Cornwall Council’s cabinet will meet next week to consider draft budget proposals that will protect essential services for residents and deliver savings by improving efficiency.
Set against a backdrop of continuing financial pressures, as a result of global events and the residual impact of the pandemic, the proposals aim to continue providing support for the most vulnerable so everyone can start well, live well, and age well.
To maintain a balanced budget, the council has to achieve savings of £29m for next year. A further £45m of savings are 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%. This is equivalent to an extra £1.73 a week council tax for a band D property.
Council tax support for those struggling to pay bills would be protected, including support for care leavers up to the age of 25.
The plans also include a proposal that the council treat experiences of care as a protected characteristic, including people of any age with experience of being in children’s social care. This would mean the council giving experience of care the same status as other protected characteristics, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, in effect treating it as a tenth protected characteristic within Cornwall.
‘Enormous financial challenges’
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.
David Harris, deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder for resources, said: “Like other local authorities we continue to face enormous financial challenges and must work doubly hard to find creative solutions that allow us to meet them head-on.
“We have done this by finding new efficiency measures and ways to generate income that will help us return a balanced budget. These proposals focus on our priorities and reflect our commitment to deliver value for money for residents while protecting frontline services and supporting the most vulnerable among us.
“Following our review of these plans, the details will be put before the council’s various scrutiny committees and I look forward to receiving their feedback.”
The cabinet meeting takes place at 10am on 13th September. It can be viewed online via the council’s webcast service.