Cornwall Council’s Cabinet met at New County Hall in Truro today to discuss key decisions on the four year budget and business plan, a multi million pound investment programme in new homes, jobs and infrastructure in local communities, the new waste contract and exciting proposals to transform adult social care and services for children, young people and families.
Members of the Cabinet voted unanimously to support the Council Business Plan and Budget 2018/2019 which will prioritise spending on services that make sure children and young people get the best start in life, that communities feel the benefit of economic growth and that support vulnerable residents to live independently. This includes investing in Cornwall to raise wages and improve jobs and housing opportunities for local residents.
The Council has already saved nearly £300m since 2010, but will need to find a further £75m in savings over the next four years to balance the budget and continue to provide essential services. Key measures in the budget include proposals for an increase in Council tax by 4.99% including a 3% increase for adult social care, an increase in charges for some services and a reduction in some services or to stop providing them altogether. These proposals will now be open for public consultation.
Introducing the budget and business plan Julian German, the Cabinet Member for Resources, said the Council would continue to look for ways to improve services, making them more efficient and prioritising frontline services, and wanted to hear the views of residents and businesses on their proposals.
“The challenges we face, while difficult, are something we can address with community support. Over the past few years local people have told us what they thought about our proposals for savings. This feedback, thoughts and suggestions have informed the decisions about the budget we have set each year.
Cornwall’s residents can have their say by completing an online survey or attending a public meeting via the Council’s website www.cornwall.gov.uk/budget2017. The consultation closes on Friday 29 December 2017. The final budget will be submitted to full Council for decision in February 2018.
Today’s Cabinet also supported:
- A draft vision and objectives for a new Investment Programme agreed by the Council earlier this year. The multi million pound programme will see the Council directly investing in the delivery of new homes, commercial space to support the creation of new jobs and businesses, and the development of new healthcare facilities and schools. Following today’s decision the Investment Programme will now be considered at the next meeting of the full Council on 22 November when the final decision will be made.
- With the Government expected to launch a formal consultation on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund early next year, Members unanimously approved the key principles which will enable further work to take place on developing the Council’s position. This includes lobbying for a single pot programme, with budgets agreed directly from the Treasury, rather than through various individual Government departments and local accountability.
- Changing how kerbside waste and recycling is collected in the future, including a recommendation for adding food waste to weekly recycling collections, with all other waste that can’t be recycled collected every fortnight. Members approved the recommendations, which will now be the subject of a further report to the Cabinet in February 2018 when a final decision will be made on the development of the household waste collection and cleansing contract which is due to come into force in March 2020. Evidence from other Local Authorities, 75% of which collect waste that can’t be recycled fortnightly, shows that this could enable Cornwall to rise from its current recycling rate of 35.7% to meet the 2020 50% national recycling target.
- A programme of essential work to transform Adult Social Care over the next three years to help manage present and future demand. As well as setting a framework for the Council and NHS Kernow to work together towards jointly commissioning services so that there is a greater focus on helping people maintain their own independence and their quality of life, the Cabinet also supported the proposal to invest in care workers by ensuring that they are paid the Living Wage Foundation rates of pay. This will help people retain their independence and be able to access care at home when they leave hospital and reduce the number of bed days lost through delayed transfers of care.
- Improving children’s outcomes in Cornwall by developing a business case for a new service model to help integrate education, early years, children’s community health, early help and social care services. Members agreed to support the development of a full business case which will then be brought back for further consideration. Improving the quality of residential short breaks in Cornwall to meet growing demand by making changes to combine Camlann and Number One, relocate Tresor, and upgrade all the buildings. Poppins will remain as is. This will enable the three settings to be open seven days a week and support 100 plus children. It will also provide funding to develop a crisis / outreach team to support both families in the community and children and staff in the settings.
Other decisions included support for the first phase of the £10m St Austell Resilient Regeneration project and a proposal to acquire land in Liskeard with consent for 51 homes as part of the Housing Development Plan to meet local housing demand and need. The site would include 13 affordable homes and could also include market rented homes and some homes for private sale.