The Cornwall We Know

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Welcome to The Cornwall We Know, where you will find a variety of intelligence and insight, selected from internal and external sources, to help inform our understanding of Cornwall and the impact that COVID-19 has had on our residents and businesses.

Welcome to The Cornwall We Know, where you will find a variety of intelligence and insight, selected from internal and external sources, to help inform our understanding of Cornwall and the impact that COVID-19 has had on our residents and businesses.

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 2 August 2021

    2 days ago
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    Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. This month, we take a deep dive into Cornwall’s ecological emergency and what the Council and partners are doing to help nature recover. 

    News roundup

    • As of 28 July a total of 23,094 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 478 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. 
    • England moved to Step 4 of the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap on 19 July, with many restrictions coming to an end. The Prime Minister has urged a cautious approach, and said that the Test, Trace and Isolate system must remain in place. However, some fully-vaccinated critical workers are able to leave isolation in exceptional circumstances
    • Every adult in the UK has now been offered a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and proof of vaccination will be required for entry to nightclubs from September. The committee which advises the Government on vaccinations (the JCVI) has recommended that children at risk of being seriously affected by Covid-19 are also offered a vaccine.
    • New analysis by the County Councils Network and Tunstall Healthcare highlights the benefits that assistive technology (AT), such as remote health monitoring systems, can have for adult social care - but has found that 69% of county authorities believe that AT is harder to roll out in rural areas compared to cities.
    • Last month we wrote about research by Habitat for Humanity and the Empty Homes Network which stated that 44.8% of Cornwall’s housing stock consists of second homes. This figure, cited by their report, is inaccurate – following an intervention by Cornwall Council, the Empty Homes Network has revised the report to give a more accurate figure of 4.95%. Cornwall remains the Local Authority area in England with the largest number of second homes by volume (13,642 homes), but does not have the highest proportion of second homes in the country. 
    • 29 July is Earth Overshoot Day for 2021, when annual human demand for ecological resources outstrips what Earth can regenerate in that year. If the whole world used resources like the UK, this day would have fallen on 19 May.
    • The Future of Local Government, a new report by the County Councils Network and PricewaterhouseCoopers, finds that councils are facing rising demands and declining resources, with the pandemic reducing income while leading to additional responsibilities and associated costs. However, by showing the same resilience and agility demonstrated during the pandemic, the authors suggest that local authorities can empower community groups and make better use of technology, to play a key role in tackling challenges such as the climate emergency. Kate Kennally, Cornwall Council’s Chief Executive, presented at the report’s launch event, showcasing the transformation work Cornwall Council is doing in this space.
    • study by Loughborough University has estimated that over 4.6 million bedrooms in England overheated in summer 2018 (when peak temperatures reached levels likely to be normal in 2050), with overheating more prevalent in households living in social housing, on low incomes or over the state pension age.

     

    View from Westminster

    The Prime Minister has set out his vision for levelling up in advance of the Levelling Up White Paper, likely to be published in the autumn. The speech highlighted the UK’s geographically unbalanced economy and place-based differences in life expectancy, access to higher education and child poverty. Levelling up measures will include a £4.8 billion levelling up fund; mortgage guarantees for first-time buyers; and greater availability of different models of devolution.

    The newly-published Long-Term Plan to Support the Evolution and Regeneration of High Streets is a key part of the wider levelling up strategy, focusing on making town centres vibrant places to live, work and visit, with the help of Town Deals and proposals for community ownership of pubs, sports grounds and local shops.

    Several new planning initiatives have been announced by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, including the launch of the Office for Place, new National Model Design Code and revised National Planning Policy Framework. The measures aim to put beauty back at the heart of the planning system and to empower communities to help create local design codes.

    As summer holidays get underway, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a Tourism Recovery Strategy, warning that some analysts predict UK tourism may not reach 2019 levels of volume and expenditure until 2025. To try to recover earlier than 2025, DCMS suggests measures to improve the tourism industry’s resilience; provide more non-seasonal well-paid employment; and use technology to enhance visitors’ experiences. However, the Rural Services Network is concerned at the lack of rural proofing in the strategy and what it sees as the unequal funding received by rural areas.

    The Government’s focus on recovery and renewal can also be seen in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s new Innovation Strategy. The strategy aims to raise public investment in research and development to £22 billion per year; increase private investment; and galvanise public/private sector cooperation by determining “innovation missions” to tackle the most important issues facing the UK.

     

    Deep dive: Ecological Emergency & Nature Recovery

    Cornwall’s natural environment is at the core of our identity and heritage, and we vitally depend on it for our health and prosperity. When well managed it provides critical ‘ecosystem services’ like food, clean air and water, and a place to relax and unwind.

    Cornwall currently contains…

    • Over 40 habitat types.
    • 9.9% tree cover, with 2% ancient woodland.
    • 5.7% moorland, upland & heathland.
    • 1.8% wetlands.
    • 74.4% farmland.
    • Over 2,400ha of maerl beds and over 120ha of coastal saltmarsh.
    • Over 650km of coastline.
    • 48,000km of Cornish hedges.

    And it has various forms of protections and designations

    • 1.7% of land is in a nature reserve.
    • 13% is in a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ or County Wildlife Site.
    • 18 Special Areas of Conservation and 3 Special Protection Areas.
    • 54 Wildlife Trust sites.
    • 34% of our inshore marine area is in a designated protected area.
    • 30% of land is in the Cornwall or Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    But nature is in trouble. There is an ecological emergency, with wildlife in serious decline and habitats being lost and degraded at an unprecedented rate. The outlook globally and nationally is stark…

    And whilst it might look green, the state of nature in Cornwall reflects those downward trends

    • 12% of important species are now threatened with local extinction or complete loss in Cornwall.
    • 21 breeding birds and 8 bumblebees have gone extinct in Cornwall since the 1970s.
    • Nearly 1/2 of terrestrial mammals and 3/5 of butterflies of are found in fewer places in Cornwall since the 1980s.
    • 152km of hedgerow & Cornish hedges have been lost.
    • 80,000kg of rubbish was removed from our beaches in 2019.
    • Only 21% of land and 7% of our inshore seabed area was in positive management for nature in 2019.
    • Only 24% of our rivers and 15% of lakes had a good status for wildlife in 2019.
    • Only 5.7% of our emissions were reabsorbed by our environment in 2019.

    Nature recovery is vital for tackling climate change, and is a win-win for our health and the economy too…

    So the evidence is clear that we must support nature on land and at sea to prevent ecological breakdown. To halt the decline we need to enhance nature, not just protect it. Our Environmental Growth Strategy provides a long-term framework to not just conserve, but to grow nature – by ensuring that there is more of it, and that it is bigger, better, more diverse and more joined up. And we’re making progress on delivery:

    • ·        Making Space for Nature is our award-winning programme which has enhanced nature in over 40ha of urban settings across 7 towns.
    • ·        Forest for Cornwall has planted 149,000 trees so far towards its target of an extra 2% of Cornwall’s land area.
    • Our Urban Verge Rewilding policy is helping wildflowers to flourish, with a new approach to cutting the 75ha of Council-maintained verges. 
    • ·        Making Space for Sand, a new project that will protect sand dynamic dune habitats, a vital sea defence for coastal communities.

    But we need to go further. Along with our Local Nature Partnership, our communities and businesses, we can achieve our target that at least 30% of our land and seas are well-managed for nature by 2030. We’ll be engaging later this year on our draft Nature Recovery Strategy – detailing how we can enhance, protect, create and restore a Cornwall Nature Recovery Network.

    The Council’s decision-wheel can help guide your consideration of nature. You can also explore ways communities and businesses can get involved – and if you know of any great examples, nominate them for this year’s Cornwall Sustainability Awards.

     

    Want more data?


    Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 9am on Thursday 29 July. 

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 1 July 2021

    about 1 month ago
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    Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. This month’s deep dive looks back at Cornwall’s successful hosting of the G7 summit and considers the event’s lasting legacy.

    News roundup

    • As of 28 June a total of 16,596 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. A total of 467 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic (this figure has been revised downwards on the Government’s Covid-19 dashboard since the previous newsletter). 
    • The Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, the first single-dose vaccine to gain approval.
    • Research conducted by PHE and the University of Cambridge has found that the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has prevented between 6.4 and 7.9 million infections and 26,000 and 28,000 deaths in England alone.
    • The REACT-2 study by Imperial College has found that around two million people in the UK are likely to have experienced Long Covid lasting at least 12 weeks – a third of those infected with the virus. Fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle ache were the most common symptoms.
    • The UK medicines regulatory authority, the MHRA, has concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe to give to children aged 12-15. The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation will now consider whether older children should be vaccinated as part of the vaccine rollout.
    • Last week was Armed Forces Week and Cornwall Council, as part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, helped to mark the occasion. Chairman of the Council, Cllr Pauline Giles, led a flag raising ceremony at County Hall joined by Armed Forces Lead Member, Cllr Louis Gardner and armed forces colleagues from RNAS Culdrose, RAF St Mawgan, 165 Port and Maritime Regiment and the Royal British Legion. A range of social media posts also helped to promote Armed Forces Day and encourage communities to join with the Council in showing support and gratitude to Cornwall’s armed forces and their families.
    • Analysis of the Government’s new planning targets suggests that 11,000 homes will need to be built on rural land in Cornwall in the next five years. 
    • report by the Empty Homes Network has identified that 44.8% of housing stock in Cornwall is constituted of second homes, the highest volume of any area in England.
    • The deepest pool in the world for sea and space research could be built in Cornwall, after plans for the £150 million “Blue Abyss” project were announced.

    View from Westminster

    The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid MP, has announced that 19 July is still the Government’s target date for ending Covid-19 restrictions.

    The Government has launched a new campaign, Together For Our Planet Business Climate Leaders, to encourage small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and to net zero by 2050 or sooner.

    The Department for Education has indicated that children returning to school in September will not automatically be asked to self-isolate if they have contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. The latest education attendance figures for England show that Covid-19-related pupil absence in state schools is rising, and is currently at its highest level since March 2021.

    A new Government programme to help local people buy their first home has been launched, with a pilot project in the East Midlands. The First Homes Scheme will offer homes with a discount of at least 30% of market price, passed on if the property is sold. More sites will launch throughout the UK this year, with 1,500 homes on the market from the autumn, and plans for at least 10,000 homes per annum in future years.

    The First Homes Scheme announcement comes as the House of Lords Built Environment Committee launches an inquiry into demand for new housing in the UK, and how obstacles to meeting demand can be surmounted.


    Deep dive: G7 Legacy.

    We look back on hosting a hugely successful G7. Not only did Cornwall prove itself to be a beautiful location, but also as an area able to competently run an event of international scale involving not only the world’s leaders but also three generations of monarchy. The event itself had a wide range of successful fringe events including Cornwall Schools' Eco Conference; the Sustainable Growth Conference; Co-creating Cornwall's Future, led by the Voluntary Sector Forum; and the Y7 event for young future leaders. The total economic benefit for Cornwall of hosting the G7 Summit is estimated at £50 million - £24 million during the event itself, and over £26 million from future growth in the international tourist market over the next five years. 

    To create a longer-term legacy for Cornwall, the Prime Minister announced investment in several of Cornwall’s towns and its natural landscape. These announcements have been framed by Government as the start, not the end, of a new relationship with Cornwall. The Government recognises that they can continue to work closely with Cornish leaders and institutions to deliver the levelling up agenda and make Cornwall the first carbon net zero region of the UK.  

    • Town Deals worth more than £65 million split between Penzance, St Ives and Camborne which will see the creation of new foot and cycle paths, the restoration of historic buildings and community hubs, and support for local businesses.
    • £7.8 million funding provided ahead of the summit for upgrades to Newquay Airport. 
    • Cornwall’s selection for inclusion in ‘Project Gigabit’, which will bring high speed broadband to around 100,000 homes.
    • A major land restoration and regeneration programme across 21,000 hectares of land, with work including restoring peat, making improvements to water quality, recreating scarce habitats and reintroducing lost and declining species.
    • These plans will ensure the beauty and biodiversity of Cornwall’s landscape is safeguarded for future generations. They will establish the region as a role model both across the UK and around the world when it comes to looking after the natural environment and significantly support Cornwall’s efforts to become the first carbon net zero region in the UK. 
    • To further support our work to achieve net zero, up to £1 million of innovation funding has been earmarked for businesses in Cornwall to support their development of technologies, products and processes in energy efficiency, power generation and energy storage.
    • Subject to full business case approval Cornwall will also receive up to £150,000 to design and build ‘Kernosat’, a small satellite which will be used to monitor the local environment, with the potential for it to be launched from a UK spaceport next year.

     

    Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 11am on Tuesday 29 June. 

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - Announcement

    about 2 months ago
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    The Policy and Intelligence Newsletter will now be issued monthly (on the first weekday of each month) rather than fortnightly, with immediate effect.

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 1 June, 2021

    2 months ago
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    Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which explores a different theme each fortnight, giving you data insights and policy analysis. There are also regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. As the incoming administration reorganises the Cabinet’s portfolios, moving from twelve to ten, we introduce the new portfolios and their areas of responsibility. 

    News roundup

    • As of 28 May a total of 14,307 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 470 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. 
    • Step 3 of England’s Covid-19 roadmap is now in effect, with indoor hospitality and entertainment venues reopening. People can socialise indoors in a group of up to 6 people or 2 households, including overnight stays. Up to 30 people can meet outside. Government guidance is still to work from home if you can.
    • International travel restrictions have been lifted, but Government advice is not to travel to any countries on the red or amber list. 12 countries are on the green list, including Portugal, Israel and New Zealand. Covid-19 testing and quarantine on arrival in England are not required for travel to and from Ireland, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.
    • Face coverings in the classroom or communal areas of schools are no longer recommended for pupils, but are still advised for staff everywhere physical distancing is not possible, with the exception of classrooms.
    • 4-month notice periods for renters will be in place until the end of September. For much of the pandemic, 6-month notice period were in force.
    • Cornwall has been ranked 203rd of 379 local authorities in the Legatum Institute's UK Prosperity Index, an improvement on the Duchy's ranking of 252nd in 2011. However, Cornwall is near the bottom in assessments of personal freedom (343rd), infrastructure (327th) and economic quality (313rd).
    • Rural crime rates are reportedly rising 3 times faster than in the rest of the country, with The Rural Services Network estimating that in 2018/19 rural areas received £167 per person in police funding compared to £206 in urban areas.
    • Analysis from the Office for National Statistics shows that the proportion of young people (aged 16-24) in full-time education reached a new high of 46.8% in July-September 2020. Young people are the most likely age group to be on zero hours contracts, and are the group who saw their employment rate decline the sharpest at the start of the pandemic.
    • Food bank charity The Trussell Trust has published a State of Hunger report, showing 95% of people using food banks in 2020 were destitute. 62% of working-age people referred to food banks were disabled and 18% of households were single parents (twice the rate of the general population).

    View from Westminster

    The Queen’s Speech on 11 May set out the Government’s agenda for the current session of Parliament. Highlights include: 

    • Reforms to the planning system to meet house-building goals. Councils will designate all areas as “growth”, “protection” or “renewal”, with planning permission granted automatically in growth zones.
    • A commitment to bring forward proposals to reform social care.
    • Closer integration of health and care services, as set out in the Health and Care White Paper earlier this year.
    • A requirement for voter ID for future elections, provided free by councils for people who do not have existing identification such as drivers’ licences.
    • Guarantee of a lifelong loan entitlement for adults to use on higher education or training at any point. Free A-level equivalents for 11 million adults.
    • Delivery of a national recovery from the pandemic via the Levelling Up agenda, supporting jobs and public services through a tailored regional approach.
    • Setting of legally binding environmental targets, including Net Zero Emissions by 2050, and investing in green industries through the Environment Bill.
    • Introducing a consistent recycling approach across all English councils, including powers to introduce charges for single-use plastic.

    As England moves into step 3 of the Covid-19 roadmap, the Government is launching a new scheme for businesses to show they are regularly testing their staff. The “We Offer Testing to Our Staff” initiative will let businesses download free posters and stickers to publicise that they are staff and the public safe. Although formal restrictions are gradually coming to an end in the UK, the Government is planning for possible further disruption next year, launching a consultation on non-exam assessment for some GCSE, AS and A-level subjects for 2022. It has been announced that an independent public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic will take place in spring 2022, with powers to call witnesses and compel them to give evidence. 

    Councils are to receive more Government funding to help rough sleepers into safe accommodation, with targeted support including mental health and addiction services, as well as money for extra bed spaces. Cornwall Council has been allocated over £3.5 million. Cornwall is also due to benefit from the Future High Streets fund, with Penzance named as one of 57 additional towns in a second tranche of funding announcements. Penzance will receive over £10 million to assist with projects such as improving transport links, building new homes and transforming underused spaces.

    Cornwall Council’s new portfolios.


    Leader - Cllr Linda Taylor

    • The Leadership of the Council.
    • Specific individual responsibilities:
    1. Strategy and place leader for Cornwall
    2. Regional policy and external relations 
    3. Relationship with HM Government
    4. Civic functions 
    5. Partnerships
    6. Levelling up and Equalities
    7. Communications and resident engagement
    • To lead on strategy formulation for the Council through Cabinet. 
    • To chair the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board.


    Deputy Leader - Cllr David Harris

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to:
    1. Resources (including billing, collection and recovery of local taxation)
    2. Financial forward planning and budgeting
    3. The effective use of resources and value for money
    4. Treasury Management 
    5. Investment Programme 
    6. Risk management and insurance
    7. Human Resources
    8. Performance Management framework
    9. Fees and charges
    10. Property and Estate transformation 


    Customers - Cllr Richard Pears

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to: 
    1. Customer Services and Customer Experience
    2. Business Systems and digital strategy
    3. Social inclusion, digital inclusion, employability and welfare 
    4. Leisure Services
    5. Relationship with the voluntary and third sector
    6. Relationship with suppliers
    7. Corporate procurement and commercial services
    8. Facilities Management
    9. Governance and Assurance 
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for the shareholder oversight of the Council’s Companies 


    Adults and Public Health - Cllr Andy Virr

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to adult social care and public health and wellbeing service in line with the Care Act 2014 and public health responsibilities as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This includes: 
    1. Adult Social Care Services for adults of working age
    2. Adult social care services for older adults
    3. Services for carers
    4. Vulnerable adult safeguarding functions
    5. Public Health and Health Protection (including drug and alcohol services)
    6. Health and Well-Being Strategy
    • Promoting the best possible adult social services and seamless care in the community by working with and optimising all opportunities offered by other providers to further these aims.
    • Working in partnership through the Health and Well Being Board to promote early intervention and prevention and integrated care.  
    • To act as the lead Executive Member for the Health and Well-Being Board. 
    • To provide executive member leadership on Health and Social Care integration.


    Children and Families - Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek

    • To undertake the responsibilities of the Lead Member for Children’s Services as set out in statutory guidance. 
    • To enhance the Council's corporate parenting role; to protect and champion children’s rights and to promote opportunity for all children in Cornwall.
    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to:
    1. Children’s Rights and involvement of young people in decision making
    2. Children’s Social Care
    3. Children’s Safeguarding
    4. Early Intervention Services for vulnerable children
    5. Early Years provision including Health Visiting
    6. Schools
    7. Special Educational Needs Provision
    8. Transitions for disabled young people
    9. Youth Offending
    10. Universal Youth provision and post 16 employment and training
    11. Adult Education 
    12. Skills Agenda and relationships with FE and Universities.
    • Work in Partnership with the One Vision Board and Health and Well-Being Board to achieve better outcomes for children and families.
    • To lead on budget and policy development and implementation in relation to capital investment in educational infrastructure in schools.


    Planning and Housing - Cllr Olly Monk

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to planning and transport including: 
    1. The Local Plan and associated local planning guidance
    2. Neighbourhood Plans
    3. Development Control Service and Planning Enforcement 
    4. Land registry and street naming
    5. Housing Strategy 
    6. Housing delivery pipeline to deliver Local Plan housing targets
    7. Regeneration
    8. Direct Housing Development and investment
    9. Social Housing and Private Rented standards
    10. Homelessness Prevention and Housing Advice and Options Service 
    11. Housing Adaptations for disabled people. 
    12. Housing related support for vulnerable people
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for working with the Strategic Housing Group. 


    Transport - Cllr Philip Desmonde

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to planning and transport including: 
    1. Highways 
    2. Street Lighting
    3. The Local Transport Strategy
    4. School Transport
    5. Public Transport 
    6. Ferries
    7. Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry 
    8. Parking Strategy 
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for working with the Peninsula Subnational Transport Body. 


    Economy - Cllr Stephen Rushworth

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to:
    1. Economic development and economic strategy
    2. Relationships with business community 
    3. Town Vitality and Place Shaping
    4. Spaceport 
    5. Energy Policy
    6. Anti-poverty strategy
    7. Social inclusion, digital inclusion employability and welfare
    8. Cultural Services and Cornish Language 
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for working with the Local Enterprise Partnership and The Great South West. 


    Neighbourhoods - Cllr Carol Mould

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to: 
    1. Waste – collection, disposal and waste minimisation. 
    2. Street cleaning
    3. Community safety 
    4. Registrars 
    5. Library and cultural services
    6. Community Networks and relationships with Town and Parish Councils
    7. Events and Licensing
    8. Parks and Open Spaces
    9. Public Rights of Way 
    • To deliver better outcomes for community safety with Partners through the Safer Cornwall Partnership providing executive member oversight of the Safer Communities Strategy.


    Environment and Climate Change - Cllr Martyn Alvey

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to the environment. This includes: 
    1. Waterways, beaches and flood resilience
    2. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Site
    3. Cemeteries and Crematoria. 
    4. Archaeology Service
    5. Fisheries and Agricultural Policy
    6. Maritime Services (Ports and Harbours) 
    7. Climate Change
    8. Public Protection and Enforcement Services (Environmental Health, Trading Standards, Port Health, Parking Enforcement)
    9. Fire and Rescue Service
    10. Emergency Planning and business resilience
    11. Council Farms
    • To provide executive member leadership for the Environmental Growth Strategy and Climate Change Action Plan and to deliver better environmental outcomes through the Local Nature Partnership. 
    • To provide overall liaison with Devon and Cornwall Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner and to promote effective blue light collaboration within Cornwall. 

     

     

    Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 11am on Friday 28 May. 

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 11 May, 2021

    3 months ago
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    Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each fortnight, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. As a new administration takes office in New County Hall, this fortnight’s deep dive is the State of Cornwall – we examine the current state of the Duchy using assessments from the Covid-19 Insights Dashboard, available here

    News roundup

    • The Cornwall Council elections took place on 6 May, for 87 electoral divisions. The Conservative Party won an overall majority, with 47 seats.
    • As of 9 May a total of 14,275 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 469 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. 
    • The 30-person limit on the number of mourners at funerals will be lifted on 17 May, earlier than planned. The number of attendees will instead be determined by the venue’s capacity, allowing for physical distancing.
    • Residents of care homes are now permitted to leave for outdoor visits, accompanied by a member of staff or nominated visitor, without having to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.
    • Early results from a pilot scheme, the Events Research Programme, reportedly suggest that large events do not lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases, and that physical distancing for such events will not be needed from mid-June – provided there is good ventilation and staggered entry.
    • The Bank of England has reportedly forecast the UK's fastest growth in 70 years, with a 7.25% expansion of the economy expected in 2021. This follows a contraction of 9.9% in 2020.
    • The National Innovation Centre: Rural Enterprise, at Newcastle University, is conducting a survey of over 4,000 rural and farming businesses to understand rural resilience in the face of the pandemic.
    • 93% of off-grid rural households would not be able to afford the typical cost of a heat-pump system, according to a survey published in the Environment Journal. This could impact on the UK's ability to reduce carbon emissions, as 20% come from heating buildings.


    View from Westminster

    A White Paper - a precursor to legislation - on Levelling Up will be published by the Government later this year. Plans for raising living standards, increasing opportunities and expanding the private sector will sit alongside recovery initiatives for hospitals, schools and courts.

     

    In the year that the UK is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, the Government has announced there will be a new legally-binding target of 78% less carbon emissions (compared to levels in 1990) by 2035. By 2030, Cornwall aims to have reached net carbon zero. Government plans to make English household recycling collections easier and more consistent, including weekly food waste collections from 2023, have been announced as part of a new consultation. Free garden waste collection is also being considered.

     

    Internet access has become an increasingly vital utility during the pandemic, with many people working from home and students accessing lessons online. According to Ofcom, 1.5 million homes are still not connected to the internet - but a new Government initiative aims to make inroads into that number. A new national £5 billion scheme to connect hard to reach places with gigabit broadband will benefit properties in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in its first phase. 40,000-60,000 premises in East Cornwall and 30,000-50,000 premises in West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be included. Development will begin in the first half of 2022.

     

    As England moves towards Step 3 of the Covid-19 roadmap on 17 May, hopes for avoiding future lockdowns have been buoyed by the Health Secretary’s announcement that enough vaccine doses have been procured to begin a booster programme later this year, to help protect against new variants of Covid-19. Pubs and restaurants in Cornwall may welcome news that Government is reportedly to drop plans for compulsory vaccine certificates for the largest venues, such as theatres and sports arenas. In a boost for high streets across the Duchy, Cornwall will receive £609,639 from the Government’s £56 million “Welcome Back” fund, which will help councils support the reopening of high streets and coastal areas across the UK by promoting tourism, creating additional outdoor seating areas and installing signs to remind visitors about social distancing.

     

    A new debt respite scheme, Breathing Space, has been launched by the Treasury. After applying through a debt adviser, users of the scheme will be given legal protection from creditors for 60 days, with enforcement action suspended and most interest and penalty charges put on hold. It is estimated that 700,000 people in the UK will benefit each year. In Cornwall, over 5,700 people have consulted Citizens' Advice for debt advice since March 2020.

     

    Deep dive: The State of Cornwall

    The data story for Cornwall over the last year has been inextricably linked with the pandemic. Although Cornwall has one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 cases, in comparison with all English local authorities, the economic and social consequences have often had a greater impact here than in the rest of the UK, challenging the outcomes we are trying to achieve. We have had a higher rate of Self-Employment Income Support Scheme take-up than the national average and seen record numbers of people receiving Universal Credit. At the same time as many people in Cornwall are struggling to make ends meet, and concerned about their future employment, house prices in the Duchy have risen sharply over the last year, again higher than the national average. More people from urban areas may be seeing Cornwall as an attractive place to live, but this puts an already squeezed housing supply under greater pressure for local people, hindering our goal of ensuring a decent, secure and affordable home for everyone in Cornwall.

    The far lower volume of commuter traffic this year is contributing to our goal of reducing carbon emissions. However, post-pandemic journeys are unlikely to remain at these levels, requiring additional measures if our goal of a net carbon zero Cornwall is to be realised. As we work towards a safer Cornwall, we can see that reports of violent crimes have fallen compared to 2020, but this may be an artificial decline resulting from Covid-19 restrictions. Sadly, domestic abuse reports have risen, as have reports of anti-social behaviour. 

    Covid-19 rates

    New cases of Covid-19 continue to be comparatively low, but have spread across all age groups. Numbers of patients in hospital with Covid have dropped substantially from 154 on 2 February to 32 on 27 February. As of early March, over 216,000 people in Cornwall have had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Read more here.

    Adult social care and mental health

    Referrals for adult social care have steadily increased since October, and the Council continues to work to create extra capacity for independent living at home. There was a drop in safeguarding concerns expressed in November, similar to the first national lockdown. Demand for mental health services increased during last summer, and is likely to continue to remain high due to pressures on individual finances, housing and isolation.

    Benefits and labour market

    Just under 50,000 people in Cornwall received Universal Credit in January, the highest ever level, with slightly more women than men in receipt of the benefit. In February, there were over 2,600 job vacancies in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, higher than in February 2020. 36% of vacancies are in the health and social care sector. Read more here.

    Furlough and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

    People in Cornwall claiming furlough in January 2021 rose by nearly 11,000, to 44,000: a rise of 32% since December 2020. St Ives, St Austell and Newquay have the highest furlough take-up rate in the Duchy, at 22%. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for November-January had a 60% take-up rate in Cornwall, compared to 65% in August-October. This is several percentage points higher than the national take-up rate. Read more here.

    House prices

    House prices in Cornwall have risen 11.5% since December 2019, compared to a national rise of 7.1%, with the average house price in Cornwall standing at £262,639 in December 2020, compared to the national average of £251,500. Affordability and availability of housing are likely to remain under pressure, as more people move away from urban to rural locations. Read more here.

    Traffic

    A30 traffic at the start of 2021 was at its lowest volume since May 2020. Commuter volumes in January and February 2021 were at 45% of pre-pandemic levels, with retail and recreational journeys rising slightly during February to 50% of the pre-pandemic baseline. New vehicle registrations in Cornwall between January-October 2020 were at their lowest rate for a decade, at just under 10,000. Read more here.

    Community feedback 

    Complaints from the public in Cornwall about non-Covid-secure business or business closures fell by 46% between January and February this year, to 335. 475 business closure compliance visits were carried out by the Covid enforcement team in February, identifying 230 non-compliant businesses. The top sectors not complying were accommodation providers, takeaway outlets and food retailers. 30 Covid street marshals assist with compliance across 15 towns. Read more here

    Crime 

    Domestic abuse reported to the police has risen between January 2020-January 21 but has plateaued since October 2020. An increasing proportion has been linked to alcohol since the start of the pandemic. Reported violent crimes decreased by 12% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, reflecting Covid-19 restrictions. Reported anti-social behaviour is much higher than before the pandemic: 26% of incidents in January 2021 were Covid breaches. Read more here

    Child welfare

    The number of child welfare referrals in Cornwall has substantially increased between June 2020 (31 referrals per 10,000 people) and February 2021 (45 referrals per 10,000 people), although February's rate is lower than the peak of 55.9 referrals per 10,000 people in December 2020. Requests for Early Help have followed the same pattern of a peak in December 2020 (1,100 requests) compared to a low of 590 in June 2020, with this February's numbers somewhat decreased at 807.

    Education: 16-18

    Overall participation in education of young people in year 12 and 13 remained consistent between February 2020 and February 2021, at just under 91% of the population. The number of apprenticeships for year 13 over the same period slightly declined, while the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) remained very similar over the same period, at just over 5%.

     

    Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 9am on Monday 10 May. 

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 4 May, 2021

    3 months ago
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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 12:00 pm on 29 April. 

    Covid-19 

    • As of 28 April, a total of 14,208 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 469 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. (Statistics provided by Public Health England.) 
    • The Government has announced that enough vaccine doses have been procured to begin a booster programme later this year, to help protect against new variants of Covid-19
    • 98% of people in the UK aged 70 to 84 now have Covid-19 antibodies.

    Digital

    • Research by Ofcom has found that the proportion of UK homes without internet access fell from 11% at the start of the pandemic to 6% in March 2021. 1.5 million homes are still not connected. 20% of children did not have access to a suitable device for home learning over the last year, with 3% unable to do any schoolwork due to not having a device.

    Economy

    • The UK economy is reportedly likely to see its strongest annual growth in several decades, with a predicted GDP expansion of 6.8%-7.8% this year.
    • The largest UK supporter of food banks, the Trussell Trust, has distributed a record 2.5 million food parcels over the last year: a 33% rise on the previous year and 128% higher than in 2015/16. Almost 1 million of the food parcels distributed over the last year went to children, a 36% rise on the previous year and 135% higher than in 2015/16.

    Education and children

    • A £200 million in-person summer schools programme for secondary schools will be rolled out across the UK this year, with a recommended focus on incoming year 7 pupils: although it will be up to individual schools who attends.
    • report from the Child Poverty Action Group has highlighted some of the persistent support gaps that exist for children and families affected by the pandemic. These include the loss of entitlement due to disability assessment delays; the treatment of earnings in universal credit; and problems experienced by families without a National Insurance number.  

    Environment

    • The Government has announced there will be a new legally-binding target of a 78% reduction in carbon emissions (compared to levels in 1990) by 2035. The new target incorporates the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions.

    Housing

    • The charity Centrepoint has published a report on youth homelessness. Centrepoint received 33% more calls to its helpline since March 2020. In FY 2019/2020, 121,000 young people sought help because they were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Just 40% had their homelessness successfully prevented or relieved.
    • The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has reported on the condition of housing in England. The number of private renters living in overcrowded homes doubled in November and December 2020, compared to 2019. Over one in seven private renters experience overcrowding, in contrast with one in 50 homeowners.

    Tourism

    • A pilot project, using cloud-penetrating satellite systems to produce live updates on congestion at tourism hotspots, will launch in Cornwall, the Lake District and Northern Ireland next year.

    Consultations 

    • Ofqual is seeking views on proposed guidance relating to reviews and appeals for GCSEs, AS, A levels and some vocational/technical qualifications for 2021. Deadline: 5 May.
    • The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is seeking views on the human rights implications of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Deadline: 14 May.
    • The Department for Education is consulting on the operating framework for flexi-job apprenticeships as a way to increase the number of apprentices in sectors where short-term or project-based contracts are typical. Deadline: 1 June.
    • The Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee is holding an inquiry into a new UK Space Strategy and UK Satellite Infrastructure, and is asking for written evidence from interested parties. Deadline: 23 June.
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 20 April, 2021

    4 months ago
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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 10:00 am on 19 April.

    Covid-19

    • As of 18 February, a total of 14,126 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 468 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. (Statistics provided by Public Health England.) 
    • Further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in England came into effect on 12 April, with the reopening of non-essential retail, personal care services such as hairdressers, outdoor hospitality and public buildings such as libraries. Commemorative events can now take place with up to 15 guests.
    • The committee which advises the Government on vaccinations has said that pregnant women should be offered Covid-19 jabs at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
    • A TUC study has found that factory workers have the highest Covid-19 mortality rate by role, adjusted for age, at 34 per 100,000. People in insecure work, such as zero-hours contracts, are twice as likely to die from Covid-19.
    • Employers of seasonal agricultural workers in the edible horticulture sector can register for free Covid-19 workplace testing for their employees.

    Economy

    • The Department for Work and Pensions has released a report on the number and percentage of low-income households, based on disposable income. In 2019-20, after housing costs, 1.1 million people in the South West (19% of the population) were estimated to be living in households with less than 60% of the UK median household income. This compares to 20% of individuals in England.
    • The Covid Winter Grant Scheme will be extended until 20 June, and renamed the Covid Local Support Grant. £40 million of additional funding will be provided to local authorities to give targeted support to disadvantaged families.

    Education and children

    • Ofsted has announced that it will not return to a full programme of graded inspections until September, but will be carrying out visits in the summer term to provide assurance about how well students are catching up.
    • All university students who have not yet returned to in-person teaching will be able to do so in Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, no earlier than 17 May.
    • The Children’s Commissioner for England has launched The Big Ask, a listening exercise for children, which runs until 19 May. The Childhood Commission will use the survey results to inform its work on identifying and removing obstacles stopping children from reaching their full potential.

    Equality and diversity

    • Research by the Office for National Statistics shows the pandemic has different impacts on men and women. Women are significantly more likely to show Covid-19 symptoms after 5 weeks; are more likely to report their well-being was negatively impacted by homeschooling; and for younger women, are likely to have higher vaccine hesitancy.
    • Disabled people indicate more often than non-disabled people that the pandemic has impacted their health (35% compared to 12%), access to healthcare for non-Covid-19 issues (40% compared to 19%), well-being (65% compared to 50%) and access to essential items (27% compared to 12%), according to the latest Office for National Statistics analysis
    • Young black workers have reportedly been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with the unemployment rate for this group rising by 64% between the beginning and end of 2020, compared to 17% for young white workers.

    Housing

    • As of January 2021, the average house price in Cornwall was £265,775 in comparison to the UK average of £249,309, according to the Land Registry House Price Index. House prices rose 1.4% compared to December 2020, despite falling 0.5% nationally in the same period.

    Consultations 

    • A Parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into jobs, growth and productivity after the pandemic, and is calling for evidence from all interested parties. Deadline: 17 May.
    • The Department of Health and Social Care is seeking views on whether Covid-19 vaccination should be a condition of deployment for people working in older adult care homes. Deadline: 21 May.
    • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wants to know about consumers’ experiences with broadband connectivity in rural and remote parts of the UK. Deadline: 11 June.
    • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is seeking views on the arrangements that have allowed local authorities to hold remote and hybrid meetings during the pandemic. Deadline: 17 June.
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 6 April, 2021

    4 months ago
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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 10:00am on 1 April.

    Covid-19

    • As of 31 March, a total of 14,052 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 464 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. (Statistics provided by Public Health England.) 
    • England has moved to the next stage of the Covid-19 restriction “roadmap”. Outdoor gatherings of 6 people or 2 households are now permitted, including in private gardens. Formally organised outdoor sports can now take place, involving any number of people. 
    • Parents and carers of children who have been advised to self-isolate will now be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.
    • An Office for National Statistics survey shows that over 1 million people in the UK reported having symptoms of long Covid, in the 4 weeks to 6 March.
    • A survey for Public Health England has reportedly found that under 25% of people with Covid-19 symptoms get a test, and only around 50% of those with symptoms fully self-isolate.

    Economy

    • The Treasury has announced a series of proposed changes to the UK tax system, including legislation to prevent second home-owners from registering for business rates unless the property is a genuine holiday let.
    • New research led by Newcastle University has found that the welfare system does not deal equitably with the irregular and volatile nature of rural incomes, making residents in rural areas more vulnerable to poverty.
    • A Government-funded scoping study into Cornish lithium will assess if it is feasible to develop a sustainable UK supply chain by constructing an extraction plant to produce low-carbon lithium hydroxide from a hard rock source in St Austell.

    Education

    • As a snapshot, on 25 March, 99.8% of state-funded education settings in England were open, with 90% of students attending in-person education. 84% of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) attended in-person on the same day. 
    • report by the Local Government Association has found that existing educational inequalities and learning gaps have been worsened by the pandemic to the extent that they will not be remedied by a rapid “catch up” programme.

    Equality and diversity

    • The independent report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has found that racial inequities in education and jobs have narrowed in the UK, although inequalities remain at the highest levels of employment. 
    • Official statistics show 14.5 million people - a record number - were living in poverty in the UK in the year to March 2020. 4.3 million children - 31% of all children in the UK - were living in relative poverty (calculated against median income).

    Housing

    • A Parliamentary committee has recommended that multiple short-notice extensions to the ban on evictions during the pandemic are replaced with a “coherent exit plan”. The committee also suggested that Government should create a support system to deal with rent arrears that have built up over the last year.

    Justice

    • A Parliamentary committee has published a report on the impact of Covid-19 on the courts and tribunal system, finding that the shift to remote hearings was hardest for the most vulnerable people involved in the justice system. The pandemic has also exacerbated barriers to accessing legal representation.

    Consultations 

    • Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is holding an inquiry into adult social care, including the way it is overseen, financial sustainability and the impact of Covid-19. Evidence can be submitted until 12 April 2021.
    • The Home Office is consulting on changes to the asylum system and policies on illegal migration. Deadline 6 May 2021.
    • The Treasury has issued 25 consultations, discussion documents and calls for evidence concerning its overhaul of the tax system. There are a range of deadlines between 1 June and 13 July.
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  • Policy and Intelligence newsletter - 23 March 2021

    4 months ago
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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 0900 on 22 March. 

    Covid-19

    • As of 21 March, a total of 13,908 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 465 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. (Statistics provided by Public Health England.) 
    • The UK medicines regulator has confirmed that available evidence does not suggest the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clots.
    • Shielding advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people is to stop from 1 April.
    • Prominent health charities are calling for people with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions to take up Covid-19 vaccination offers.

    Economy

    • The Covid-19 Insight Dashboard shows St. Ives, St. Austell and Newquay had the highest furlough take-up rate of 22% as of January 2021, with Truro and Falmouth seeing the greatest increase since December 2020 (to 19%).

    Education

    • 94% of primary school and 89% of secondary school children were having in-person teaching as of 15 March, the highest rate since the start of the pandemic.
    • Households of children attending nurseries, and nursery staff, can now access regular lateral flow tests.

    Environment

    • Forest for Cornwall and Defra have announced a new collaboration, the National Woodland Creation Partnership pilot, which aims to improve regional tree planting. 

    Equality and diversity

    • Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights the experiences of low-income families in the first six months of the pandemic, making recommendations on jobs, social security, housing, the digital divide, and access to information and support.  

    Housing

    • The Covid-19 Insight Dashboard shows that the average house price in Cornwall is around £11,000 higher than the UK average, with prices increasing by 11.5% since December 2019, compared to 7.1% for the UK. Pressures on the local housing market as a result of the pandemic are likely to be seen in some areas as demand exceeds supply.

    Transport 

    • Highways England has issued a call for smaller, local companies to participate in its Chiverton to Carland Cross upgrade, which will see 9 miles of dualling on the A30. So far, 65 businesses have expressed an interest, 60% of them from Cornwall.

    Consultations

    • The Home Office has reopened a consultation on crimes considered as violence against women and girls. This will inform the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. Deadline 26 March 2021.
    • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking views on possible changes to the bovine tuberculosis policy. Deadline 21 April 2021.        
    • The Treasury is consulting on raising the minimum pension age from 55 to 57 in 2028 and seeking views on the proposed protection regime. Deadline 22 April 2021.
    • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking views on changes to the “Flood Re” scheme. Deadline 26 April 2021.
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 16 March, 2021

    5 months ago
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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 1000 on 15 March. 

    Covid-19

    • As of 14 March, a total of 13,818 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 461 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. (Statistics provided by Public Health England.)
    • New analysis of rapid lateral flow tests shows fewer than 1 in 1,000 tests give a false positive.
    • Homeless people and rough sleepers will now be included in vaccine priority group six, as they are more likely to have undiagnosed conditions and lack regular healthcare access. 
    • A cross-party Parliamentary committee has criticised the Government for failing to adequately explain data used to support crucial decisions during the pandemic.

    Census

    • Cornwall Council has launched the Let’s Tell Them We’re Cornish/Leveryn Dhedha Agan Bos Kernowyon campaign to encourage everyone who identifies as Cornish to say so on the 2021 Census. Respondents can tick the box marked ‘other’ under the nationality, ethnicity and language questions and then write ‘Cornish’.

    Economy

    • Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the UK’s GDP shrank by 2.9% in January following lockdown measures, 9% below GDP levels in February 2020.

    Elections

    • 25% of the population are reportedly less likely to vote at a polling station due to the pandemic, and 73% would like voting in May’s elections to be made easier, according to a survey by the National Education Union and campaigning group Hope Not Hate.

    Environment

    • Cornwall Council has been awarded nearly £300,000 from the Woodland Trust to contribute to Forest for Cornwall’s aim of planting 8,000 hectares of woodland in the coming years. Cornwall is one of eleven local authorities to benefit from the Emergency Tree Fund.
    • Drilling for a 3-mile geothermal well at the Eden Project, as the first step to providing  renewable energy, will reportedly begin in mid-May, following delays caused by the pandemic. Funded by Cornwall Council, the European Regional Development Fund and an institutional investor, the project aims to remove Eden’s carbon footprint by 2023.

    Equality and diversity

    • Social Mobility Foundation research shows 56% of the public believe the pandemic has increased social inequality.
    • ONS analysis shows women’s well-being was more negatively impacted during the first year of the pandemic than that of men. Women were more likely to be furloughed, work from home much less and spend more time on unpaid domestic work than men.
    • An Institute for Government and Social Security Advisory Committee joint report on lessons learned from the pandemic has recommended that changes are made to Universal Credit and re-training, with a wider reassessment of the aims of the benefits system. 
    • The Traveller Movement’s new report examines access to education for members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Recommendations cover educational provision at 14-16 years, vocational qualifications, traineeships and apprenticeships, A-levels and ethnicity-based bullying.

    Housing

    • The current ban on bailiff enforced evictions has been extended again, until 31 May. Landlords will continue to be required to give 6 months’ notice to tenants before starting possession proceedings, until the same date.

    Local authorities 

    • The National Audit Office has found that, despite making a “major contribution to the national response to the pandemic”, local authorities’ financial positions are a “cause for concern”, with budgets balanced by making cuts to services and using reserves.

    Consultations

    • The Environment Agency has completed its preliminary generic assessment of the environmental aspects of General Nuclear System Limited’s UK Hualong pressurised (water) reactor (UK HPR1000) and wants your views on this assessment. Deadline 04 April 2021.
    • The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the proposal to transfer most assessments of civil and family legal aid bills of costs, from HM Courts and Tribunals Service to the Legal Aid Agency. Deadline 10 April 2021.
    • The Department of Health and Social Care wants your views on reforms to the Mental Health Act to make decisions about care more patient-centred. Deadline 21 April 2021.      
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