000 in England).
  • The HIV prevalence rate is much lower than that of England as a whole.
  • The number of people living in Cornwall with HIV has increased by 24% since 2010 (148).
  • HIV incidence (the number newly diagnosed) is very low in Cornwall at 2.4 per 100,000 compared to the England average at 12.1.
  • It’s important to remember that an estimated 17% remain undiagnosed nationally so the true number of people living with HIV in Cornwall is likely to be higher.
    • Men who have sex with men: 14% of MSM living with HIV are undiagnosed.
    • Black African heterosexuals: 16% in men and 12% in women.
    • All heterosexuals: 21% unaware of their diagnosis (1 in 5) PLHIV unaware of their status, rising to 24% outside of London.
  • Late diagnosis continues to be an issue in Cornwall at 47% (2013-2015) it is higher than the England rate at 39% but has decreased since 2010-2012 (68.4%).

How to get a HIV test? Go to an open-access sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic like the sexual health hub at Treliske or one of the community sexual health clinics. Ask your GP for a HIV test – nowadays there is no need for a lengthy discussion about the test, it just involves having blood taken. Ask online for a self-sampling kit (www.freetesting.hiv.) that can be sent to you at home.

It was good to see others support World Aids Day at the Council: