A strong and dynamic political leadership for Cornwall Council is essential, ensuring that elected councillors - and not unelected officials - are responsible for policy-making.
Progressives should not be afraid to reform the current “leader+cabinet” management of Cornwall Council, which severely restricts the influence of the elected councillors.
County Hall should be opened up to proper public scrutiny, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in democratic decision-making - restoring the powers of elected committees, and also the authority of the full council.
The foundation of this manifesto is the need to retain economic value and social cohesion in Cornwall. We shall do this by promoting our vision of the “pasty pound” – building on and developing “the Preston model” of local government, and how communities can retain wealth by taking control and working together.
We applaud those councillors who were responsible for Cornwall Council’s declaration, in January 2019, of a Climate Emergency, setting a target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.
We should encourage property developers to install solar panels, as a standard building regulations requirement, on all new homes.
We need the council to become a powerhouse of new ideas, working with central government to:
Retain VAT spent in Cornwall
Ring-fence Stamp Duty for new housing schemes in Cornwall
Introduce a Land Tax
Close the loophole which allows second-home owners to dodge council tax by registering as a small business, and then avoid business rates. As announced at our national party conference in September 2018, Labour would double council tax on second homes and non-primary residences. (NB: Need to clarify the definition and position of a commercial holiday-let, as distinct from a second home.)
We support the lowering of the age at which citizens can vote to 16. We also support the idea that Cornwall Council should test such a policy, for local council elections in Cornwall, at the first opportunity – possibly in time for the Cornwall Council elections in 2025.
This means that children born as recently as 2009 would be able to vote in those elections. The council should also investigate the possibility of setting up a permanent Youth Assembly in Cornwall.
Cornwall Council could set up a Cornwall Investment Bank, and work with central government to bring utilities such as water, transport and power distribution back under public ownership and control.