Today, I was attending a planning conference with many of my fellow Cornwall Councillors. This was post a ‘Peer Review’ on how Cornwall Council carries out the planning process. Basically a Peer Review is Councillors and officers from other authorities visit another authority to monitor and report on how certain functions are carried out by an authority.
You might now think I am about to talk about this review, but I am not. This is because it would be too early to discuss this because all the information, views and ideas from this conference needs to be collated, and then if necessary implemented.
The subject in which I will be talking about it the honestly from Kevin Lavery CEO of Cornwall Council. Backbenchers often complain about the lack of information coming out of the Cabinet and the fourth-floor. Today, Kevin Lavery shared his concerns on future cuts that all local authorities could face from Central Government in 2014.
I have heard rumours of this, but no one had said to me that this was of real concern. It turns out that Cornwall Council could expect up to 35% in cuts from the grant is receives from Central Government. For the 2012/13 period Cornwall receives around £264.71 million in grants from government. This is broken down further as: Formula Grant – £206.477 million and £58,594 million from a core government grant. On top of this £646.856 million is mostly from Council Tax.
This percentage if true is a staggering amount of money for Cornwall Council to lose. It will be extremely hard for this to be implemented because Cornwall Council has already had to face some pretty hard-cuts. There might be some mitigation against this because the current Government is going to allow local authorities to keep up to 50% of the NDR (Business Rates) collected. Currently all this money goes to the Government, who give a percentage back. Cornwall is lucky, as it roughly receives the same amount back as it collects. However, if Cornwall Council can only keep 50%, then is will see another reduction in funding from the Government.
Cornwall Council might have just weathered one financial storm, but it looks to be sailing head-on into a financial Hurricane.