Councils agree to support the creation of a local bank to support the local economy
Both South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councillors have pledged their support for the creation of a local financial institution, a local bank for local people.
The new venture, which is yet to be named, would be the first ever high street bank dedicated to Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset (Subject to regulatory approvals).
The bank, known for now as South West Mutual, would be owned by its members and would pursue only what is in the customers’ best interests. Unlike national financial institutions, the Mutual would not engage in financial speculation, or pay huge bonuses to staff for selling financial products.
Cllr John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council, explains why the Council is supporting this initiative: “I am really interested by this proposal and the benefits it could offer our communities. We all know that the local branches are being lost at an astonishing rate, making it more difficult for older and more vulnerable people and trading businesses to access their finance or seek support. The South Hams has lost 13 bank branches since 2015, leaving major towns such as Dartmouth without any banks at all. We understand that banks have to move with the times and more business is done online, but who will support our high streets and market towns in the future?”
“We also know that our SME businesses can find it difficult to get funding. This proposal would see a new kind of banking institution, one that is not tied to the costly overheads of the National banks, who can use the latest technology because it is starting from scratch. We welcome the commitment of South West Mutual to be a permanent presence in the region and to serve our residents and businesses by building a branch network.”
Cllr Philip Sanders, Leader of West Devon Borough Council said: “Councils do not want to get into the business of banking but it is our business to support a thriving economy in West Devon.
We recognise that South West Mutual’s mission to serve our residents and smaller businesses and its commitment to financial inclusion are closely aligned with West Devon Borough Council’s own objectives and strategy and so we are delighted to be able to support them in the early stages of their application for a banking licence.”
Both Councils agree that this is one way that they can use some of the money generated from the Business Rates pilot to support the local economy without using money that has come from Council Tax Payers.
Each council will invest £50,000 to help support the formation of the new entity. The proposal is not without risk, but without the funding, the proposed benefits to the local economy may never be realised.
South Hams and West Devon are the two first local authorities in the area to pledge their support, leading the way for others who have also expressed an interest in this venture. More information can be found at: https://southwestmutual.co.uk/
It’s Safe to Talk – Suicide Intervention Briefings for Workers in South and West Devon
The first in a series of Suicide Intervention Briefings has been held at South Hams District Council.
The briefings are part of an initiative from the Community Safety Partnership (CSP), which includes South Hams and Teignbridge District Councils and West Devon Borough Councils, and are being held in conjunction with Public Health Devon and Action to Prevent Suicide.
Suicide is a global issue, and takes someone’s life every 40 seconds. In the UK it’s the biggest killer of young people and men under 50, and it’s estimated that two-thirds of people who take their own life do not approach their GP or health professional.
The Community Safety Partnership is working to reduce the number of suicides in their area, by helping people recognise and support those at risk.
To date over 300 people from a wide range of agencies have signed up to attend the briefings, where they will be given information on the realities of suicide and how simple conversations can made a huge difference in people’s lives. Those attending will receive information from organisations such as Samaritans, Devon Partnership Trust, Pete’s Dragons, Papyrus, Grass Roots.
Cllr Tom Holway, Chairman of South Hams District Council and its representative on the CSP, said: “It’s a sobering thought that the majority of deaths for men under the age of 50 is not disease or accident, but suicide. That means the majority of deaths are preventable. Many of our staff, from the contact centre to the housing advice team, come into contact with vulnerable people each day, and I hope that this training will give them the ability to recognise the signs of someone at risk of suicide, and intervene to prevent more tragic deaths.”
Cllr Robin Musgrave, CSP Representative for West Devon, said: “I’m very grateful to the CSP and Action to Prevent Suicide for delivering this training for our staff and others in the public sector. We share their vision for a world free from suicide, and we’re committed to helping reduce the stigma and raise awareness of this issue.”
Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s executive portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “The figures on suicide are staggering and saddening. I hope this training helps our staff, many of which deal with vulnerable people on a daily basis, identify and intervene where they see someone in crisis.”
Two sessions were held at South Hams District Council on Tuesday 27 November, with a further two sessions planned at West Devon Borough Council on Thursday 29 November. The Teignbridge sessions will be held on Friday 7 December and Thursday 17 January at their offices in Newton Abbot.
For more information about Action to Prevent Suicide, including training courses offered by them, please visit https://actiontopreventsuicide.org
Have your say on possible changes to SHDC Council Tax discount scheme!
Every year local councils have to take a look at their existing Council Tax Reduction scheme and make a decision whether to replace or revise it. Council Tax Reduction Schemes enables residents to apply for a discount on their Council Tax.
This year South Hams District Council is proposing a number of changes and have put together a list of options which they would like customers to comment on.
Cllr Hilary Bastone South Hams Executive Member for Customer First said: “This year we are proposing a number of changes. This is because we have now brought in Universal Credit across the whole District and our Council Tax Reduction scheme needs to change to reflect how Universal Credit works. We also want to make it easier and clearer for customers to understand the process and keep on top of any changes in their own circumstances.”
One of the proposed changes is the introduction of a simple grid with benefit bands, which will replace the current complex benefit assessment, making it easier for customers to see and manage their discount.
This proposed change and 10 others, including limiting the number of dependent children considered on a claim, and disregarding carer’s allowance which is currently taken into account when the discount is calculated, can be viewed on the Council’s engagement portal. All customers are encouraged to read the information and fill in a short survey with their thoughts.
Cllr Bastone continued: “When you make changes to any benefit scheme, there will inevitably be some people who gain more and others who get a little less. We are keen that these changes should reflect the changes across our whole benefit system and bring this scheme inline, to make it clearer easier and fairer for everyone. On the survey, and the engagement portal, we have clearly explained the benefits and drawback of all the proposals to make it easier for people to add their comments and reach an informed opinion.”
In April 2013, the Council Tax Benefit Scheme was replaced by a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Council Tax Benefit had been funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and supported people on low incomes by reducing the amount of Council Tax they must pay.
The Council Tax Reduction scheme is determined locally by District Councils rather than the Department of Work and Pensions. Although the Government initially provided funding for the scheme, the funding has reduced each year in line with the reduction in Revenue Support Grant provided to councils. From 2019 no funding will be provided for the scheme.
People can claim Council Tax Reduction if they are on certain benefits. The current scheme requires all working age applicants to pay a minimum of 20% of their Council Tax (a maximum level of support of 80%). Applicants in receipt of income based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support and Income Rated Employment and Support Allowance receive the maximum level of support. Others receive a level of Council Tax Reduction based on their income and other factors.
This fund is a pilot for NEW Devon CCG area. Do you have a good idea and want to support people in your community? Need help in getting a small amount of funding? Then Devon Community Grants may be able to help.
DCG provide small grants – up to £300 and you don’t need to be a group to apply –you can be an individual with a good idea for your community.
There are two closing dates for applications:
- Friday 23rd November 2018
- Thursday 31st January 2019
More information can be found here – Devon Grants Fund – overview and application form 19.9.18
If you have any questions, or suggestions, about the Community Grants Fund please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org 01626 326130
Devon County Council have issued a notice that Church Hill will be closed to traffic between the 9th Oct and 12th Oct for resurfacing work. The full notice can be viewed here – Traffic Notice – Church Hill – Oct 18
Devon Country Council have issued the following notice of roadworks on Fore Street in October, 180803 TTRO1826599 On Site Notice .
South Hams District Council is looking at new ways to move forward with their recycling and waste service.
The South Hams has enjoyed a high recycling rate for some years and is currently second in the Devon ratings, however changes in legislation, rising market costs and decreases in the value of recycling material, make it more and more difficult to meet ever-changing needs without a change to our service.
Many other councils already enjoy a weekly collection of recycling materials from the kerbside. In order to improve our current service we need to increase the number of materials we collect from the kerbside weekly to include glass, textiles, plastic pots, tubs and trays and offer a weekly food waste collection service.
The Council is looking to align its service with our Devon neighbours to make sure we divert as much useful recycling material as possible from incineration. This means, a service will be designed which has the greatest environmental and cost benefits we can operationally achieve, and which is similar in design to that of other councils in the area.
By having a similar recycling and waste system across the county, it will make the service easier for residents if they move between authorities. It also helps us to benefit from economies of scale when selling recycling materials and helps the County Council to provide cost effective disposal routes.
The move to the Devon Aligned Service is likely to be in place by the end of September 2020 to allow time for changes to take place with the least disruption to residents.
A procurement project is also currently underway to look at testing our frontline services for recycling and waste, street and toilet cleaning in the market place. This means a company could be contracted to deliver these services on behalf of South Hams District Council if they can offer better value for money and a better quality of service can be achieved. The Council is doing this to improve both the cost and quality of services to householders.