Plymouth Council

Election results for 2019

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Funding system 'costing NHS in Devon staff'

BBC Radio Devon

Devon is losing out on hundreds of NHS staff because the health secretary is misinformed about how the funding system works, according to the Labour leader of Plymouth City Council.

Tudor Evans said he had written to Matt Hancock asking him to look at the rules again.

Mr Evans said Devon was missing out on between £30m and £40m, and unitary authority area Plymouth on about £18m.

The Department of Health said most NHS staff were employed on national contracts, which meant they got the same basic pay no matter where they lived.

Hospital sign

Plymouth adopts 'food justice' plan to help the hungry

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Councillors have given the go-ahead for a plan aimed at ending hunger in Plymouth.

They voted to adopt a "food justice" strategy for the city to tackle the problem.

The city council heard an increasing number of people in the city were seeking help to avoid going hungry and Plymouth Foodbank had reported rising demand, handing out 8,509 food parcels in the 12 months to March, including to families with children.

It said the number getting help had been rising steadily over the last four years and, in 2018, more than 26,000 meals were provided by the city's soup runs.

A motion setting out the first steps in an action plan was approved at a meeting of the full council on Monday.

It was put forward by Councillor Chris Penberthy, a member of the council's ruling Labour cabinet member who has responsibility for tackling poverty.

The Labour-run council voted to:

  • Commit to food justice in Plymouth by nominating a cabinet member with responsibility of delivering food justice
  • Request the leader to ask the government to put into law its commitment to the United Nations goal of ending hunger by 2030
  • Set up a select committee to investigate the extent and causes of hunger in Plymouth and
  • Make recommendations about what can be done to tackle it
  • Work with partners to develop and implement a Food Justice Action Plan to eliminate hunger in Plymouth

LGBT+ education backed by councillors in Plymouth

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Children’s education in Plymouth should include awareness of LGBT+ relationships, councillors have declared.

The city council unanimously backed a proposal stating its support for children receiving “high quality, age-appropriate and rights-based relationships and sex education that is inclusive of LGBT+ relationships”.

LGBT+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual-plus, with the plus meaning inclusive of other groups.

Labour cabinet member Jon Taylor said the proposal had been brought forward following weeks of protests in Birmingham against LGBT education at a primary school and a recent hate-crime when two women were victims of a widely-publicised homophobic attack on a bus in London.

He also referred to recent comments from Devon-based MEP Ann Widdecombe, who triggered an outcry after saying she thought science might “produce an answer” to being gay.

Mr Taylor said: I don’t think we are going back to the bad old days, but I do think unless you stand up and be counted, there is a risk these horrific incidents could rise – that is why we have to push back.”

The motion, backed by Plymouth City Council at a meeting on Monday, said children should "have access to education about, and awareness of, the diverse world we and they inhabit" including the mix of family types common in modern Britain.

It added that children were entitled to relationships and sex education inclusive of LGBT+ relationships, and stated it was important for schools to have a "clear dialogue with parents about the necessity of inclusive education".

Local Elections 2019: Latest results in Devon

BBC Radio Devon

Devon's Local Election results have been coming in throughout the morning.

  • The Liberal Democrats gained 10 seats in North Devon. They have become the largest party taking 21 of the 42 seats, missing out on taking overall control of the council by a single seat, though one seat is still to be contested due to the death of one of the candidates.
  • Labour retained Plymouth and gained an extra seat. It was a difficult night for the Conservatives in the city, though. They dropped to third place behind UKIP in several wards.
  • Labour has retained control in Exeter. The Green Party won its first seat in the city, with Diana Moore winning in St Davids.
  • No party has won a majority in Torbay, although the Conservatives have the most seats with 15, leading the Liberal Democrats by two.

You can find more news, results, and reaction from Devon's local elections here.

New home plans rejected over lead levels

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Planners have refused permission for new homes near a former lead mine in Plymouth because of the risk to health from contaminated land.

The city council’s public health protection service objected to the plan for 38 homes off Tamerton Foliot Road.

Home plans

A report said the levels of lead were "still too high to allow development of this nature on this site given the current scheme".

It said the highest recorded level of lead on the site showed "significant possibility of significant harm" to future occupants.

Some samples from the site were more than four times the threshold for lead.

The report concluded that the site was unsafe to develop without measures to reduce the effect of the metal.

Planned fees increase for taxi drivers may be cut after objections

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Councillors are being given the option to set a lower increase in fees paid by Plymouth taxi drivers after an outcry at the size of a planned hike.

In mid-January the city council published a draft set of new fees for hackney carriage and private hire drivers which in some cases had gone up by more than 80%.

The size of the increase led to noisy protests by taxi drivers who twice drove in convoy through the city centre to highlight their opposition to the changes.

For hackney drivers, it was proposed that a one-year black cab licence would go from £210 to £342 and a one-year driver’s licence from £112 to £165. A one-year private hire vehicle licence would have gone from £117 to £170, with a one-year driver’s licence going from £82 to £120.

Taxi light

There were 82 objections to the original proposals published for consultation in mid-January, with most response saying they were too high, a report to the taxi sub-committee said.

Now officers have come up with alternative proposals, which would see a hackney carriage one-year vehicle licence go from £210 to £300, with a one-year driver’s licence up from £112 to £130.

A one-year licence for a private hire vehicle would rise from £117 to £145, with a one-year driver’s licence up from £82 to £110 instead of £120.

The two options will be considered by councillors on the taxi licensing sub-committee on Thursday.

Plymouth council tax rise of 2.99% proposed

Jenny Kumah

BBC South West politics reporter

A council tax rise of 2.99% has been proposed at a Plymouth City Council budget meeting.

If approved, the increase would mean an extra £43 a year on an average band D property.

Council leader Tudor Evans, of the Labour-led authority, said that a further £17m of savings needed to be found even with the increase as the government had cut funding cut by £750m since 2010.

Plymouth City Council budget report