Cornwall Council’s Cabinet committee met at County Hall in Truro this morning to discuss the authority’s proposed draft budget for 2023/24.
The plan addresses the challenging financial climate while protecting essential public services in Cornwall, after unprecedented inflationary pressures and an increased demand for the council’s services have left a large budget gap in the next financial year of £62 million.
The proposed budget includes a 2.99% increase to council tax bills, well below current rates of inflation. Within this budget the council’s essential services are being protected.
Introducing the report, Cllr David Harris told the meeting: "The global and national economy is making delivery of our budgets on last year’s plan exceedingly difficult. Inflation on pay, contracts and the demand for our services as the cost-of-living crisis really hits our residents, far exceeds our original plans and existing resources.
"This budget focuses on ensuring we spend the money we have on those things that matter most to our residents and are absolutely linked to delivering the Council’s Mission and four priority outcomes. That means focusing on those essential statutory services like care, housing and waste collection, while critically reviewing those services which we have a choice to, rather than are obliged to provide.
"Whilst this budget is based on the funding plans currently in place, we will continue, through all avenues available, to press Government to secure extra funding for Cornwall."
After the discussions, the draft budget was approved by the Cabinet, and will now go out for public consultation before coming back before the cabinet in the new year. The budget will then be put before the full council in February for final approval.
Cllr Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “The process of putting together the budget proposals we discussed today has been incredibly tough, with some extremely difficult decisions to make.
“Unless we can secure extra funding, we are facing a situation will see a reduction to the discretionary services we provide for our residents.
“I can promise that we will continue to work to source funding wherever we can to minimise the impact of the global economic uncertainty we are all facing.
“This includes continuing our work to secure the best possible county deal for Cornwall, and I hope that with a more stable atmosphere within Westminster now, we can progress those talks quickly.
“Only once we have certainty over the funding we will receive will we fully know the exact challenges we face, and we will do all we can to support one and all through these difficult times.”
You can watch today’s meeting back via the council’s webcast service.