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Budget engagement

Cornwall Council's budget position

Cornwall Council plays a huge part in many people’s lives:

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  • ensuring children and young people have the best start in life
  • protecting vulnerable people
  • maintaining a safe road system
  • helping to create a thriving economy

Every year, we spend over a billion pounds providing public services. Services that you, your family and friends use every day.

However, Cornwall faces some big challenges:

  • our population is growing
  • people are generally living longer
  • the type of services that people need is changing

The cost of living is going up. As things become more expensive we also have higher costs.

Over the last 10 years, as Government funding to the Council reduced sharply, we have changed the way we work to make over £380 million of savings. We've been able to keep council tax rates in Cornwall below the national average. Our rates are amongst the lowest in the South West of England. We've done this while protecting the services that people have told us are most important, such as:

  • providing care for the elderly
  • more homes and jobs for local people
  • keeping Cornwall's roads in good repair

We've only been able to do this by working with you - our residents and local communities.

We are proud of our record of devolving and preserving services. Other local authorities have cut services such as libraries. We have kept most libraries open despite budgets being more than halved. We've achieved this by working tirelessly with local community groups, town and parish councils.

The financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on Cornwall and Cornwall Council has been huge. The economic recovery from the pandemic is expected to take years. With the impact of Brexit adding further uncertainty to the economic picture in the UK. The Government has postponed its fairer funding review of local government finance. Our financial settlement for the next four years remains uncertain. Pressures on council budgets are still growing. More older people and children than ever before are needing the social care we provide.

So the challenge is significant. Our plans already include measures to make a further £30 million in savings over the next four year period. There is still a significant budget gap. Rising to £28 million by 2024/25. This will require further savings to be made. So overall we need to reduce our spending by £58 million to ensure our budget remains balanced. Fundamental changes to the way we work will be required if we are to meet residents’ needs.

Our draft budget prioritises critical frontline services and investment in Cornwall’s recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. We will redesign services and our organisation to ensure maximum efficiency while:

  • protecting the most vulnerable
  • supporting our businesses
  • growing our local economy through a time of unprecedented financial challenge

We plan to meet the challenge by proposing the following as part of our draft budget and business plan for 2021/22:

  • Continuing to develop and implement plans for savings and generating income that were identified in previous years.  We will consult on these as required.
  • Increasing Council Tax to help cover the costs of increasing demand and reduce the need to make service reductions. We are proposing to increase Council Tax by the maximum increase we are allowed by Government without having to hold a referendum (currently 1.99%).
  • Redesigning and reducing the size of our organisation, including by:
    • reducing the layers of management
    • vacancy management
    • making more use of automation, to create a leaner and more efficient organisation
  • Redesigning our services to be high performing and lower cost. With a customer centric approach delivering better outcomes for residents.
  • Driving down the costs of our contracts with external providers
  • Changing the way we work, including through formalised flexible working arrangements (ie working from home).  This will reduce the number of offices and buildings we need to maintain.
  • Continuing to lobby central Government for the funding, powers and flexibility to secure Cornwall's future.

We are inviting views on our draft budget to get an understanding of your priorities, needs and aspirations for our services and your community.

Have your say

Alternatively, please e-mail or post your feedback to:

Cornwall Council, Budget Consultation, Room 4S, New County Hall, Truro, TR1 3AY

Download a reference copy of our budget consultation survey

Our budget consultation closes on 14 December 2020.