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County Councillor Report (Apr 2022)

by Wendy Pattison

wendy.pattison@northumberland.gov.uk – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Photo portrait of Councillor Wendy Pattison

[All text and portrait photo provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 27 March 2022.]

HEDGELEY PARISH

Council Tax energy rebate          

As part of the governments initiative to help households with rising energy costs, they have announced a one-off £150 energy rebate for eligible households in 2022.

Eligibility 

You will receive £150 energy rebate if:

  • your property is in Council Tax band A to D (or band E where there is a disabled band reduction)
  • you are liable to pay Council Tax 
  • the property is your sole and main residence on 01 April 2022 

* If you receive council tax support you are still eligible for the £150 payment

You will not be eligible if:

  • your property is a second home 
  • your property is empty on 01 April 2022 
  • you are in Council Tax bands E to H (some band E properties are eligible where there is a disabled band reduction) 

How the £150 will be paid to you 

If you pay council tax by direct debit, we will use this information to pay £150 direct into your bank account. We aim to make payments by early May 2022. 

  • If we don’t have your bank account details, there will be an online form that you can use to give us your bank details. We will write to you when this is ready.
  • We are developing other options for those who cannot engage with our online process or who don’t use a bank account regularly. We will share this information when we have it 
  • Where we cannot find another way to pay someone the £150 they are eligible for, we will deduct it from their council tax account in September. 
  • Please Note. We can only pay the person(s) liable for council tax on the property 

People who share paying the bills 

Only one payment of £150 can be paid per property. Where the Council Tax is paid by direct debit the £150 will be paid to the account that is used to pay the Council Tax. Where the Council Tax is not paid by direct debit, customers will need to decide who is going to apply. We will pay whoever applies for the property, as long as the applicant is one of the liable parties for paying Council Tax.


What if I’m not eligible but I need help? 

  • We have been given a discretionary fund that enable us to help those living in properties in band E-H who need help 
  • We plan to use part of this to automatically extend the £150 payment to those living in properties in Bands E-H who currently receive council tax support 
  • We are currently waiting for answers from the government to various questions raised before we can take decisions on how to use the rest of the discretionary fund. 

Become the Heartbeat of your NHS

 If you’re passionate about the NHS, then joining Northumbria Healthcare as a member will give you the opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas about the way the trust deliver care to over half a million people across Northumberland and North Tyneside. Northumbria Healthcare is twice rated outstanding by the CQC and at the forefront of pioneering changes in the NHS, so it’s a great time to join. Membership is open to anybody aged 12 and over and you can be involved as much or as little as you like. As a member you will be informed about trust work, vote for and be able to stand as a governor as well as benefit from NHS discounts in shops and online at www.healthservicediscounts.com . It is free to become a member and you can opt out at any time. If you would like to join you can sign up online at https://www.northumbria.nhs.uk/get-involved/join-our-our-foundation-trust/become-a-member/

Thriving together – tackling inequalities in Northumberland

Banner image showing line drawings of small and large couples holding hands

Key stakeholders and senior leaders from the County Council, the NHS, voluntary and private sector including businesses came together for Northumberland’s first system wide Inequalities Summit.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how much worse off some groups of individuals and communities are than others.

Life expectancy at birth for men in Northumberland is 79.3 and 82.9 for women, a 3.6-year difference.

This gap widens between areas and gender. Depending on where you live in Northumberland, you could expect to live to between 73 to 85 for males (12-year difference) and 76 to 92 for females (16-year difference). This gap is the difference between areas with the lowest and highest life expectancy. The Summit saw guest speakers and round table discussions bringing together the ‘lived experience’ and data, sharing best practice and identifying those most disproportionately impacted by Covid to look at what we can do to mitigate against these persistent inequalities.

Northumberland’s Director of Public Health, Liz Morgan, said: “The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age are the most important factors in determining good health.

“By bringing inequalities into sharp focus today we can work together, with a collective drive, to address some of these issues and provide a fairer future for our residents.”

The Summit is the first of a series of conversations on inequalities and equity in Northumberland and it brought together a range of people from different organisations responsible for helping reduce these variations. Leader of Northumberland County Council, Glen Sanderson, said: “The link between health, social and economic factors is clear. By bringing key stakeholders together, we can reflect on everyone’s contribution to develop a Northumberland wide approach.

“We are committed to tackling inequalities and the summit was an important element of that commitment. Our aim is to establish key goals for an Inequalities Plan that can be delivered at scale over the coming years to level off and start to reduce the gap in healthy life expectancy.”

Robin Hudson, Medical Director of NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “By coming together today, it has given us the opportunity to explore how we can best work together. There are already lots of great things happening across the county, but there is always more we can do to improve the health of our residents and patients. “We recognise too, the impact the pandemic has had on our communities. It is important we understand and react to these new challenges and collaboration will be key in this”. 

One bag can make a difference as county backs litter pick

KEEP BRITAIN TIDY – The County Council is once again pledging its support as Keep Britain Tidy launches its annual Great British Spring Clean.

Photo of litter on the ground

This year’s mass campaign, from 25 March to 10 April, calls on families, neighbours, friends and colleagues to join forces and pledge to pick a bag of litter from nearby streets, beauty spots and beaches in order to protect our vibrant communities and precious wildlife habitats. 

It comes as the charity reveals taking eco action in the outdoors appears to be critical to the wellbeing of our communities, with significant benefits to people’s mental health. 

In a survey of people who took part in 2021, 86% said volunteering helped improve their mood, up from up 79% in 2020. More than half (52%) agreed it helped them meet new people and make friends, and a staggering 91% agreed they felt more pride in their local area after participating. 

Almost everybody surveyed (98%) agreed the campaign reduced the impact of litter on wildlife and the natural environment.  

During this year’s Great British Spring Clean, we are calling on everyone in Northumberland to harness the power of collective environmental action by taking on the #BigBagChallenge. “Whether it’s pledging to pick just one bag, or more, we can all carry out small acts of kindness – for our planet and for ourselves.” 

People can pledge to get involved at www.keepbritaintidy.org/gbspringclean

Bagged litter can be placed in the general household waste bin, with any recyclable items such as plastic bottles and drinks cans going in the recycling bin.

For larger amounts of litter volunteers can either deliver the bagged waste for disposal at one of the Council’s network of local Household Waste Recovery Centres, or alternatively make contact with the Council to agree collection arrangements.

Anyone wanting to request litter picking equipment from the council or arrange for the removal of bagged collected litter can contact: highwaysandneighbourhoodservices@northumberland.gov.uk 

Firefighters from Northumberland reach Poland

Ukraine flag

Four firefighters from Northumberland Fire and Rescue have handed over two fire engines to help Ukrainian emergency services. 

The team are part of the larger convoy made up of 22 vehicles carrying over 5000 items of life saving kit to support firefighters in the Ukraine. The convoy left Kent on 19 March 2022 and drove through France, Belgium and the Netherlands before arriving in Germany where they rested for the evening. 

The team then drove through Germany before crossing into Poland where the Polish Fire Service hosted them.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Council Leader for Northumberland County Council, said:

“Northumberland has shown it is a county that is standing with Ukraine during this heartbreaking time. We have come together to collect and provide much needed items for those fleeing the war in Ukraine, and now we have joined with others across the country to provide essential firefighting and lifesaving kit for those on the front line.

“I cannot thank those firefighters from Northumberland Fire and Rescue who have travelled across countries to get this equipment to where it needs to be enough, and that thanks also extends to our residents and businesses who have come together to do all they can in this time of crisis. Thank you.” 

Area Manager, Rob Clow said: “The commitment of the four members of our staff to drive so far to help our Ukranian colleagues is absolutely magnificent. 

To be part of such a project is something they should be very proud of and something they will be able to reflect back on for many years to come. The true testimony to the Service is that over 30 members of staff volunteered to drive the appliances.”

The team has covered over 1,400 miles. 

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