Cabinet approves draft budget, equality strategy and housing and heritage funding at busy meeting

A raft of policies aimed at improving the day to day lives of Cornwall’s residents have been approved at a busy Cabinet meeting at County Hall in Truro today.

The agenda included the approval of a balanced budget for the next two years, £10 million for heritage and housing projects, a new Equality, Inclusion and Diversity charter and the adoption of the authority’s Climate Emergency Development Plan.

The draft budget, which will now go before full council for final approval, would see Cornwall Council’s part of the Council Tax bill increase by 2.99%, with an additional 2% levy which will be ring-fenced for Adult Social Care services.

The Cabinet meeting at New County Hall

The budget has protected the support available for those struggling to pay, and remains one of the lowest Council Tax bills across the South West region, with an average Band D property’s rate increasing by £1.65 per week.

Among the key points of the proposals are:

  • A net increase of around £26 million on Adult and Children care services
  • Sufficient funding to continue to invest in new technology to improve customer services
  • £98 million to invest for the future on new school places and school repairs

Read the budget plans

Also on the agenda was a request to accept a £10 million Government grant, which will go towards heritage projects including the Royal Cornwall Museum and housing developments in St Austell, Bodmin, Liskeard and Truro.

The money was secured as part of the recent devolution deal negotiations between Whitehall and Cornwall Council but is guaranteed even if the deal does not get ratified. 

Read more on the funding boost

Cabinet also approved the adoption of the council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-2026, which sets out how the authority plans to ensure it offers equal opportunities for everyone living or working in Cornwall, regardless of their background.

A link to the strategy, as well as a link to the council’s recently-published Public Sector Equality Duty report, can be found here:

Read the strategy here

During a busy morning, Cabinet also agreed to adopt a new Climate Emergency Development Plan, which places environmental concerns at the heart of planning decisions made by the authority, and also approved proposals for new parking tariffs in Council owned car parks across Cornwall.

The proposals, which will go out for public consultation on March 2, seek to reduce the number of different tariffs across Cornwall’s 135 pay and display and pay on foot car parks. Instead, car parks will be grouped into one of three ‘zones’ – Zone A being the busiest areas which are well served by public transport and walking and cycle routes.

Regular car park users will continue to benefit from vastly reduced ‘multi use’ tickets through the Just Park app however, and blue badge holders with adapted vehicles or vehicles exempt from car tax will continue to be able to park for free.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council said: “The budget setting meeting of the Cabinet is always one of the most important dates in the council’s calendar, and to see so many vitally important items join the agenda is wonderful.

“Setting this year’s budget in the light of the cost-of-living crisis was no easy task, so to manage to produce a balanced budget without having to use our reserves is a good result.

“We are keeping our council tax as one of the lowest in the South-West, while protecting services, and I am so grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this point.

“To also see our Equality, Inclusion and Division Strategy and our Climate Emergency Development Plan approved as well today is also gratifying, especially alongside the funding for heritage and housing projects.

“We have vowed to do all we can to ensure Cornwall’s residents can start well, live well and age well, and this meeting is a good example of that hard work coming to fruition.”

Published 08 February, 2023

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