Can it be right or fair that the level of Revenue Support Grant (RSG) for an average London Borough is £224.5 per head whilst the level of RSG for Cambridgeshire County Council is £23.49 per head?
Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, is calling for the views of all our MPs on this issue as the Council continues its fight for a FairDeal4Cambs.
This funding inequality led to the Council’s General Purposes Committee on 23 January 2018 unanimously – yet reluctantly - proposing a 2.99% council tax increase plus the 2% Adult Social Care precept to Full Council which will meet on 6 February 2018.
“At present we receive £75m less in Government funding than an average London Borough and £13.7m less than an average County Council. We are the fastest growing county in the UK yet the third lowest funded County Council in the country. If the outdated and broken funding formula had been rectified by now or if transitional funding was appropriately maintained, we would not need to consider whether to increase council tax in Cambridgeshire." Cllr Count told the meeting.
If agreed, this adds an additional £1.14 per week to the tax bill of a Band D household – before the precepts are added from district councils, police and fire authority.
The Council commissioned an independent report from Grant Thornton, which has proven our costs to be “Very Low”. We have stretched our plans for commercialisation and investment to return more than £301m over the medium to longer term, and the Grant Thornton report also shows how well the council is maximising the income it raises.
All MPs were invited to attend a County Council’s Network Briefing last week, looking at how the RSG settlement affects UK Shire Authorities and the issues surrounding the loss of transitional grant funding.
Following on from your feedback at the breakfast meeting in September 2017, we have arranged future Cambridgeshire MP briefings in London and after Prime Minister's Questions. Cllr Steve Count and Chief Executive Gillian Beasley will be hosting the meeting at:
Room M, Portcullis House
Wednesday 7 February 2018, 1pm
Steve and Gillian are eager to hear the views of Cambridgeshire MPs on the county's current budget situation, its fight for fairer funding - and discuss what further actions each will be taking on raising - at the highest level - the funding formula, the proposed loss of transitional funding and the help they can offer the county and combined authority in being considered successfully for the next Business Rates Retention scheme.
Further meetings will be held on:
- Wednesday 21 March 2018
- Wednesday 20 June 2018
New senior appointments in the Place and Economy Directorate
The following appointments have been made to the new Assistant Director positions within our Place and Economy Directorate (formerly Economy, Transport and Environment Directorate (ETE)):
- Assistant Director for Highways - Richard Lumley - [email protected]
- Assistant Director for Environment and Commercial - Sass Pledger - [email protected]
- Assistant Director for Culture and Community - Christine May - [email protected]
Bob Menzies will be Acting Assistant Director for Infrastructure and Growth until the end of May 2018 and Graham Hughes remains as Executive Director for Place and Economy.
In addition to this, Jeremy Smith and Stuart Walmsley have both been appointed as Group Managers in the Infrastructure and Growth Directorate.
These appointments became effective from 1 January 2018.
With news this month that rough sleeping numbers in the UK have risen for the seventh year in a row, Cambridgeshire County Council is pioneering an innovative support project to cut homelessness in the county.
Our Counting Every Adult (CEA) Service featured on BBC Look East last week. The initiative, which is at the forefront of changing the lives of people experiencing a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, criminality and mental health issues, is to take part in a prestigious five year national project. The service has helped around 100 people since it began in 2011 and has now been asked to join the national Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Programme along with 25 other areas to establish the most effective ways to help our most vulnerable and challenging adults. In the programme, Danny, who was homeless for five months, explained how he was helped by the service.
The past 12 months has seen a month on month increase in the number of children coming into Cambridgeshire County Council’s care – numbers currently standing at 678 (as of January 2018) - the Council’s challenge continues to be to find enough of the right care for vulnerable children and young people, in the right place, at the right time.
More than 35 potential carers have already responded to our relaunched Supported Lodgings scheme which featured on BBC Look East and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in December 2017. Supported Lodgings carers offer advice and guidance to help young people leaving care to prepare for adulthood and independent living. This opportunity is particularly suitable for people who live near good transport links and near colleges providing post 16 education and training.
This January and February we are hoping to inspire people who want to do something new in 2018 to consider fostering. The campaign is based around busting myths around who can and can’t foster and to show potential carers that there is a type of fostering that suits them.
For more information about fostering, including Supported Lodgings, please visit our fostering webpage.
Ely to Cambridge Transport Study
The Ely to Cambridge Transport Study is a wide-ranging multi modal study which has made recommendations on the transport schemes needed to accommodate the major development planned at a new town north of Waterbeach, Cambridge Northern Fringe East (CNFE) and the Cambridge Science Park (CSP). The study has three strands:
- Strand 1 looks at the overall transport requirements on the corridor
- Strand 2 looks at the specific requirements for growth at Waterbeach
- Strand 3 looks at the specific requirements for growth at CNFE / CSP
The study has confirmed the existing policy position that a multi modal package of measures will be needed for the whole corridor. The recommendations from the study will be considered by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, the County Council's Environment and Economy Committee, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority in February 2018.
February 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first British women to get the vote. #Vote100 - to mark this momentous date, on 1 February 2018, all female Members and officers at Cambridgeshire County Council are invited to be part of a special commemorative #Vote100 photo on the steps of Shire Hall with Chief Executive Gillian Beasley and Council Chairman Mandy Smith.
This will then be followed by a #Vote100 Q&A session in the Council Chamber entitled "How I became who I am today" where the speakers will be:
- Gillian Beasley - Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council
- Mary Beard - Cambridge Professor of Classics
- Lily Cheng - Founder of The Rising Network
- Lara Jaffey - CEO of The Kite Trust
- Norah Al-Ani - CEO of Cambridge Rape Crisis
Other services celebrating #Vote100 include Cambridgeshire Archives and the Cambridgeshire Collection which has created a display celebrating the work and achievements of Cambridgeshire's suffragette movement. The display is currently outside the Council Chamber in Shire Hall and will be moving to Cambridge Central Library and then to other venues across the county. Libraries are working with the Huntingdon and Peterborough WI Federation to create a community curated book collection of 100 titles that celebrate women. The books will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction and be for adults and children and they plan to have a couple of sets which can 'tour' the libraries throughout the year. They will also be working with the BBC Radio Book Club which has the #Vote100 theme for February.
To celebrate the LGBT History Month in February 2018, there will be a raising of the rainbow flag at Shire Hall also on 1 February. Other services celebrating LGBT History Month include Libraries with a themed book collection, Archives running a talk on LGBT historical sources and Cambridgeshire Race Equality and Diversity Service (CREDS) creating a virtual flag across schools.