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WATCH: What Cornwall's new budget really means

WATCH: What Cornwall's new budget really means

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 5:14pm 20th February 2018.

A new budget has been given the green light for Cornwall, but what does it really mean for the Duchy?

Our Council Tax is set to rise by just under 5% - and works out to just over £1 per week extra for the average Band B home.

Officials say the hike will help protect services for vulnerable children, adults and families, provide more homes, support jobs and support economic growth.

The 4.99% increase includes a general council tax increase of 2.99% for 2018/19 plus a 2% increase which will be spent solely on adult social care.

What else will the new budget do?

  • Protect vulnerable children, adults and families with a 10% increase in funding for adult social services and a 5% increase to children and family services
  • Continue 100% retention of business rates in Cornwall, generating an additional £8m as the number of businesses grow
  • Reduce fuel poverty, helping over 1,100 homes to stay warmer for less
  • Provide extra provision for care leavers who will now receive additional support with their council tax
  • Provide £1.2m to Citizens Advice Cornwall over four years so the service can provide continued support and advice to residents
  • Bring long term empty properties into use by charging a 100% council tax premium from April 2019
  • Invest over £800m through the capital programme in new and improved housing, major highways and transportation links and projects supporting economic growth
  • Provide capital investment to build 1,000 homes, and help grow the economy, jobs and choice for local people
  • Give residents more influence in local decision making by providing more support for localism and community network panels, including an allocation of £1m per year to determine local highway capital works
  • Provide the foundation living wage for council staff and all council contracts which will help support the local economy by boosting local wages
  • Ensure continued support for those in need with paying their council tax bills.

Councillor Adam Paynter, Leader of Cornwall Council said: "This year we have seen a cut of more than £70m in Revenue Support Grant from the Government leading to a funding gap of more than £30m.

"In spite of this, we have formulated a balanced budget that will fulfil the promises we made to the electorate and more.

"We committed to protecting the most vulnerable, building homes and increasing wages, this budget delivers on all these."

Cllr Paynter added: "The budget has been a challenge but I do believe it is the best that we can do for Cornwall.

"Overall our situation in Cornwall is far better than several other Conservative run councils up and down the country such as Northamptonshire and Shropshire, which are virtually bankrupt with unbalanced 4 year budgets."

Council Tax will have to be raised by 4.99%, of which 2% will be dedicated to adult social care.

But Conservatives on Cornwall Council say the budget is not in the best interests of the people of Cornwall.

 

The budget also includes plans to make £77 million of cuts over the next four years.

Cornwall Council says it will 'further streamline operations' to make the savings.

This includes:

  • Transforming Adult Social Care, saving £34m by making the system more efficient, for example by ensuring that the right care package is identified from the start
  • Saving £16m through better workforce management and a reduction in posts of up to 200
  • Rationalising the Council’s property portfolio to reduce running costs and generate income of approx. £1.2m
  • Maximising investment returns by an additional £1m
  • Investing £18m in digital services so that residents can access Council services more easily online as well as improving IT to reduce overhead costs.

Deputy Leader Julian German said: “This has protected the services that residents have said are most important to them, and responds to member concerns that were raised through our scrutiny processes.”

The Council is also currently calling on central government to change their funding model to provide fairer funding for Cornwall.

It says the current funding model doesn’t match Cornwall's funding needs.

The campaign is calling for a model which allocates money in a fair way, based on need and based on factors that drive demand for local services, such as the number of older people and the higher cost of delivering services in rural areas.

Officials say the new funding model would also narrow the gap between the highest and lowest funded councils.

For example Camden receives around £1100 per resident in funding from government, compared to £784 per resident in Cornwall.

So in total Cornwall would receive an additional £39 million a year, according to the Council.

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