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Cornwall Gets Say on Bill

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4:22pm 20th June 2014

Calls for a Cornish Assembly could go to Parliament.

St Ives' MP Andrew George says it is one of three things he could pick for his Private Members Bill.

Also on the list ... a safe staffing in hospitals bill and one for affordable homes.

We are being asked to have our say before he chooses: "Coming top in the Private Members' Bill ballot is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create new legislation that will benefit not just Cornwall and Scilly but the whole country.

"It has been tough narrowing down over 30 policy proposals to just three different draft Private Members' Bills prior to a final decision. My three shortlisted proposals are: 1) establish a Cornish Assembly with powers that take the decisions for the benefit of the people of Cornwall; 2) provision to support affordable housing and the intermediate housing market, while regulating the second homes market; 3) provision for safe staffing in hospital wards and benchmark standards for home care workers.

"I urge local people to let me know what they think. I need to announce a final decision on the Private Members' Bill by Wednesday 25th June. I look forward to what has to be an all too brief consultation period and I welcome constructive input and correspondence towards shaping the final decision."

Mr George's three proposals are:-

1. Cornish Assembly Bill
This would introduce powers equivalent to that of the Welsh Assembly which could be drawn down over time to a new Cornish Assembly which, in turn, would build on the powers currently available to Cornwall Council - and to the Council of the Isles of Scilly should the Islands choose to become involved in such devolution.
2. Affordable Homes Bill
This would provide new tools to improve ability of local communities to meet their need for affordable homes for local families, including:
i) Extension of the Governments 'Help to Buy' scheme or the creation of a new Affordable Homes Investment Bank to underpin the 'intermediate' market (shared equity/shared ownership/mutual housing) to construct a new lower rung on the housing ladder for those who cannot afford the full cost of full market ownership housing.
ii) Negating an effect of the spare room subsidy/'bedroom tax' - on basis that poor families are as entitled to a stable family home as better off families.  This would limit the bedroom tax to exclude those who have been living at an address for more than 3 years and where disabled adaptations have been completed.
iii) The introduction of a new 'Use Class' in the planning Use Classes Order for 'non-permanent residential use' (second homes) which would empower local planning authorities to control the number of second homes in their area.
iv) Enhance powers of compulsory purchase for local authorities where either developers land bank development sites or fail to use sites for which planning permission has been granted but developments not advanced or where need for affordable homes cannot be met on 'exception' sites through community land auctions/trusts.
3. Health Care Standards Bill
This would introduce new benchmarks and standards in health care through:
i) A new mandatory registered nurse to patient ratio on acute hospital wards of 'never more than eight' patients to each registered nurse (excluding the nurse in charge) at any point in a 24 hour period; and for these levels to be reviewed on patient safety grounds and clearly displayed.
ii) The introduction of a new 'benchmark standards' for home care workers covering pay, training, travel times, travel reimbursement and setting minimum limits on the amount of time that home care workers are expected to complete tasks for those they are caring.
iii) Introducing new powers to introduce NHS registered nurses in the community, including in private nursing homes where the NHS is paying for nursing care.  This would embed public sector NHS support in an otherwise largely private sector run service.
iv) And other measures.

4:22pm 20th June 2014

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