Budget engagement

Cornwall Council's budget position

Cornwall Council plays a huge part in many people’s lives – ensuring children and young people have the best start in life, protecting vulnerable people, maintaining a safe road system and helping to create a thriving economy.

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Every year, we spend over a billion pounds providing public services that you, your family and friends use every day.

However, Cornwall faces some big challenges. Our population is growing, people are generally living longer and the type of services that people need is changing. The cost of living is going up and as things become more expensive we also have higher costs.

Over the last 10 years, as Government funding to the Council reduced sharply, we have changed the way we work to make over £380 million of savings. We've been able to keep council tax rates in Cornwall below the national average and amongst the lowest in the South West of England. We've done this while protecting the services that people have told us are most important - such as providing care for the elderly, more homes and jobs for local people, and keeping Cornwall's roads in good repair. We've only been able to do this by working with you - our residents and local communities.

We are proud of our record of devolving and preserving services. Other local authorities have cut services such as libraries - we have kept most libraries open despite budgets being more than halved, by working tirelessly with local community groups, town and parish councils.

The economic picture in the UK remains uncertain, and Government announced a one rather than four-year financial settlement for next year. Pressures on council budgets are still growing, with more older people and children than ever before needing the social care we provide.

So the challenge remains - our plans already include measures to make a further £42 million in savings over the next four year period, but there is still a significant budget gap, rising to £17.3 million by 2023/24, which will require further savings to be made. So overall we need to reduce our spending by £59 million to ensure our budget remains balanced.

We plan to meet the challenge by proposing the following as part of our draft budget and business plan for 2020/21:

  • Continuing to drive efficiency savings and look at how services can be delivered differently to help us make a further £42 million of savings by working differently, making efficiencies, and generating extra income from chargeable services such as licensing, planning or car parks. This will help us keep service reductions to a minimum.
  • Increasing Council Tax to help cover the costs of increasing demand and reduce the need to make service reductions. We are proposing to increase Council Tax by the maximum increase we are allowed by Government without having to hold a referendum (currently 1.99%).
  • Applying the Government's 2% special levy for adult social care, which allows local authorities to raise additional Council Tax to be used exclusively for the funding of services for vulnerable adults.
  • Making investments that help deliver our priorities while generating income to help support our services.
  • Continuing to lobby central Government for the funding, powers and flexibility to secure Cornwall's future.

We also continue to invest in Cornwall's future and the services people have told us matter most. We're planning to:

  • invest an extra £20 million in caring for vulnerable older people next year.
  • increase funding for children, schools and families in Cornwall by a further £5.6 million next year.
  • Invest in a new waste service to help people cut down on their plastic and recycle more.
  • invest in providing good quality homes for local people.
  • Invest an extra £5.9 million next year into projects that support economic growth, including £1.2 million for improved bus services.
  • invest £16 million in tackling the climate emergency and striving towards making Cornwall carbon neutral by 2030, including: an 8,000 hectare Forest for Cornwall; making energy efficiency improvements to exisiting Council owned housing; and creating a new climate change planning development document to help us mitigate climate change.

View our budget proposals presentation for more details.


We would like to hear your views on our draft budget and get an understanding of your priorities, needs and aspirations for our services and your community.

Please click on the link below to complete our Budget Consultation Questionnaire. Please complete the questionnaire by 29 January 2020.


Complete our Budget Consultation


You can download a reference copy of the questionnaire.

Watch this video to find out more about the budget, where it comes from and how the Council delivers value for money.