Lib Dems and their Independent colleagues on Cornwall Council have today (23rd February) approved the 2021/2022 budget for Cornwall.
Despite the Conservative government cutting funding to Cornwall Council from £175.6 million in 2015/16 to £126.3million in 2019/20 coupled with increasing social care costs, Lib Dems on Cornwall Council have balanced the budget, reduced interim and agency staff spending by two thirds compared to the Conservative administration, and increased spending on social care for vulnerable Cornish residents.
Since 2017 Lib Dems and their Independent colleagues on Cornwall Council have:
- Balanced the budget.
- Paid out over £340 million of Covid support grants to local businesses.
- Reduced interim and agency staff spending by two thirds compared to the Conservative administration.
- Changed the way we work to make around £380 million of savings.
- Introduced the living wage for all our key workers, care workers and contractors.
- Seen average earnings in Cornwall rise by 5.6%, more than 3 times the national average.
- Seen deprivation levels in Cornwall fall. Cornwall is now ranked 83rd out of 317 local authority areas for deprivation, an improvement on 68th under the Conservatives.
- Increased social care spending to support the most vulnerable Cornish residents.
- Levered in around £210 million of external investment for economic growth projects which, taken together, are supporting more than 3,500 businesses and creating around 6,500 jobs for people in Cornwall.
- Created over 300 Council-based apprenticeships and over 130 apprenticeships in the care sector in Cornwall.
- Helped almost 23,000 businesses to start up or scale up via our award-winning Growth Hub and Regulatory Support Hub.
- Upped the percentage of the Council’s third party spend that goes to support our fantastic Cornish businesses, products and services from 54% in 2017 to 61% today.
The 2020/21 budget will:
- Invest an extra £16 million a year to sustain social care services for vulnerable and older adults, on top of the £20 million uplift last year.
- Ensure children get the best start in life, investing a further £6 million a year into our OFSTED ‘outstanding’ services for children schools and families.
- Invest in a new waste service to encourage every resident to recycle more.
- Invest more than £239 million in decent homes for local people, helping sustain our record as the top council in the country for providing affordable homes.
- Invest over £180 million in connecting Cornwall with superfast broadband, better roads, and more safe spaces for walking and cycling.
- Give children the best start in life, with more than £49m to repair school buildings and create more school places for children across Cornwall.
- Lead the fight against the climate emergency, with more than £18 million set aside for renewable energy and our climate action plan - including planting a forest for Cornwall, retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency, and installing electric vehicle charging points across Cornwall.
- Reduce Council business travel by 35%, saving £800,000 every year and cutting our annual carbon emissions by 500 tonnes.
- Automate our back-office processes, freeing up staff time to support residents in their communities.
- We will continue to protect the lowest paid with our commitment to the real Living Wage.
- Offer vital support to thousands of Cornish people facing redundancy and income reductions, helping them to retrain and find new jobs through our new People Hub.
- Deliver major regeneration schemes - such as Langarth near Truro or the Cattle Market in Liskeard - and invest in reviving high streets in towns and villages across Cornwall.
Lib Dem Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council, Adam Paynter said:
“This is an extraordinary year to develop a budget, in a normal year this Council provides homes for those in need; helps educate your children; looks after your parks, beaches and open spaces; keeps your streets clean and moving; helps you stay healthy; collects and recycles your waste; and provides care for vulnerable and older people in your lives. “
“This year, in addition, Cornwall Council staff have also delivered food parcels to the shielding and those in need; sourced personal protective equipment for our key workers; paid out over £340 million of support grants to local businesses; helped our high streets and visitor economy reopen safely; and set up an enhanced contact tracing service which is now being replicated in other places. Their efforts have saved countless lives and livelihoods across Cornwall. “
“Despite these ever-growing pressures on our finances, we are determined to protect frontline services, support vulnerable people through the challenges ahead, and invest in our local economy to create good jobs for people as businesses and high streets recover from the impact of COVID. However, we also listened to people’s concerns over rising bills, and we are doing all we can to keep Cornwall’s council tax rates well below the England average and one of the lowest in the South West.”
“You will have seen in the news that many councils are on the brink of financial crisis. Our sound financial management and drive for value for money means we can invest in the areas that matter most to residents, while keeping council tax down as much as we can. This is making a real difference to people’s lives.”