June 21, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Cornwall Council budget to be discussed at cabinet next week

Agenda items outlining the financial challenges facing Cornwall Council, and the steps the authority is taking to tackle them will be discussed when the cabinet meets in Truro next week.

The meeting, which will take place at County Hall (Lys Kernow) on Wednesday, will discuss the latest performance report for the council, which shows a reduced forecast overspend for the current financial year.

That figure now stands at £9.4 million, down from September’s forecast of £14.9 million, and continues to be mainly driven by increased costs in children’s social care, school transport and homelessness services.

The cabinet will also discuss the budget for the next financial year, which looks to address those issues with additional funding to cover the rising cost of providing those demand-led services.

The budget has been helped by the council receiving an additional £6.5m from the Government following Cllr David Harris, deputy leader and portfolio holder for resources, writing an open letter to the secretary of state for levelling up, Michael Gove, calling for extra support.

In response to the growing demands and costs in providing children’s social care, the Cabinet will also consider a new Placement Sufficiency Strategy to increase the supply of better value, and more flexible residential and independent fostering provision for children and young people, including challenging independent providers on excessive unit costs, in order to prevent unregistered care arrangements.

Also on the agenda at Wednesday’s meeting will be a refreshed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-26 which has been updated and includes the Council’s decision taken in September 2023 to treat ‘experience of being in children’s social care’ as a protected characteristic.

Cllr Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “The rising cost of all areas, especially children’s services, are a real challenge, but we are determined to tackle the issue.

“One of our key priorities is to make Cornwall a brilliant place to be a child and to grow up, and the extra funding, alongside the new strategy, will help ensure we achieve that.”

Cllr Harris added: “I am pleased we are able to report an improved situation, with our forecast overspend down by more than a third, although of course the financial climate remains extremely challenging.

“I am also delighted we have received additional funding from the Secretary of State for next year, it is good to know that he listened and has taken action that will make a difference for residents in Cornwall.

“However we cannot be smug here. We are still using reserves to balance next year and the figures for future years are very scary which is why we will continue to press for a long term settlement that brings in Fairer Funding because that is not what we have today.”

A new outline business case for the Camelford Bypass, and a paper on Investment in Housing Enabling will also be discussed at the meeting, which will be held in the Trelawny Room, and will start at 10am.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting, or you can watch proceedings via our online webcast service.

Watch the Webcast

ENDS

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