Well, the budget setting process has begun and promises to be even more difficult than last year. There is no doubt that some difficult decisions will have to be made again and some people are going to be disappointed at the loss or changes that result. One that has not yet been decided is about the mobile library service. I have received the results of the consultation and there is no doubt that this service is highly valued. However, the results also suggest that some people, perhaps the most vulnerable, might benefit from a change from a mobile van to a home delivery service. Three options will be discussed shortly and, at the moment, I am inclined to think we will be better off making more radical changes now that can then be maintained for the next few years rather than having to make minor changes each year. However, no decision has yet been made.
I am also surprised and concerned at the figures for waste management and highways maintenance. It would appear at this stage that we spend almost three times as much on waste as on maintaining our roads, which feels wrong, especially with the state of the roads in South Hill. I am currently looking into this to see if I am missing something.
I am also taking a much more active interest in how Cornwall Council can help to ensure that the huge amount of EU funding we receive will be more effective in the years ahead. Despite having received about £500 million over the last 14 years, Cornwall’s economy has slipped back to 64% of the EU average. I appreciate that some investments take a long time to take effect but it does make you wonder if some of the spending decisions have been less effective than we would wish.
Finally, can I please just remind everyone to be very careful of scammers? There seems to be a new one where a phone call, pretending to be the police or your bank, asks you to call your bank as your card has been used fraudulently. However, when you think you are doing this, they stay on the line and then ask you for your card details and PIN. Please remind everyone that your bank will never ask you for your PIN over the phone.
Do enjoy this lovely weather and our beautiful county but also spare a thought for those less fortunate and look out for each other.