June 13, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Draft Business Plan and Budget for Cornwall to be presented to Cabinet

A draft business plan and budget, focussed on delivering £1.2billion of essential services, including an extra £45.5m next year for adult social care in Cornwall, will be considered when the cabinet meets next week at County Hall.

Despite the very difficult financial situation made worse by the global pandemic, the proposed plans protect crucial frontline services for residents.

The plans also include £1.3 billion of capital investment, including support for economic growth projects that create homes and jobs for local people and reflect the priorities of residents.
Plans include:

  • For a brilliant place to grow up and be a child – investing for the future of children and young people in Cornwall with £93 million to provide 550 new school places and repair school buildings
  • For vibrant safe and supportive communities – significant £45.5 million extra investment in adult social care services. We will invest for the future with £29 million for projects including providing our communities with warm, dry and energy efficient homes and investment in our fire and rescue service through a targeted appliance replacement programme.
  • For a thriving sustainable Cornwall – investing for the future of communities with just over £1.1 billion to support economic growth projects that create homes and jobs for local people, allowing the Council to lever in additional funding from external investors and also roll out a new waste service; and
  • For an empowering and enterprising organisation, investing for the future with £54 million for projects to put the Council at the forefront of modern, flexible, low carbon ways of working, maintaining and transforming our office estate.

The majority of savings will come from reducing the amount the Council spends on contracts and through proposed workforce reductions.

This will enable the organisation to ensure its budget is realigned and sharply focused on delivering on the Council’s mission to create a carbon neutral Cornwall where everyone can start well, live well and age well.

The proposals would see Cornwall Council’s share of Council Tax charge rise by 1.99%, plus an additional 1% for the Government’s adult social care precept. This total 2.99% rise is the equivalent of a 96p per week increase for an average band D property.

The budget deficit means the plans also propose significant changes to the way the Council works, including how services are delivered and where they are delivered from. It means a greater proportion of the Council’s £1.2bn annual expenditure is being directed towards those essential frontline services. The plans also include a pledge to ensure the council improves the way it interacts with and works with everyone, whether they are a resident, a business or a contractor.

Cllr David Harris, Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council and Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “Like every household across Cornwall, we have been hit by a combination of the effects of the pandemic and the fact rising demand and costs outstrip any increase in our finances.

“We have had to make some difficult decisions, but we have listened to what we were told on the doorstep during the election and have made sure all we do reflects our clear priorities, and we are razor-focussed on ensuring we deliver against them.

“Although there will be some reduction in services, it is important to remember that this is still a £1.2 billion budget for Cornwall with a further £1.3 billion capital investment in Cornwall’s future and that we have done all we can to protect our vital front-line services.

“The majority of savings will come from efficiencies, reducing duplication and from changes to our property portfolio. There are still areas of expenditure which do not yet feel like they add value for instance, the cost of our construction contracts through public procurement routes can be more expensive than working with local trusts and partners. By using different routes for commissioning contracts, we can often obtain the same the outcome for less money and receive greater social value by keeping it local at the same time as being compliant in our procurement practices.”

“In summary, this is a draft budget for Cornwall, focussed on our priorities, with difficult decisions taken in light of unheralded financial pressures, while protecting frontline services and maintaining value for money for our residents.”

You can view the papers online here.

Story published on November 30, 2021