Services 'at risk of failure' in wake of Cornwall council tax freeze
Senior Cornwall councillors yesterday warned that services were at risk of "failure" as the fallout from the controversial council tax freeze decision rumbled on.
Cornwall Council's cabinet members last month saw their bid for a near 2% rise rejected, as an unlikely coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats voted instead to keep bills on hold.
The decision has left the council needing to find additional £4.67 million in savings in the next financial year on top of the £30 million which had already been budgeted for.
10% Oil Fired Central Heating Servicing and Repair OAP and Armed...View details
Beat the Cornish weather with this great oil fired central heating servicing and repair offer from JonnyOilman. 10% Discount on servicing and repair of oil fired boilers in mid and west Cornwall
Terms: Armed Forces and OAPs Only
Contact: 0800 9558559
Valid until: Wednesday, June 26 2013
A report to the cabinet had already spelled out the consequences, with further job losses, cuts to library hours and call centre opening times, as well as abandoning the Royal Cornwall Show all on the cards.
And yesterday there were some bitter recriminations as cabinet members had their own say on the consequences for their departments.
Joan Symons, cabinet member for tourism, culture and leisure described the extra £358,000 cuts from "shared services" would be the "start of a sliding scale which will eventually close our libraries".
Meanwhile, adult social care portfolio holder Armand Toms, one of three cabinet members to resign from the Tories over the budget, said: "I genuinely believe the end process of this budget will be a failure of some services."
Bert Biscoe, portfolio holder for transportation, highways and environment, said a "retreat from the Royal Cornwall show is to retreat from engaging with the public of Cornwall".
He warned that could have "psychological consequences" at a time when public, and council, were dealing with financial hardship adding: "It is a symbolic thing and vitally important in my view."
With local elections due in May, council leader Jim Currie added: "I am most concerned about the next council and that has been my main aim, since sitting, here, to ensure we give the next council the best possible chance.
"In 2015, if this continues, the situation will be verging on the impossible."
The budget put forward by the Lib-Dems, and backed by many Conservatives, had aimed to fund the additional cuts through reducing the costs of agency staff and consultants.
However, the report to cabinet warned: "While in some areas some of the savings will come from reducing agency staff, in other areas permanent posts will be lost."
Among the jobs under threat are four posts in the legal, democratic and procurement office and the same number from the people and organisational development service.
The finance and strategy, localism and communications departments will have to axe 12 and 14 posts respectively.
Interim chief executive Paul Masters said staff would be redeployed wherever possible but told the meeting he couldn't "promise" there wouldn't be compulsory redundancies.