Month: October 2019

Fire station closures are getting to be like hospital bed closures, a litmus test of politicians’ support for local communities – my post on the Tories blocking discussion was viewed 932 times on the day it was published.

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Information for Devon and Somerset Conservative councillors who may be thinking of voting through the fire station closures. I’ve just checked my site stats and this post on how the Tories blocked the County Council discussing the closures was the most viewed ever in a single day on this site – and it’s now been viewed nearly 1400 times. Vote for this at your peril!

Seaton Primary School lost out £500k, Colyton £250k, Beer over £100k over last 5 years. Axe Valley lost £1m and Colyton Grammar nearly £900k. ‘Fair funding’?

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A new interactive map from schoolcuts.org.uk shows the following losses:

Seaton Primary lost £501k, or £267 per pupil per year, from 2015-16 to 2019-20. The site summarises: ‘Class sizes are above average and increasing. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers. Funding is below average.’

Colyton Primary lost £246k or £343 per pupil.

Beer Primary lost £117k or £101 per pupil.

At secondary level, Axe Valley lost £1m or £394 per pupil. ‘Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 20.4 pupils per class in 2015 to 23.0 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 4 teachers.’

Colyton Grammar lost £883k or £239 per pupil, equivalent to 3 teachers.

Winter ‘chaos’ looming at Wonford as RD&E posts worst ever summer performance in A&E

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Devon Live reports that the RD&E has posted its worst-ever summer A&E figures, with only 72 per cent of patients seen within 4 hours compared to a 95 per cent target. There are fears of an even worse situation once winter sets in …

Until now, A&E performance (while failing to meet targets) was the one key NHS target on which the Devon NHS was actually better than the national average – cancer care and general waiting lists were already well below par.

Our local NHS is creaking at the seams – we need more doctors; more nurses; more beds (I was told this week that there is a ‘severe beds crisis’ across the hospital).

Despite Boris Johnson’s frequent hospital photo-opportunities, his proposals for the NHS amount to refurbishing a mere 6 hospitals across the country (none of them in Devon) and do nothing to address the real issues.

New Statesman analysis shows that Johnson’s Government sees Claire Wright as threat in East Devon constituency

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East Devon is one of the seats the Tories are most concerned to defend from rivals. According to analyst Stephen Bush‘Noteworthy is that – as is echoed privately by many Conservatives from the area – the government regards Claire Wright, of the independent campaign in East Devon, as a serious challenger for the seat.’

No Deal Brexit ‘as bad as Foot and Mouth’ for South West, business and council leaders say

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So on Thursday DCC leaders refused to answer my questions about No Deal Brexit. Yet the previous day, it turns out, the Heart of the South West Joint Committee and Local Economic Partnership – both of which include DCC – issued the statement below. Either the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing … or the DCC leadership are so desperate to avoid public divisions in the Tory group that they won’t even claim credit  in the Council chamber for finally speaking out as I have been asking them to do!

This should also give Neil Parish MP food for thought after his inane comments the previous day.

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So: Devon farmers lose their tariff-free access to Europe on October 31st, and gain a ‘glorious future’ in US markets … when? Does @neil_parish really believe in this fantasy?

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In Parliament on 3rd October:

Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

I very much welcome the Prime Minister’s statement. May I also welcome his enthusiasm, because for two and a half years there has been so much negativity in this House that we just cannot get this deal through? For goodness’ sake, let us get the deal done. Does he believe it will then lead on to a good trade deal, so that farming, agriculture and business will not have to pay tariffs to the European Union and we can export across the whole of the world?

Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Of course. I can tell my hon. Friend that Somerset lamb, cattle and beef—[Interruption.] I should say Devon, as he represents Tiverton. [Interruption.] He does farm in Somerset, so I should say that Somerset and Devon’s beef and lamb will have the opportunity to find export markets that they are prevented from finding by our current arrangements, such as those in the United States and indeed elsewhere. We have a glorious future ahead of us if we just take the first few steps.