Cornwall Council Cabinet have approved a proposed balanced budget and increase in Council tax of 4.99%, although a last minute handout from the Government, has kept this down from the 5.99% that was originally planned in order to maintain essential services.
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. Yesterday’s announcement from central Government on additional funding, though welcome, does not go far enough to provide sustainable funding for Cornwall.
“The Government is using Councils like Cornwall as a “stealth tax”, in the expectation that Councils can just pick up the bill when there is rising demand for services. When residents see the increases that we have had to make, they should know where to lay the blame, it is because of this Conservative Government’s cuts in funding.
“In spite of the draconian cuts in funding, we have formulated a balanced budget that will deliver real benefits to the people of Cornwall.
The proposed budget will:
• 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
• 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 community network panels 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.
Cllr Paynter said : “We have an ageing population growing at a rapid pace that will put more and more demand on services. Where’s the money to support these future needs?
“That’s why we are campaigning for a fairer funding deal for Cornwall that is based on need instead of an outdated funding model that doesn’t take in to account need or the added cost of delivering services in rural areas.
“A fairer funding model could deliver an extra £39million for Cornwall every year – that’s an extra £71 for every resident. It would mean rather than having to make decisions to reduce services, we could look at opportunities to boost road maintenance, support for children and families and create more jobs – the things residents tell us are most important to them.
“Politicians of all persuasions should be putting their backing behind this fair funding campaign. What we need is support for sustainable, long-term funding which protects services the people of Cornwall need most.”