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Inflation-smashing council bill shock facing taxpayers

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: December 16, 2009

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COUNCIL tax bills look set to rise by almost double the current rate of inflation in Cornwall Council's draft budget.

Cornwall Council's corporate business plan, which includes its budget plans for the next financial year, recommends that council tax should increase by 2.9% in April – the current rate of inflation stands at around 1.5%.

It comes just weeks after the Government indicated that it expected council tax bills to rise by no more than 3% after announcing grants for local authorities which saw Cornwall get an increase of 4.5% on the previous year.

The 2.9% rise means that council tax bills for the average band D property will be £1,244.41.

Change

However the rise is only for the share of council tax claimed by Cornwall Council with the share for police and parish and town councils yet to be announced.

A report, which went before the council's cabinet this week, also indicated the change in funding for council departments. It shows that adult care and support will have an increase of 3.22% and children and schools will have a rise of 0.15%. The communities department and environment planning and economy department will both see cuts in budgets of around 3%.

All departments have been told they need to find further efficiencies and savings of at least 4% in their budgets.

However in a further breakdown of budgets the council has allocated £5.6 million to Newquay Airport and £2.623m for housing, despite housing being one of the council's key priorities. The council has indicated in its draft capital programme that housing will have £7.7m and the airport £3.7m.

The council has also put forward provisional budget plans for the years up to 2013/14 as well with assumptions of a 2.5% council tax rise in 2011/12 going down to 2.25% the following year and 2% in 2013/14.

It has also indicated that it expects government grants to fall or be frozen over the coming years.

Resources

Council leader Alec Robertson said: "A key aim of this budget is to provide the resources needed to 'fix' the areas which are currently under-performing. These include adult care and support, children's safeguarding, fire and rescue, housing management, environment (low carbon) and waste."

The Liberal Democrat group on the council hit out at the budget plans. Cllr Alex Folkes said: "It is clear that the Conservatives are planning on cutting some of the most valued front line services that the council provides, yet continue to waste council taxpayers' money on fripperies. The Liberal Democrats will be campaigning to save front line services and highlight the Conservatives' mismanagement of the council."

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