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LIVE BLOG: Cornwall Council Annual Meeting 2024


Cornwall Council's Annual Meeting for 2024 takes place in Truro today.

It will see the election of the leader for the next year, as well as the appointment of Cabinet members. 

The leader will also give the annual ‘State of Cornwall in the National Context’ speech, setting out how the authority has performed in the past 12 months, and our standing within the country.

Also on the agenda is the allocation of seats and nominations to committees, which reflect the political make-up of the authority.

Annual reports from the Standards Committee and the Overview and Scrutiny will also be received and discussed, as well as a report from the working group on bullying, intimidation and harassment, which recommends that the authority should support the Local Government Association’s ‘Debate not Hate’ campaign.

Two motions have also been submitted for debate, one calling for support for Cornwall’s farmers, and one calling on the council to treat the care experience ‘as if it were a protected characteristic’.

The meeting will also allow time for questions to the cabinet from both the public and other councillors.

You can watch proceedings live via our webcast service, or follow the live blog below.  The meeting will start at 10.30am.

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10am: The meeting will start at 10.30am


Read the Agenda


10.30am:  Today's meeting is now underway, and begins with the election of the chairman.


10.34am:  Cllr Clemens steps forward to nominate Cllr Pauline Giles as Chairman of the council.  Cllr Giles has already served in the role for the past three years.


10.36am: Cllr Pete Mitchell seconds the nomination of Cllr Giles.  There are no further nominations.


10.37am:  Cllr Giles addresses the chamber telling councillors she has always been determined to represent the council in the best way possible.  She says that she likes to think she has been fair to all during her tenure.


10.38am:  With one nomination there is a show of hands and Cllr Giles is duly elected as Chairman for the year.

 

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10.40am: We now move onto the election of the vice-chairman.


10.41am: Cllr Linda Taylor proposes Cllr Jordan Rowse for the role of vice-Chairman.  Cllr Rowse has been in the role for the past three years.


10.42am: Cllr Giles seconds the nomination of Cllr Rowse saying they have worked brilliantly as a team.  There are no further nominations.


10.43am: Cllr Rowse addresses the chamber, telling members how he looks back on the past three years with fondness, highlighting the special Cornish residents he has met during his time in the role.


10.47am: Cllr Rowse is elected as Vice-Chairman.


10.48am: We now move onto prayers, followed by apologies for absence and declarations of interest.


10.54am: We now move onto the approval of the minutes from the last full council meeting, before moving onto the chairman's announcements.


10.55am: Cllr Giles tells members of the recent visit of the Duke of Cornwall to Fistral Beach in Newquay.  


10.55am:  Cllr Loic Rich is asked to pay tribute to former councillor Michael Callan, who died recently.  Mr Callan represented the Perranporth ward from 2009 to 2021, and ran Perranporth Post Office for more than 20 years.


11.01am: We now move onto the approval of the minutes from the last meeting, before public questions.  There is just one question today, from a Mr Smith of St Mabyn, asking for the cost of Cornwall Council's attendance at a development conference in Leeds this week.


11.03am:  Cllr Louis Gardner responds, saying the attendance makes sense for the opportunity to speak to investors from across the country, and that we have a lot to shout about. He says he will be attending alongside cabinet colleague Cllr Olly Monk and nine officers.  The total cost is around £40,000.  Cllr Gardner says it is part of doing all we can to shout about opportunities in Cornwall.


11.05am:  We now move onto the election of a leader.   Cllr David Harris nominates Cllr Linda Taylor as leader.  Cllr Taylor has already led the council for the past three years.  The nomination is seconded by Cllr Connor Donnithorne.


11.08am:  There are no other nominations.  Cllr Taylor thanks every member of the administration, saying she is determined to continue making a difference and delivering for the residents of Cornwall.

Cllr Taylor is duly elected as leader.


11.11am:  Cllr Taylor now makes her announcements, including the nomination of her Cabinet.  She tells the chamber that Cllr Connor Donnithorne will be standing down from his role at the end of the month, with Cllr Martin Worth joining the Cabinet as portfolio holder for customers from June.


11.14am:  We now move onto the appointment of committees, with Cllr Taylor recommending, and Cllr Dick Cole seconding.  The item is carried.


11.15am:  The allocation of seats on committees is next to be discussed.  Cllr Cole recommends the item, with Cllr Loic Rich seconding.  


11.18am:  We now move onto Cllr Linda Taylor's 'State of Cornwall in the National Context' speech.  Cllr Taylor tells the chamber that the new Economic Forum is up and running, saying: "I am delighted to announce today the appointment of former Business Secretary Lord John Hutton as the new Chairman of this newly created forum for Cornish business. 
"It will play a crucial role in ensuring that Cornwall achieves its goals and provides a coordinated voice for the private sector to inform and influence the shape and future direction of economic policy, as well as helping to identify and shape the skills that will be needed to ensure Cornwall’s future workforce can benefit from the job opportunities being created in new and emerging sectors. 
"Having a voice in Westminster is so important, and to have Lord Hutton, who is respected across the political spectrum, fighting Cornwall’s corner is fantastic news for our business community."

 


11.25am:  Cllr Taylor concludes:  "In summary, despite the challenges faced, we have made a herculean effort to deliver our priorities, while remaining prudent with our finances.
"It is this approach that is delivering for the people of Cornwall, and will continue to do so for the next year.
"And the people of Cornwall have welcomed our efforts. As you will have seen from the results of our annual residents’ survey show, we’ve bucked the national trend which has seen declining levels of public confidence in local authorities. 
"It was pleasing that residents’ satisfaction with the area as a place to live has soared to 88%, compared with the LGA’s national survey figure of 75%.
"And given one of our five values is “We trust each other and are trustworthy”, it is uplifting to see residents ‘trust in the Council’ increase to 67% - a full 12% above the declining national figure.
"We’ve also seen big leaps in the level of resident satisfaction in our public realm services, like street cleaning, plus road maintenance, library provision and recycling services. 
"And on the subject of recycling, I want to pay credit to those involved in the successful roll-out of the new food waste, recycling and refuse service.
"All hugely positive results given the wider national context and a real endorsement of our collective efforts.
"And given this speech is about Cornwall in the national context, I will end by highlighting that as a result of our achievements in 2023, the Council is a finalist in the national LGC and MJ awards for the 'Diversity and Inclusion', ‘Local Authority of the Year’ and ‘Transforming Lives’ categories – and the last one captures precisely what we have done and will continue to do, namely, ‘transform lives and livelihoods’ for the better."

You can watch the speech in full via our webcast service:

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11.35am: We now move onto the schedule of ordinary council meetings for the next year.  Cllr Julian German requests a change in date to ensure the final meeting in the schedule, in April next year, does not fall within two weeks of an election.


11.41am:  Following a vote, the meeting dates are approved unaltered.  We now move onto scrutiny panel reports.


 

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12.16pm: The scrutiny reports are approved.  We now move onto the annual report from the Standards Committee.


12.29pm: The report is carried.  We now move onto the Pensions Committee and the recruitment of a new employee representative.


12.32pm: The recommendation is approved.  We will now break for lunch, returning at 1.15pm.


1.22pm: The meeting is back under way, and we move onto motions.  The first motion, entitled 'Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Ill Health and Worklessness' is being put forward by Cllr Leigh Frost.

He tells the chamber the measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable residents, and says he cannot agree with the way the Government is planning to change the way it works with those out of work.

He says the motion demonstrates the Cornwall the council wants to build.


1.25pm: The motion is seconded by Cllr Thalia Marrington.


1.28pm: Cllr Colin Martin says that the council has already done much to show prevention is better than the cure, and that most people want to something worthwhile with their time, and that, if they are not working, there is a barrier that could be addressed.

He emphasises that poverty leads to ill health and that ill-health leads to worse poverty.


1.32pm: Cllr Pete Mitchell is next to speak.  He tells the chamber that metal health support is vital, and that he hopes all will support this motion.


1.40pm: Cllr Stephen Barnes says that it is an issue where it is easy to condemn, but far more difficult to find a solution.  He says the motion may not solve any issues, but it does highlight them.


1.41pm: Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek highlights the 'Work Well' project which aims to bring services together to help support those with health problems back into work.


1.50pm: An amendment is put forward by Cllr Donnithorne, asking for the motion to be referred to Cabinet for consideration.


1.58am: The amendment is carried, and the paper will now be referred to Cabinet. 


2.00pm:  Cllr Frost says he hopes he will now see constructive work on the paper from the Cabinet, or he will be 'absolutely furious', and says it is shameful that councillors have been prevented from talking on behalf of vulnerable residents in the debate. 


 

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Read the Agenda

 


2.05pm: A second amendment is submitted, asking the Cabinet to work on the paper alongside the original motion's proposer and seconder.  


2.15pm: The motion is carried as amended.


2.16pm: We now move onto a second motion, entitled 'Support for Housing Justice'.  It is being proposed by Cllr Andrew George, who says this is the politics of social justice and fairness, and calls for the end of small business rate relief for second home owners.


2.20pm:  Cllr Colin Martin seconds the amendment saying the council has already carried out a lot of good work through cross party cooperation, and says he wants to press the Government into taking faster action on the issue.


2.36pm: Cllr Tim Dwelly submits an amendment calling for the extra funding expected next year from the increased council tax on second homes to be ringfenced for housing. 


2.49pm:  The amendment is defeated, so we return to the original motion and the debate.  


3.06pm: Summarising, Cllr George welcomes the cross-party support it has received, and says he hopes it will be supported. 


3.10pm: The motion is carried.


3.11pm:  We now move onto the final item on the agenda, questions to Cabinet members from members.

 

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4.06pm: Today's meeting has now concluded.

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