Today, Cornwall Council has set its budget and Council Tax for the 2016/17 period. This function has to be carried out yearly. This budget, like previous years is going to be painful due to the Governments cuts to the Council’s grant.
The recent Government’s Spending Review in a last-minute and unplanned for move, took a further £6m away from the Council’s grant. This is on top of the previous cuts. In a rapid rethink, the Government realised the slight-of-hand settlement by moving funding from rural to urban authority was going to impact on many rural authorities, including many Tory shire-lands. So they changed it. I would say this was good news for Cornwall, but even with the last-minute
bribes changes, Cornwall is still £1.4m worse off than previously planned.
Your Council Tax is made up of three elements. Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and town and parish council’s.
The Council Tax charge for a Band D property in 2015/16 was £1,293.92. This is set to rise in the 2016/17 period to £1,345.29. This is a 3.97% increase; or a rise of £51.37 per year, £4.20 per month. However, 2% of the 3.97% rise has to be spent on Adult Social Care.
I do take issue with the Government’s plan to allow council’s to precept 2% for Adult Social Care. The truth be told is the Government should fund this. It should not be down to local postcode taxation to raise the much-needed funding for this sector. Furthermore, Children’s Services also is part of social care, yet in the current rules, all the social care precept has to be sent on Adult Social Care.
The Police part of the precept is currently set at £169.47 per year. This will rise by 1.99% to £177.84 for 2016/17. In pounds, shillings and pence, this is a rise £8.37 per year, or 69p per month.
The third part of the Council Tax bill is the town and parish councils. Each town and parish council sets its own level of precept. However, the average rise in this precept is 17.93% from £86.18 to £101.63.
For Porthleven, the town council’s precept including the other two elements is:
Yes, the town council precept will rise by £1.30 per year. The £60.90 pays for many things in Porthleven, including the two toilets, grass cutting, maintenance of certain areas including the play parks and many other services.
For Helston Town Council, the precept is currently £303,690 per year. This will rise by 10.8% to £336,580 for the period of 2016/17. This means the town council element of the Council Tax in a Band D property in 2015/16 from £91.87 to £100.69, rise 9.6%. A £8.82 rise, or 73p per month.
Whilst this Cornwall Council budget is going to be hard-hitting, there is some good news for the Children’s Services budget. In the budget period till 2019/20, there was around £9m in un-allocated savings that was yet to be found in the service area. With the approval of the budget today, these un-allocated savings will now not have to be found. Phew. As if these savings were required, it would have far-reaching and devastating impact on Children’s Services in Cornwall.
In a comedy moment of the day, the amendment to the main budget put forward by councillors Bob Edgerton and Lisa Dolley was resoundingly defeated with only Bob voting in favour of the amendment. His seconder had left the room during the vote…
The overall vote for the budget was in 67 favour, 13 against and 21 abstaining.
Those 67 who voted in favour of the budget, did this so with regret and difficulty because of the over all impact of the cuts. However, a budget must be set.