Local Government funding is under threat again

The impact of cuts to local government are starting to be clearly seen by the public. It is of no surprise really, as you cannot reduce Cornwall Council’s budget of over £320m and not have an impact on services which either results in those services being reduced, or in a few cases, stopped completely. Of course the Council gets the blame for having to deal with reduced budgets and the government gets away with it scot-free.

The Chancellors July emergency budget has clearly expressed more savings to be found from ‘non-protected areas’ in government. The Department for Communities and Local Government is one of those non-protected areas and could find itself with a further 25% – 40% cut in budget.

It is a common misunderstanding that people believe the Council’s income is solely from Council Tax. The picture below clearly (I hope) shows the amount of funding the Council receives and where it is spent.  budget1

 

Between 2010 and 2014, £176m was taken out of the Council’s budget. From 2014 till 2018, the Council has to save a further £154m. The cuts will be painful, but the Council’s plan has been to ‘go early’ and take £60m in the first year as this actually protects services long-term. The rest will be reduced £25.5m 2016/17, £38.2m 2017/18 and £30.2m in 2018/19. The vast majority of these savings will be from staff and other efficiencies.

The Council’s current budget has been set on a 33% reduction. If the Chancellor wants a further 25%-40% cut in local government, then sadly, we in the Council will no doubt have to look at our budget again.

If the £205m the Council receives in government funding is reduced in the Autumn Statement, my fear is there is limited option left open to the Council to make up the shortfall. As Council Tax raises are capped at 1.97% and this increase is already taken into account in the Council’s four-year budget. It could monetize certain services, but these ideas are met with very vocal objection. If the shortfall cannot be found, then services will be affected.

We in the Council are at the mercy of the Chancellor and will find out our fate on November 25th when details of the Autumn Statement is released.

22 comments

  • Steve

    Wouldn’t you have loved to have had council tax included in the case for Cornwall, oh that’s right you did, but no powers yet for that from the Gov to CC thank goodness, or else you’d be racking that up to endless measures for us mugs to pay while you carry on wasting money on agency staff.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Actually agreed to take it out.

  • Steve

    Why, because you knew the Gov would laugh the Case out of the commons if you left it in there.

  • Steve

    The cabinet now always tries to pass the buck to the Gov about funding shortfall but conveniently keeps quiet about the money its wasting on agency staff still and the rise to the living wage for council staff.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Happy to share the actual cost, and they reduction in consultants.

    As for Living Wage, budget said it will have to be paid by April 2016. We have paid it early. Which I totally agree with.

  • Steve

    You paid the living wage about a year early before you even knew you’d have to. And tried to boast what a good thing this cabinet was doing.

  • Andrew Wallis

    I do think it is a good thing, as did the majority of Councillors, as this was discussed by the entire membership too. And yes, it is a good thing. You could say, we took a lead, which the Government is now following.

  • Steve

    Face facts Andy you’re in it for yourself, the last council had it right with Alec you’ve got it wrong.

  • Steve

    You took the lead and now the Govs following, don’t make me laugh, where’s your head, the Gov have screwed up because people out there wont be able to afford to pay their carers now.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Disagree with you. But you seem negative to everything I say.

  • Gill Zella Martin

    Personally, I think a continuing and increasing shortfall of government funding to Cornwall Council is a forgone conclusion with a Conservative government in power. In my opinion their pre-election economic policies did not add up. I believe there was no real explanation as from where some of the savings were to come. To date, I believe Cornwall Council has coped extremely well with the drop in funding. Maybe it is time for some people to direct their grievances for any cuts or abolishment of services, to local MP’s, as opposed to local Cornwall Councillors. The current Cornwall Council administration certainly have surpassed the previous one with sensible decision making. Take a look at the clear and evident downfalls of the BT part joint venture, this was something initiated by the previous administration.
    I personally have complete faith in the current administration of Cornwall Council to deal with ongoing funding cuts in the most productive way.

  • Steve

    If I’m negative to everything you say Andy that’s because what your saying is wrong. Just because you’re on the cabinet now doesn’t make you right.

  • Steve

    Gill why do think this cabinet is better the last one its still full people that don’t know what they’re doing. You don’t know what you’re talking about because the BT full deal would of been good for CC. And the BT joint venture now is good for CC.

  • Steve

    I’ll take your lack of answer as an admission that you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about then Gill.
    The BT joint venture has proven successful with no downfalls and if Andy hadn’t run a petition against it CC would be better off now with a full joint venture.

  • Sky Bloom

    Sadly I was expecting this Government to cut our Cornish budgets like this, and expect it to get worse! We are in for a hard time and I dread the thought of eventually needing carers myself, and there not being any Council Care budget any more!
    Thank you very much Andrew for keeping us informed of this Government’s austere measures. Hauntingly, for some reason, I am remembering the eerie feelings I got when I used to walk past the old Workhouse in the village where I lived as a child 🙁

  • Steve

    That’s quite funny really, I can bait Gill as much as I like and she wont reply because she’s obviously afraid of you Andy. Its true though if you hadn’t stopped it CC probably would of have a full JV now with BT and be better off and you know that don’t you Andy.

  • Steve

    Aren’t you going to answer my question Gill? Why do think this cabinet is better than the last? And why do think BT joint venture isn’t good for CC. Don’t worry about Andy, hell just give you a slap if you go off topic. The BT joint venture is great for CC and a full one would of stopped CC being short of money.Falmouth would of benefitted.

  • Gill Zella Martin

    Steve, I have no idea who you are but I disagree with all your posts. My lack of response to your questions is not an admission of anything. This cabinet is more successful than the previous because their financial decisions and economic policies have solid foundation.
    The current BT part joint venture I believe has failed to meet anywhere near its targets, and failed to deliver the jobs that were promised as part of the deal. I signed the petition that Andrew ran in opposition to the full joint venture, a venture which was initiated by the previous administration. Cornwall Council would not be better off had a full JV gone ahead anymore than they are with a non target keeping part joint venture now. In my view I think given the way BT run their own company, with wastage on expenditure, it was a forgone conclusion it would not be a complete success. Personally why anyone thought BT would be good in partnership with Cornwall Council I have no idea. Unless of course it was a case of jobs for mates! I notice Kevin Lavery did not stay around long enough to see what happened!
    The drop in government funding is the problem for Cornwall Council and will continue to be so, it is inevitable unfavourable cuts to services will be made, unfortunately one cannot please all of the people all of the time.

    Incidentally, whether in jest or not, as someone that has suffered physical violence in the past, I do not appreciate being told that Andrew would slap me for any reason.

  • Steve

    Wow Gill, I didn’t see that one coming, you’re more clued up than I thought you’d be.

    Any bloke that hits women is a coward but then its up to you to decide if Andy is a coward. The more you learn about CC proceedings with the budget the more you’ll think its not all the governments fault. Don’t suppose Andy will be putting on his blog though that Cornwall admin don’t know what they’re doing.

  • Steve

    I see you didn’t like my comment again there Andy. For someone that’s as vocal as you are you don’t like opposition do you. What was wrong with my reply to Gill, have I rattled a few chains. I don’t agree with CC budgeting or the selling off of land in Falmouth just to meet your shortfalls on money for other services.

  • Steve

    You really don’t like people disagreeing with you do you Andy. I expect you’ll have a different attitude at the next election.

  • Steve

    There is plenty you could save money on and you know it.

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