• What has absolutely incensed me, though, has been the announcement on cuts to people’s benefits who are ill and disabled - and then using that money to fund tax breaks for the well-off. Apart from the announcement being astonishingly and utterly shameless in its “no one can touch us attitude”, it also gives a lie to Osborne’s perpetual attack on the state, until now billed as vital…. … otherwise known as austerity.  This casually cruel approach appears to be based on the view “well they won’t vote for us anyway so why should we care?” To the majority of us –[...]

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    The amount is almost the same as 10 times the water held in the London Serpentine lake in Hyde Park. The news comes as the forestry industry launches a petition calling on the Government for more tree planting to prevent flooding. Last week the Environment Agency announced that planting trees around rivers could reduce the height of flooding in towns by up to 20 per cent. The research (link below) which was carried out by Treeconomics and Forest Research, was commissioned by the Mayor of London’s office and the Forestry Commission. It was endorsed by national bodies including Natural [...]

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    I write in reply to the attempt by Tim Veneer (actually Tim Venner) to smear my name in last week’s Pulman’s View. Of course, Mr Venner was the conservative candidate for Ottery Town in last year’s EDDC elections. Oddly, he criticises me for trying to get West Hill Road reopened and for opposing school crossing patrol cuts. Then he objects to me not aligning myself to a “particular political philosophy or ideology” in last year’s general election. Presumably, he means not aligning myself to a PARTY.  Perhaps after reading this letter Mr Venner might research the meaning [...]

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    My motion – set out below, proposes that the council go a step further than legally required to by government and instead adopt stricter guidance that applies to central government when it comes to dealing with suppliers. Currently, the council must ensure that suppliers are not tax evaders and acting illegally.  But central government operates under slightly stricter rules which require that their suppliers are also not aggressively avoiding paying their fair share of tax. The officer recommendation to my motion was largely that the council was doing what it was required to under law. [...]

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    Many committee members expressed their concern at the findings and I seconded a proposal to hold a formal scrutiny investigation into the issue. The first public speaker at the health and wellbeing scrutiny committee! Following my proposal (voted through at full council last month) that public speaking rights should be introduced at all four Devon County Council’s scrutiny committee meetings, today’s meeting heralded our first public speaker - Dot Taylor who addressed the committee on her campaign to try and save St John’s Court - a mental health centre in Exmouth. Her [...]

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    West Hill is a woodland village and the latest plans to fell a line of scots pines is a huge shame and quite wrong, in my view. I have objected as the Woodland Trust’s Tree Champion for Devon. Here’s my objection: Hi, I am commenting on this application as Devon County Councillor and Woodland Trust Tree Champion for Devon. My understanding is that seven of these nine prominent Scots Pines (photo attached) are proposed to be felled as part of this planning application My understanding from my role as a councillor with EDDC for four years, is that the standard procedure for planning [...]

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    “Since the Budget meeting on February 18, I have been contacted by hundreds of parents and grandparents – far more than took part in the two public consultations last year. “I have listened to these families and all the other people, including schools, who have been in contact to say: ‘Please keep our patrols’.I have heard from a lot of mums and dads who were deeply worried about their children’s safety and obviously that is paramount. “On reflection, I believe this was the wrong decision. Our budget is extremely tight but we will now find the money to fund the [...]

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