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UPDATE: Cornwall Faces Another Rise In Council Tax

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9:04pm 5th November 2016
(Updated 9:04pm 5th November 2016)

Cornwall is being asked to pay more in Council Tax.

Officials want a rise of almost 2% next year.

It comes as they battle to make savings of more than £120 million by 2020.

Cuts to adult social care and leisure centres are on the cards in the Council's budget plan, along with reducing the contingency cashpots.

But £700 million is being pumped into frontline services like affordable housing, road and rail improvements and new fire engines.

The authority says the draft budget and financial plan is: "Aimed at protecting frontline services from the impact of further cuts in Government funding, providing an additional £11m for supporting vulnerable people and investing almost £700m in providing hundreds of new affordable homes for local people, improving transport links, and creating jobs by growing the local economy".

It will be considered by the Council's Cabinet on Wednesday 9th November.

"This is a positive plan which focuses on opportunity and investment and supports our aim of improving outcomes for people, places and prosperity across Cornwall", said Council Leader John Pollard.

He added: "This means working with our partners to ensure we are meeting the needs of the people we serve; developing the places and neighbourhoods that our communities live and work in, and creating the conditions for prosperity which will enable our people and places to thrive and succeed.

"The success of our financial planning over the past few years and the opportunities provided by our Devolution Deal to have a greater say in how public sector monies are spent in Cornwall means we are in a much stronger position than many other authorities to deliver a budget which gets the balance right between protecting essential services and increasing council tax levels, and investing in our future".

Adam Paynter is the Council's Cabinet Member for Resources. He said: "As the Residents' Survey showed, we know we need to get the basics right.

"This plan focuses on making sure the bins are emptied and our streets are clean, we are delivering high quality services to support and care for vulnerable people and that we have enough school places in the areas we need them.  We are already protecting key services by delivering them in different ways.

"We want to build on this success by working with town and parish councils, local residents and voluntary and community organisations to encourage everyone to play their part in providing the local services that people want.

"We will also be working hard to improve our road network, and encourage more people to use public transport by integrating rail, bus and ferry services across Cornwall, and to protect and develop our culture and heritage.

"Growing Cornwall's economy has become even more important following the results of the EU Referendum.

"We want to work with partners to support existing businesses to grow and encourage entrepreneurs to set up new ventures and to help our town centres to thrive by improving public transport and addressing parking issues. We want Cornwall to be a place of high aspirations and will be working with education providers and businesses to support people back into work and ensure that our young people have the best possible start in life, with access to high quality skills and training and apprenticeships".

Under the proposed medium term financial plan around £700m will be invested in capital schemes over the next five years, the majority of which will be used to support housing, transport and economic development schemes.

Key Investments:

  • £150m for housing, with a total of £43 million being spent by the Council on providing affordable homes for local people
  • £140m on maintaining Cornwall's roads 
  • £93m on improving rail links and public transport.  
  • Over £27m will also be invested in providing new fire and rescue vehicles and equipment for Cornwall's Fire and Rescue and Community Safety service. 

At the same time the Council needs to make savings of £107m over the next four years as a result of ongoing reductions in Government funding and additional spending pressures.  As a result the actions set out in the four year medium term financial plan agreed last year have been revised to meet the amended savings target. This includes a proposed revenue budget of £492m for the 2017/2018 financial year, with a savings target of £34m. 

The proposed budget is based on a council tax increase of 1.97%, a weekly increase of 51p a week for a Band D property, and a social care precept levy of 2% (52p a week). The social care precept levy will generate an additional £5.2m for adult social care, part of an extra £11m investment (9% increase) into Adult Social Care services this year to make sure vulnerable adults get the support they need.

Details of the draft budget proposals and medium term financial plan have been considered by Members at a series of special Policy Advisory Meetings held over the past few weeks.  Key stakeholders and partners and members of the public have also had the chance to have their say on the proposals and the feedback from these consultations will be presented to the Cabinet at the meeting on 9 November. 

The final decision on the budget and financial plan will be made at the meeting of the full Council on 22nd November.

9:04pm 5th November 2016

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