Council sets a very difficult budget

Today, Councillors of Cornwall Council set a four-year budget. It is a difficult budget and no-one would like to have to set this budget. This budget will result in reductions of services and job losses. However, were the Council can, we have protected services to the most vulnerable and highways.  I like many other people in local government never got into this game to have to do these horrible cuts.

Since the formation of Cornwall Council, the Council has had endless budget reductions. Of course, the Council cannot just blame someone else. It had to look at itself to make sure services are as streamlined as possible. I believe the Council has done this. You only got to look at the number of staff reductions and service harmonisation to realise the Council has (and continues) to make sure services are delivered in the best possible way. However, even with the Council examining itself, these latest reductions are firmly due to the draconian cuts to funding imposed by the Government.

During the six-hour debate with four amendments to the budget, Councillors gave their views on the merits of the budget and how their political party knows best. Once you take out the political posturing, Members raised the point why the cuts have had to happen. I also do not believe utopia will be found post the General Election in 2015. It has been made clear by various political parties there will not be a sudden rush of ‘new’ money post this election. From my experience, it is never new money, it is recycled money and something somewhere else has to stop to pay for the ‘new’ money.

The Cabinet and now today the Council have set a budget that will hopefully give some stability to deliver the services people require. This budget will not be easy to deliver, and it will be down to the dedication of the staff to deliver. They will be asked to deliver this budget with fewer resources.  I wish we did not have to set a budget like this, but there is little choice. As you cannot lose one-third of your budget and still be able to deliver the same level of service. The delivery of service is made more difficult because they is also an increased demand on those services.

At the end of the emotive debate, Councillors voted in favour of the budget by 69 for, 21 against and 19 abstention.

12 comments

  • Gill Zella Martin

    19 abstentions seems a lot.

  • i was horrified to hear from one of your colleagues on yesterday’s BBC Radio Cornwall news, that had children and young people’s services not had its budget cut you still wouldn’t be investing in youth work!! I appreciate that the head of service doesn’t value youth work but was astounded to hear you share that opinion. Young people in Cornwall deserve better. Yours Andy R

  • Andrew Wallis

    Dear Andy,

    I think you are mistaken. What I said was in response to the budget amendment of taking £850k out of road maintenance and putting it into Youth Services. I said, If this money was given to the service I would not spend it all on YS. As there are other services which have had serious reductions like Child Protection, Early Years and the CHiN teams. It would be unfair of just putting all the money to one service, when these other services are equally in need of the money. The YS is just one part of my over all responsibilities and I must make sure all other services help children and young people.

  • Fred

    Gill 19 abstentions aren’t a lot, you obviously know nothing about voting in the council.
    I don’t know why the budget can cut children’s services on the one hand and yet have a new youth worker job invented in Porthleven and Helston on the other hand.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Fred, The cuts to the Council’s budget are different to the youth worker for Porthleven. As the Youth Worker for Porthleven will be paid (if final approval is given by Porthleven TC. A Youth Worker for Porthleven is receiving positive response from residents.

  • Gill Zella Martin

    Fred, I do not claim to know anything council voting, I purely expressed a personal opinion. I just thought that 19 abstentions was a lot. In my view, if one is a councillor, one should be prepared to make a decision and vote. Obviously excluding any votes that would involve a councillor holding a predudicial interest.

  • Fred

    Cllr Wallis

    The youth worker I’ve been told is to be a joint employment with Helston, so Porthleven TC are funding it all then and not Helston. Just as well because the Helston council tax payers wouldn’t be so happy as Porthleven council tax payers seemingly are to pay extra on there council tax.

    Gill

    19 abstentions!!! Didn’t you realise there are 123 cllrs, not many to abstain really.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Dear Fred,

    Your information is incorrect

  • Fred

    So the Helston tax payers wont be paying for a youth worker then that is supposed to be for Porthleven and Helston, or is it no longer for Helston because they don’t want to work jointly with Porthleven. No one should be having there council tax increased for newly invented jobs.

  • Fred

    I said in my post Helston are not funding the youth worker and you say my informations incorrect. So that means you’re saying Helston will be funding it along with Porthleven.

  • Fred

    Just noticed your comment Gill, I wondered why you didn’t respond to my first one that’s why I posted again and said there are 123 Cllrs. 19 cllrs abstaining is nothing out of 123, they’re obviously making a point they won’t vote for a rubbish budget so there abstentions are better than those cllrs that voted. You obviously know nothing about how council works.

  • Gill Zella Martin

    Fred, my knowledge, or lack of, on how the council works, is irrelevant to my personal opinion. I think 19 councillors abstaining from voting, particularly on something as important as the budget, is 19 too many. It does not matter how many councillors there are in total, it does not alter my opinion, unless a councillor has a prejudicial interest then in my opinion they should always vote. I personally see little point standing for councillor to represent the public, if one cannot make a decision and stand by it.
    I personally do not think the budget is “rubbish” I think it is as well balanced as can be expected given the funding availability.

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