Cornwall Council’s Budget; Have Your Say Time!
The background to this budget is as per previous years, the Government continues to slash Council budgets. Many Councils are issuing financial warnings and are slashing services. Cornwall Council is having to save a whopping £380m since 2010 when demands for services increase due to population rises and our ageing population. There are no easy solutions unless Government changes tack!
|From today, residents in Cornwall will have the opportunity to have their say on the council’s budget proposals to protect the most vulnerable residents whilst maintaining the delivery of critical frontline services.
Cornwall council members have been briefed on budget proposals for the next four years which reflect the priorities of Cornwall’s residents: to make efficiency savings, achieve value for money, protect frontline services for children, families and adult social care, and invest in homes and jobs for local people.
Members were also briefed on how, having listened to residents, the council will take action on climate change, totalling £16 million, including starting an 8,000 hectare forest for Cornwall to absorb carbon emissions and a pilot scheme to make Cornwall Housing homes more energy efficient and reduce their fuel bills.
At the briefing at Lys Kernow, members learned how the council has made £380 million of savings since 2010 whilst continuing to protect frontline services. The budget proposals include plans to make a further £44 million in savings over the next four year period in order to manage rising costs and increasing demand for services.
Members were told that whilst the council’s robust assumptions for the next medium term financial plan to 2023 / 24 have achieved a balanced budget for next year, there is still a significant budget gap in subsequent years, rising to £15.2 million by 2023 / 24 which will require further savings to be made.
All assumptions have been made against an economic picture that remains uncertain, with reducing funding and a one, rather than four-year financial settlement announced from central Government for next year.
Members were told that alongside the savings proposed in the budget, residents will have the opportunity to have their say on a proposal to increase council tax in order to help protect local services from further reductions. The proposals make provision for:
• Services for the most vulnerable adults and children protected, with an investment of an extra £20 million in adult social care in 2020 / 21 and a gross investment into the Council’s “outstanding” rated services for children and families of £15 million over the next four years;
• An extra £5.9 million in 20 / 21 invested into projects that support economic growth, including £1.2 million for improved bus services.
• Action across the council totalling £16 million for climate change;
• applying a rise of 1.99% to council tax; and
• applying the Government’s 2% special levy for adult social care, which raises additional council tax to be used exclusively for the funding of services for vulnerable adults.
The proposed changes to council tax would equate to an increase of £0.91 per week or £47.39 per year for a band B property – the most common in Cornwall.
In developing these proposals the Council expects to keep the council tax in Cornwall below the national average and among the lowest in the South West. The Council also underlined a commitment to maintain council tax support for people on low incomes.