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Tax bills to rise as council backs £41m in sweeping cuts

By tobymeyjes  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

Cornwall Council has agreed to a 1.97% rise in council tax after approving a budget with cuts of £41million

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Taxpayers in Cornwall will face a 47p-a-week average rise in council tax after Cornwall Council formally approved a budget with cuts of £41million.

Councillors voted by 71 votes to 35, with one abstention, at county hall in Truro to back a budget of £505million for 2014/15, with a council tax rise of 1.97% - equating to £24.51 a year for a Band D property.

The council expects a further £195million in savings will need to be made over the next five years, due to further reductions in Government funding, on top of £170million made over the last four years.

Councillors voted to set an early budget in November, which it says has already resulted in savings of £7million.

Speaking to members, council leader John Pollard said: “The plan was always to get an early budget agreed to enable us to minimise savings and start in the difficult process of the next stage of budget setting and business planning. We have achieved this.

“Our council tax and budget setting process and the conclusion of a 1.97% rise from the next year not only gained support in this chamber but widespread support outside.”

The budget was heavily consulted upon with finance and resources cabinet member, Alex Folkes, attending a series of public meetings.

Cllr Folkes said: “We want to keep council tax as low as possible but we have to balance this against the need to provide services for the people of Cornwall.”

But he added that the council would continue to lobby the Government to achieve a fairer share of funding.

He said: “We will continue to lobby the Government for more funding for Cornwall to bring us up to the same level as urban councils. “We will also be calling on the Government to provide details of the financial settlement much earlier to provide both this council and town and parish councils with greater clarity for our planning.”

Conservative group leader Fiona Ferguson, who voted against the budget, questioned whether the decision to approve the construction of new council offices at Bodmin was in keeping with cuts.

She said: “It was mooted by the last council but they didn’t sign the deal. I am not able to support this budget. We have to be consistent and I don’t think we are.”

Councillors also decided at the meeting to go ahead with the closure of two respite centres for children in the county.

A petition with 5,740 signatures asking for the council to review its decision to close St Christopher’s in Redruth and Red Wing in Truro was brought in by one parent who said the consultation process was not correctly carried out.

However, councillors voted against reviewing the decision with portfolio holder for children’s services, Andrew Wallis, saying funding would be invested elsewhere, including Poppins in Gwennap.

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  • b_mused  |  February 27 2014, 10:24PM

    Couple of other suggestions :- 1. Reduce the number of councillors by at least 50% ; we do not need 123 all drawing expenses etc. 2. Charge double council tax on second homes.

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  • nickthompson  |  February 26 2014, 6:44PM

    Oh joy, oh rapture, we pay more and get less, sounds about right.

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  • DipStick  |  February 26 2014, 2:23PM

    Another "1.97% rise" - just under the 2% that would require a local referendum to approve. And why are nbew CC offices more importasnt than keeping open respite centres? I mean - Cllr Folkes said: "We want to keep council tax as low as possible but we have to balance this against the need to provide services for the people of Cornwall." - obviously he doesn't mean what he says. But then he is a politician I suppose and his lips were moving! DS

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