The Cornwall Council held a meeting in which it was proposed that the general increase in council tax rates should be 1.99%, together with a 3% levy for adult social care. The budget and medium term financial plan was approved, with 60 councillors in favour, 45 against, and three abstentions.
The previously proposed increase was of 5.99%, but the government provided additional funding to County Hall. Julian German, the Cabinet member responsible for the budget, highlighted that the council had seen its funding from central government cut from £404 million in 2009 to a projected £58 million in 2021.
The newly proposed budget has changed the plans to increase the cost of transport passes for post-16 students and will also protect the most vulnerable people, while providing homes and jobs for people in Cornwall. Council leader Adam Paynter commented on the change saying that the council would be leading on the living wage and putting an extra £10 million into the pockets of the lowest pain in Cornwall.
The bid brought forward by the Conservative councillors was rejected as it tabled the alternative budget and suggested the shortfall could be met by increasing the revenue generated by Conservatives by £1.9 million and by cutting management costs at County Hall by just over £1 million. The Liberal Democrat group leader Malcolm Brown suggested that the alternative the Conservatives proposed would put some major economic development projects at risk, including the investment in the A38, the A30 west of Hayle, and the link road between St Austell and the A30.
Labour group leader Tim Dwelly highlighted that the budget includes £77 million of cuts and warned that they would be “cutting into the bone of many services”. Another amendment put forward by him to increase funding for children’s services by a total of £1 million was lost by 85 votes to five, with 11 abstentions.