"Horrifying" cuts proposed in draft Cornwall Council budget
MORE cuts to bus services, the privatisation of traffic wardens and a reduction in road maintenance are on the cards for Cornwall after the council revealed its budget plans.
Planning application charges could rise and the fee to fly from Newquay Cornwall Airport could double under draft plans released this week.
Cornwall Council has to make £24 million of savings on top of £19 million already planned after cuts in its budget from central government.
Liberal Democrat Alex Folkes, Cabinet member for finance and resources, said the council anticipated having to make savings of up to £196 million over the next five years.
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"In order to do that we need to completely reassess the services the council provides," he said.
Mr Folkes has attended a series of public meetings across Cornwall where people have been encouraged to put forward their views on how the council could save money.
"We need to find out what we should be hanging on to at all costs," he said. "Other services should be scaled back and others we're not going to be able to continue at all.
"We're not going to discover a money tree and there's no way of being the same in five years' time."
The council's draft budget document revealed plans for the "externalisation of parking operations, particularly parking enforcement" to save £100,000 in 2014-15.
The council is also looking at saving £400,000 a year through doubling the controversial airport development fee paid by passengers at Newquay Cornwall Airport from £5 to £10.
Adult care faces the biggest budget cuts, with the council hoping to make extra savings of £11.7 million next year – a figure which includes a £500,000 reduction in staffing costs for the service and £2.3 million from its charging review, on which consultation is now taking place.
Mr Folkes said there had been many hard decisions: "Of course I regret it, but on balance that's what we think is the fairest way of seeking to balance the budget."
Fiona Ferguson, leader of the Conservative opposition at County Hall, said the proposed cuts were horrifying: "These are tough times and I accept there are tough decisions but it's awful to read about these drastic actions," she said.
The question of pay for council staff needed to be considered, she said, with possible savings to be made.
"I find it difficult to contemplate the horrifying list of cuts while hearing we have budgetary pressures of £196 million and part of that includes pay rises for each of the next three years," she said.
The consultation on the budget closes next week, with the final proposals expected to be discussed by the Cabinet in mid-November ahead of a full council debate scheduled for November 26.