Council formally approves budget

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Members of Cornwall Council have formally approved a budget of £498.136 million for 2015/2016.

John Pollard
John Pollard: Budget put forward with “pride” but “little pleasure”

The revenue budget, which was recommended by the Cabinet last month, is based on a 1.97 % increase in Council Tax – equating to a 48p per week increase (£25 a year) for a Band D property.

The Council voted in November 2014 to set an early budget, which has resulted in savings of around £7 million to £9 million.

The budget, which was endorsed at yesterday’s meeting by 63 votes to 19 with 19 abstentions, is based on making savings of £58.08 million over the next 12 months.

Since 2010, the Council has been forced to find savings of £170 million in its budget as a result of additional pressures and cuts in Government funding; and now needs to save a further £196 million, almost a third of its revenue budget, in the period 2014 -2019.

Calling on members to support the budget, Council Leader, John Pollard, said: “I put this proposal forward to the Council in November with some pride in what we have achieved in very difficult circumstances, but with little pleasure.

“The context of this budget is not of our making and, faced with exceptional and unprecedented demands, I believe this is the best budget for Cornwall that we could produce under the difficult financial position forced upon us by the Government.”

“I said at the start of this process that we must not simply cut away at every service and live on a year by year basis.  Instead we needed to develop a four year plan which would help protect the key priorities identified by the public – protecting services for vulnerable adults, children, older people and the poorest in society; protecting public transport, including the rural bus network and repairing and maintaining our roads – at the same time as delivering the savings in a more planned manner.

“By aligning this budget to a business plan and a long-term strategy we have achieved this.”