From Cllr. Steph McWilliam – written for March 2017

Well this is my last newsletter as your Cornwall Councillor for this administration. By the time the next edition comes out, we will be into the campaign period for the May election and it will be inappropriate for me to be using your parish magazine for communicating with you. I therefore want to thank you for your support over the last four years. It has been an honour and a privilege to be your representative. It has been a difficult period because of the huge savings that had to be made in the council’s budget but I hope I have made a small contribution to minimising the impact.

I am proud of my local community and wish the very best to whoever you choose to represent you for the next four years. Despite the above, I remain your councillor until the election on May 4th so, if you have any problems relating to council services, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. (01579 362037)

Speaking of which, I had a message left on my answerphone that was completely incomprehensible. It sounded as though the caller was underwater, though I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the case! I don’t know what went wrong but if you are still waiting for me to get back to you, please try again.

We are reaching the end of the process to make a recommendation on how many Cornwall Councillors there should be from 2021 onwards. It was made clear that we were expected to reduce the number significantly and our recommendation to Full Council will be for 99, down about 20% from the current 123. One important consideration for me is that the smallest division is 0.7 sq km and the largest is over 137 sq km. This is likely to go up to about 165 sq km if the recommendation of 99 is approved. I really believe this is as much as one Councillor should be expected to cover unless they cut right back on case work and their community leadership role, and just concentrate on the strategic role at County Hall. It would also mean that some councillors might be working with eight or even nine parishes, which again seems an awful lot of parish councillors and issues to represent and to work with in an effective way.

There is a great deal of debate at County Hall about the pressure on the NHS and on social care. There are STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Plans) being developed and it is hoped that these will help GPs, hospitals and the local council work together to find new and more efficient ways of working by integrating health and social care. Integrating these services sounds simple, everybody thinks the idea makes sense but many of us are very concerned that it will be difficult to achieve. It still won’t generate enough in savings to offset the increased costs of more elderly people with more complex problems, newer and more expensive drugs and treatments plus the increase in the population overall. Please keep an eye on this.

There is a lot of work going on to prepare for leaving the European Union and the impact this will have on Cornwall. I am pleased to say that the work is concentrating on both the risks and the opportunities, so whichever way you voted in the referendum, your hopes or your concerns are being carefully considered.

The referendum brought many people back to the democratic process so I hope this will continue. Whoever (or whichever party) you support, please make sure you are on the electoral register and use your vote in May.

Once again, thank you for your support over the last four years. It really has been a pleasure and a privilege.

Thank you. Cllr Steph McWilliam     Tel: 01579 362037