The (avoidable) Budget Cuts to Council Services and Staff

On Monday 18th March, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet is meeting to implement the totally unnecessary and avoidable cuts to services and staffing that now will have to be administered post the council’s budget decision.

By not putting up Council Tax for less than the price of a (weekly) chocolate bar, the council has to find an additional £4.672 million in savings, or better described as cuts. This is despite the Section 151 clearly giving her professional view that by going for a headline catching 0% will make services undeliverable, or heavily reduced.

So where are these extra cuts coming from? Are they just the highly-paid consultants that has been the justification for this budget? Put simply, no. These cuts are coming from contracted staff and vital agency staff used to cover for important positions, as without these types of staff, services would not be delivered.

For Adult Care and Support, cuts to the budget amounts to £840,000. The majority will come from staffing which could lead to short notice and I hope temporary closure of services like day care centres who reply on the flexibility of agency staff to cover staff sickness, maternity and other valid reasons. So much so, the Conservative Councillor who has responsibility in this area has resigned from his party in disgust on the budget decision.

Children, Schools and Families will have an eye-watering cut of £906,000. This directorate used agency staff to work within Children’s Social Work and Children’s centres. The savings will be delivered by reviewing and reducing agency staff, extending recruitment times for vacancies, which could potentially lead to saving having to be made to frontline services.

Face to Face services which includes the contact centre will have to find £358,000. Out of that amount, £270,000 will be delivered by reducing the operating and opening times of libraries and one stop shops, and by reducing the opening hours of the contact centre. This will probably be implemented as quickly as possible. This is no spin, this is the harsh reality of the budget.

The Chief Executive’s department has been told to find £674,000 in savings. Various reorganisations will have to take place within that department, which will lead to permanent staff losing their jobs with the remaining staff having to pick up their work load and/or seeing services reduced. At least 18 permanent staff will lose their jobs due to this cut.

Finance, the very people who help keep the council running in a stable financial footing will lose £320,000 from their budget. At least 12 permanent staff will go, resulting in the provision of minimum statutory cover and the loss of preventative work in fraud.

Other departments will see the following cuts; Environment, £387,000; Legal, Democratic and Procurement service, £122,000; Information Services, £488,000. This is on top of the £170 million in cuts that have to be carried out as part of the four-year budget.

No one likes to put up Council Tax, and Cornwall Council has not raised Council Tax for the last two-years. However, costs go up and services have to be provided. You also need people employed to provide those services. This budget has resulted in unnecessary cuts that could have been avoided.

I really believe if there was not an Election so close to the budget, Councillors would have provided a sensible and deliverable budget. But short-term headlines and campaign bragging-rights have been put before service delivery.

5 comments

  • Time to Act!!

    Well Done to the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Members who voted through this ridiculous alternative budget, without truly understanding the magnitude of their vote.
    I wrote before that they were idiots. I think this was possibly too kind!! They are in fact naive idiots who have little or no respect for the office that they hold, or the impact that their decisions have on the general public.
    It is common knowledge that a lot of the Members who make these decisions, decisions that affect hard working individuals who are trying to make Cornwall a better place to live and work, decisions that affect the services provided to the young and vulnerable within our community, have little or no business acumen. Nor do they truly understand how their vote will affect the Services provided by those staff above.
    WELL NOW THEY DO!!
    The report from the 151 Officer mentioned by Andrew, the same Officer who tried to impart her considerable professional knowledge to these imbeciles now makes it very clear how their vote will impact on everyone living and working within Cornwall.
    Are we to believe that those responsible for creating and voting through the alternative budget knew what their vote really meant? If the answer is yes, then i guess they have no conscience. If the answer is no, then they should look at this report and take note of the consequences of their actions, and we must hope that their conscience makes them take stock of their position and truly understand the possible outcomes of abusing their right to vote on behalf of their constituents.
    I for one will be making sure that these people are made aware of the impact of their abuse of power when they come knocking on my door in May. I hope you will do the same!

  • mick martyn

    well said Andrew and Time to Act – this is shameful and what makes it even more so is the tosh that Fokes is spouting on his blog to justify it, criticise others (usual trick) and just spout waffle when asked a question. Andrew please please please do what you can on Monday to get some common sense, if nothing else put the Lib Dems on the spot and ask them in front of all (including the webcast), exactly which services, budgets etc they are spouting about and what would have been the impact – we all know they cant answer unless they admit they have cocked up big time. Roll on 2nd May and dont vote Lib Dem!!!!!!!

  • Toni Mills

    Surely the budget vote reflects equally badly on the ‘official’ Conservatives as well as the LibDems? Both of them supported the measure. How does that factor into the May elections? It’s a truly ridiculous decision which reflects badly on the people who voted as well as the leaders who hatched the plan, but I think it will just leave a sour taste for local politics with most of the voters. Hopefully, enough honourable independents will survive to show some leadership in the new council. Can’t be worse than the last six months of this one.

  • riscornwall

    Andrew,
    I completely agree with you. Political machinations instigated by the Lib Dems and used for political advantage by the Tories have produced an impossible situation in the dying days of the council.
    Regards,
    RIS Cornwall

  • Cornwall doesn't need politics - people first!

    Just a reminder that ALL Councillors that supported the Lib Dems budget are JUST as guilty of undermining our county and its people!

    Cllr Wallis has listed the supporters on another posting, find their blogs and email addresses and let them know their guilt!!

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