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Cornwall Faces £4m Cuts After Council Tax Freeze

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:01am 27th February 2013 (Updated 11:22am 27th February 2013)

It is feared 135 jobs will have to go to pay for Cornwall's council tax freeze.

Councillors voted against a plan to introduce a 1.97% increase.

But it means County Hall has got to save around £4m.

The Lib Dem plan involves cutting the number of agency staff and consultants to levels last seen two years ago.

The new budget includes £175,000 to address potholes and improve maintenance budgets for children’s play equipment and green spaces across Cornwall. £200,000 to crack down on antisocial behaviour, £1.200m in both 2013/14 and 2014/15 to fund a reduction in parking charges.

The move will mean the council is given another £2.5m by the government for freezing Council Tax.

But £3.7m needs to be cut from employee budgets.

“There is no easy option for any council at the moment,” said Councillor Ann Kerridge, Liberal Democrat Finance Spokesman.

“Some of the decisions that we have had to take are very hard ones and will have an impact on our excellent staff. But we know there are savings to be made by cutting agency spend and transferring the same staff to full-time council contracts.

“But the fundamental task for the council is to provide the best possible services for as low a tax bill as possible. We know from our discussions with residents that there is increasing concern about ever-rising council tax bills.”

The council says the cuts will come from the following services:

Adult Care and Support                                 £855,000

Children, Schools and Families                       £923,000

Shared Services (libraries /                            £365,000
one stop shops/ contact centre/
revenue and benefit staff etc)

Strategy, Localism and Communications       £297,000

People and Organisational Development        £164,000

Finance                                                        £326,000

Property                                                      £139,000

Information Services                                    £366,000

Legal, Democratic, Procurement                   £255,000
and Election Services

Reverend Mike Firbank, who works with the poorest families in west Cornwall, said: "We need to actually paint the reality of the scene. Unless we're all agreed that we're starting from a very low base and we're about to cut it even further, how on earth can we together in partnership determine where we should be going, and how we get there, and how we catch people as they fall?

"It will help, but you then have to think about other cuts that are coming in. People's benefits are going to be cut anyway, and we could just keep going on with all the things that are coming in, all at the same time, that are just going to hit the most vulnerable."

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