Council tax set to rise by almost 2 per cent
Homeowners are facing a 2 per cent council tax hike as Cornwall Council attempts to increase revenues.
In a meeting today, Cornwall Council’s cabinet recommended a draft budget which would see council tax rise by 1.97 per cent in 2014.
If the budget is accepted, residents of a band D property in Cornwall will pay an extra £24.51 a year on top of their existing bill.
Despite the increased revenue, the Council has said that significant spending cuts will still be made.
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Cabinet members have defended the measures as necessary to the preservation of essential services in the county.
Alex Folkes, Cornwall Council cabinet member for resources, said: “This is a balanced budget which does as much as possible to preserve key services and cut down on waste and inefficiency.
“No one here today wants to be in a position where services are cut. But the scale of the cuts forced upon us mean that Cornwall Council cannot look the same in five years’ time as it does today.
“The aim of this budget is to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people in Cornwall who rely on the services provided by the council and ensures we can preserve the services which the people of Cornwall have come to value.”
Mr Folkes acknowledged that families are facing tough financial choices and said that the council is doing all it can to keep bills low and affordable.
Since 2010 Cornwall Council has made £170 million worth of savings.
Further reductions in central government funding mean that the council will need to make an additional £195 million in savings over the next five years.
Council Leader John Pollard said: “We are in the process of building a different, even more efficient and financially secure Cornwall.
“The necessity of doing this is not of our making. Not only has our funding been drastically reduced, the predictions are that we will have to make further significant savings in the coming years.
“We went to council early to agree the budget in principle and this has enabled us to continue with the process of establishing priorities– calmly, in detail, with an eye to the future and I hope, cushioning the effects of some major changes by planning their implementation over a period of time.”
The council leader suggested that the challenge ahead was “enormous” and that the county must pull together to provide the “the best possible backcloth for the lives of all our citizens.”
The extra revenue gained from the proposed council tax increase will bring the council budget to £505 million in the next financial year.
The draft budget will debated in a full council meeting on February 25.