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Showing posts from June, 2011

Charles Windsor and the Duchy of Cornwall need to change

Today the accounts of the Prince Charles Duke of Cornwall have been released and they have caused quite a stir. The headlines are that Charles Windsor's income is up by a million pounds in the last year, funding from the taxpayer was up £298,000 and income from the Duchy of Cornwall was up 4% to a staggering £17,796,000. See more from the Guardians here Prince Charles's income up by £1m. This is huge blow for the reputation of this government, preaching austerity to others and slashes jobs and services on an unprecedented scale, yet the ruling class like the royals are spending more of taxpayers money. Quite why the royals can't pay their own way is question on everyone's lips, they certainly are rich enough and it is very callous the way they're spending public money whilst the civil service, companies and ordinary families are having to make do with less. 

Now why is this important here in Cornwall? "after all much of Duchy land is outside of Cornwall" i…

tourism tax don't hold you breath, or how good food buys influence

My previous post Cornish Tourist Tax a Great Idea, has proved very popular and in terms of hits is well up there in my top ten most visited, which is a great surprise seeing as it's one of my most recent posts. So I drafted a blog yesterday explaining briefly, that a tourist tax would be workable as other places do it (e.g.the French bed tax and  the USA's entrance fee). Further that is doesn't appear to be detrimental there. Also rises in VAT and fuel duty have more of an effect on tourism and are much unfairer to everyone, but yet still haven't 'killed off' tourism. Also people love coming to Cornwall, there are much nearer destinations for tourists whether they be from Berlin, Birmingham, London or La Rochelle and I am sure they wouldn't mind paying an extra fee. This fee could indeed be used to improve infrastructure and have a knock on benefit to the vast majority of Cornwall's residents who don't work in tourism. But illuminating these argumen…

Localism, Devonwall and how to bring Cornish jobs back

This blog is not about the proposed Devonwall constituency that the government is imposing upon Cornwall and our dear neighbours. It is about the very real and insidious Devonwall that has beset Cornwall for decades. In this blog I am no arguing for notions of national identity, culture or history but about real bona fide jobs and how Cornwall is missing out on them. How we can and must harness localism to bring jobs back this side of the Tamar.

Devonwall has been around a long while, successive governments have sought to amalgamate services and departments of governance between Cornwall and Devonshire. Whether because they wanted offices closer to London, or they wanted to shore up electoral support in the key constituencies of Exeter and Plymouth, or they simply didn't care for Cornwall's economy, the result is the same, jobs moved eastward. With those jobs went more of Cornwall's decision making powers, I am not even talking about devolution here just the sort of decisi…

The Inspirational Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network

The other day when I blogged about solar farms in Cornwall the independent Cornwall Councillor Andrew Wallis made a comment that "it is a shame having hundreds of the farms in Cornwall will not make electricity cheaper for the people of Cornwall." Indeed this is a very valid point, what is the benefit for a community to have a solar farm or wind farm built in their community? Perhaps a very good answer to this question (and solution to this problem) has been proposed by the people of the North Cornish town of Wadebridge. Forming the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN), they seek for the community to build renewable energy technologies for the benefit of the same community. By reducing the carbon output of the town and raising £300,000+ annualy for the Wadebridge Community Trust Fund.

Now this is a very inspiring, regardless of the energy aspects it is very encouraging to see a community coming together like this in a collective way for the common good. Also this orga…

When's the deadline? Solar farms, Cornwall and the FIT review

I couple of articles about solar power have come to my attention since writing: Solar Farms why the government should be investing. They both concern Cornwall directly, the first comes from Andrew Wallis (the Independent councillor and implacable critic of Cornwall Council) which raise doubts that the planned solar farm by Cornwall Council will have to be abandoned due to the funding review. Andrew's blog is here: Solar Farm Gold Rush Over. The funding review of the Feed in Tariff certainly was a kick in the teeth for the Conservative- Independent coalition at County Hall as they had a lot riding on the old preferential rate as an old press release for the council explains: Cornwall Council prepares for £1 billion solar power gold rush. As Councillor Wallis rightly points out any Solar Farms will have to be set up and plugged into the grid by the first of August, which is really not long and Cornwall Council face abandoning the scheme after lots of work.

Which brings me to the ot…

a Cornish tourist tax, a great idea

One of the senior officers at Cornwall Council Tom Flanagan has created something of a stir by suggesting a tourist tax at a committe in Westminster. In his own words he explains:
“Cornwall has 26 million visitor nights per year. If you put £1 per head per bed that could raise £26 million which could go into investment. These are funding opportunities for Cornwall if we are given the freedom."
Now there is some controversy that this has come from an officer rather than a councillor and it probably wasn't the most astute move talking about it in Westminster before councillors had discussed it. It does highlight the concern of people in Cornwall that the officers run the show at Lys Kernow, this needs to be addressed (another day perhaps).  But that said, the idea of a tourist tax has been kicking around for years, I've no doubt that councillors have discussed it before and are more than aware of the arguments. So let's for a second consider the idea.

The costs of touris…

Does Cornwall Council have too many councillors?

The issue of the size of Cornwall Council and the number of councillors has reared it's head again. The argument kicking around is that we need less councillors and I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with this view. Below are some of my ideas on the subject and a frank and brutal undermining of the preposterous arguments put forward.

As a background and for those not in the know, Cornwall recently had a major reorganisation of local government, the Labour government and the Liberal Democrat administration decided to streamline Cornwall's administration into one simple unitary council. Hitherto Cornwall had six district councils based roughly on the ancient hundreds, west to east; Penwith, Kerrier, Carrick, Restormel, North Cornwall and Caradon and above this Cornwall County Council. These were all amalgamated into a new unitary authority simply called Cornwall Council.

(As a side note the reorganisation was supposed to save money, but alas every morning I awake waiting …