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LIVE: Draft budget to be discussed at Cornwall Council Cabinet meeting

Cornwall Council's Cabinet committee will meet this morning with the draft budget for 2024-25 leading the agenda.

In order to maintain a balanced budget, the council has to achieve savings of £29m for next year, with a further £45m of savings required by 2027/28.

To help meet these financial challenges and return a balanced budget, the plans include new efficiency measures and income generation worth  £11m  on top of measures worth £18m already planned for 2024/25.

Under the draft proposals council tax would rise by 2.99% which, in addition to the government's 2% levy for social care, would see a total increase of 4.99% - equivalent to an extra £1.73 a week for a Band D property.

Cabinet will also discuss the Director of Public Health’s Annual Report, which examines the health inequalities and challenges that our communities face and how best to address them.

Follow the meeting on our live blog below:

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9.45am:  The meeting will start at 10am

10am: Today's meeting is now underway with a review of the minutes from the previous meeting

10.01am: We are now hearing the leader's announcements.  Cllr Linda Taylor has expressed her gratitude that no Cornish schools were affected by the RAAC concrete issue which has prevented some schools from opening nationally. 

10.04am: We now move onto public questions.  The future of Newquay Airport is raised.  Cllr Louis Gardner explains that finding a financially viable way forward minimising the costs to the taxpayer while maximising the benefits it brings is the Cabinet's priority.

10.14am:  We are now moving onto agenda item 6: The Council performance report.  Cllr David Harris will introduced the report.

10.20am: Cllr Harris explains that the fact the cabinet can continue to focus on their priorities rather than simply trying to stay solvent - a position some local authorities across the country are facing - is testament to the hard work of everyone involved.

10.23am: The report is seconded by Cllr Linda Taylor, who thanks officers for their work alongside her cabinet colleagues.

10.32am: The performance report is noted by Cabinet.  We now move onto the draft budget for 2024/25 and business plan for 2024-28, with Cllr David Harris, deputy leader and portfolio holder for resources, introducing.

10.33am:  Cllr Harris begins by telling the meeting:  "The report presented today outlines our financial planning assumptions, as best as can be forecast at this time, for the draft 2024/25 Budget and 2024-2028 Medium Term Financial Plan.

"This is the earliest the Council has ever published comprehensive proposals to achieve a balanced budget for the forthcoming financial year, and one that has our mission and four priority outcomes at its heart."

10.41am: Cllr Harris concludes: "We wanted to prepare and present this draft budget as early as possible to enable Overview and Scrutiny Committees to scrutinise the position in their meetings next month and I look forward to their observations and suggestions."

He adds:  "Going early does of course mean that there is the risk that a further gap in the budget may arise, especially given we are halfway through the current financial year, which is not without its challenges as evidenced in the previous report.

"Nevertheless, as a result of these difficult decisions we are taking and amidst a tumultuous economic climate, I am pleased to be able to present to you today a balanced draft budget for 2024/25."

10.48am: The budget is seconded by Cllr Richard Pears

10.52am: Cabinet members are now speaking on the draft plan.  Cllr Andrew Virr, portfolio holder for adult social care, welcomes the additional investment, but highlights the pressure on adult social care in the years ahead.

11.10am: Questions from members have included whether car parking charges are likely to increase next year.  Cllr Harris confirms they are currently set to rise by the rate of inflation, currently estimated at 5%, but that he will await comments at scrutiny before any final decisions are taken. 

11.18am: The draft budget has been approved unanimously by Cabinet.

11.22am: Cllr Richard Pears is now introducing the Corserv Group of Companies Revised 1 and 4-year Business Plans for 2023-27

11.31am:  The business plans have been approved.

11.32am: Cllr Andrew Virr is now introducing the Director of Public Health's annual report.  He explains how the report looks at inequalities across Cornwall and how this can impact on the health of communities.

11.44am:  The annual report has been noted.  We now move onto agenda item 10, 'Treating experience of care as if it were a protected characteristic', which was a motion to full council from Cllr James Mustoe, which was referred to Cabinet.

11.45am:  Cllr Mustoe speaks on the item before Cllr Ellenbroek introduces the item itself.  You can read the paper on the agenda here.

If Cabinet agrees the recommendation, it will mean the Council giving experience of care parity of status with the nine protected characteristics that have protected characteristic status under the Equality Act 2010: in effect treating it as a tenth protected characteristic within Cornwall.

11.58am:  Cllr Ellenbroek says an All Member Briefing will be held in November with people who have experienced care speaking to members to ensure the council can build a great level of understanding.

12.09pm: The report has been approved unanimously by the Cabinet

12.10pm:  A final urgent decision is being put before Cabinet - the release of the Coastguard Flats in Looe.  Cllr Linda Taylor thanks local members Cllr Hannaford and Cllr Toms for their work on the issue.

12.18pm:  The item is approved, and the meeting has now concluded.


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