Council agrees budget and council tax for 2018/19

A full meeting of Cornwall Council today confirmed a 4.99% council tax increase for 2018/19, which will help protect services for vulnerable children, adults and families, provide more homes, support jobs and support economic growth.

The 4.99% increase will see a general council tax increase of 2.99% for 2018/19 – a rise of 63p per week for a Band B property, plus a 2% increase which will be spent solely on adult social care and which is line with the Government’s policy of asking local taxpayers to help fund social care demands.

Continue reading

For a Band B property, the means that the Cornwall Council element of council tax per week will rise by £1.04.

The four year budget will: 

  • Protect vulnerable children, adults and families with towards 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 200% council tax from April 2019 (subject to HM UK Government bringing forward the legislation announced in the Chancellor's budget)
  • 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, and create better paid jobs
  • 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.

The budget will allow Citizens Advice Cornwall offices and support services for vulnerable residents to be kept open, allow the Council to keep investment in highways at the same level, keep evening weekend bus routes running and continue to subsidise post 16 transport options – all services which residents and members said they did not want to see reduced.

Alongside this, the Council will further streamline operations to make £77m savings over four years, including:

  • 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.”

There was a recorded vote on the budget with Cornwall Councillors voting 64 in favour, 45 against and with 3 abstentions.

The Council is also currently calling on central government to change their funding model to provide fairer funding for Cornwall as the current funding model doesn’t match Cornwall's funding needs. Our 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.

This 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. This model would even out that amount. In total Cornwall would receive an additional £39 million a year.


Story posted 20 February 2018