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Cornwall Council sets budget to deliver essential services that work for every resident

A budget to deliver essential services that work for every resident in Cornwall and investment for the future has been approved by full council at Lys Kernow (County Hall). 

The proposals mean council tax will rise by 1.99%, alongside the government's 2% increase ringfenced for social care services.

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The council tax changes will see a band D property’s bill rise by £1.17 a week, ensuring Cornwall’s council tax rate remains one of the lowest across the south west. 

Councillor Adam Paynter, deputy leader, said that long-term uncertainties produced by the delay to the Government’s Fair Funding Review and a multi-year Spending Round have provided a challenging environment in which to set the council’s budget for the next four years.

However, we remain committed to resourcing the priorities that residents have told us matter most to them. 

Julian German, Council Leader told the chamber that the cabinet would continue to stand up for Cornwall and continue to demand fairer funding from central Government in the years ahead. 

Councillors heard how the budget for 2020/21 will see Cornwall Council: 

  • Provide an extra £20m compared to 2019/20 to support the ever-increasing demand for care for vulnerable older people and investing in Learning Disability services. 
  • Provide a £4m fund to help shape town centres in the face of changing shopping habits and new lifestyle and working patterns. 
  • Invest £5.6m into services for children, schools and families, including additional investment for specialist early years practitioners. We will also be putting in £13m of additional capital funding to improve school buildings over and above the current capital programme for 2020-24. 
  • Continue our commitment to provide an extra £10m per year from 2018/19 to 2020/21 for road repairs. 
  • Invest in a new waste service to encourage every resident to cut down on their plastic and recycle more. 
  • Continue our investment in good quality homes for local people along with projects that support economic growth including an additional £1.2m increase in budget from 2020/21 onwards for improved bus services. 
  • Provide funding to help tackle the climate emergency and protect our children’s future with £20m capital for environmental assets. This includes, an 8,000 hectare Forest for Cornwall, making energy efficiency improvements to existing Council owned housing and changes to local planning policy to make it easier for residents to install renewable energy and cut their homes’ carbon emissions.
  • Continue our commitment to put an extra £10 million over four years into the pockets of the lowest paid, as the first South West council to pay the Living Wage Foundation rate. 

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Paynter said: “The budget proposes a 1.99% increase to the core Council Tax in 2020/21, which is within the limit set by Government without triggering the need for a referendum. 

“In addition, we propose to apply the 2% precept specifically for Adult Social Care, which has been allowed by Government for a further year.  

“This decision has not been made lightly; but we believe that this will achieve the right balance to ensure those people most in need of support will continue to get the assistance they need, whilst also keeping Council Tax as low as possible - and one of the lowest in the South West. 

“I am pleased we have managed to produce a budget that works for everyone in Cornwall, maintaining and improving the essential services we provide, while keeping bills down. 

“In the past decade we have managed to make £380 million of savings, and our forecasts suggest we will need to find another £58 million over the next four years, as the pressures from reduced Government funding continue.

“Today’s ambitious budget will allow us to face those challenges with confidence, and to fund and meet our priority areas for Cornwall in the years ahead.”