Cost-cutting budget plan for Duchy unveiled
Controversial service cuts and increases in charges have been published by Cornwall Council which faces making £24 million additional savings next year.
The council announced last month that it would have to make the savings, on top of £19 million already planned, after cuts in its budget from Government.
Since then, the council, which expects to see its budget cut by £196 million by 2019, on top of £170 million saved since 2010, has staged a number of consultation events to gauge public opinion.
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Budget proposals unveiled yesterday showed its adult care, health and wellbeing budget would be cut by £11.7 million in 2014/15 – a figure which includes a £500,000 reduction in staff costs and £2.3 million from its charging review which is currently being consulted on.
The children, schools and families department has been earmarked for cuts of £2.3 million next year and £5.6 million the year after. It is proposing to slash its youth service budget by £200,000 in the next financial year, rising to £1.97 million in 2015-16.
So-called "reconfiguration" of children centres would save almost £500,000 next year and a further £3.4 million the following year.
The family intervention project, which working with some of Cornwall's most troublesome households, would also be axed, saving some £600,000.
Hours could also be cut at the county's "One Stop Shops" and libraries to save £400,000.
On the roads, the council has already come under fire for looking to slice £1 million off support for bus services. The same amount could be cut from highway maintenance while reducing grass cutting by 20% would save £300,000.
The already controversial "airport development fee" charged to passengers flying from Newquay, which was introduced in 2007, could also double to £10 to help the council reduce its subsidy to the airport by £400,000 a year.
Charges for garden waste collection, some park and ride schemes, and some planning services could also be hiked.
Councillor Alex Folkes, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: "Our aim has been to produce a budget which balances the need to provide services for vulnerable people and others who need them with our desire to keep council tax as low as possible for all the people of Cornwall in these challenging economic times.
"There are no easy decisions but we have again sought to ensure that we are cutting bureaucracy and back office functions wherever possible. These are still draft proposals. We are evaluating the many hundreds of ideas and suggestions from the public and our staff and we are happy to take on board good ideas either for the coming year or as we seek to make savings of up to £196m per year by the end of 2018/19."