Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Today’s vote on the budget at Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council today set its budget for 2016/17, with the majority of councillors supporting a 3.97% increase in council tax.

Previously, central government dictated that councils could not increase council tax by more than 2% without a referendum, but recently announced that councils could raise council tax by a further 2% to specifically secure additional monies for adult social care.

The four MK members supported the increase put forward by the Independent and Liberal Democrat administration. Put simply, we felt there was no alternative, due to the ongoing reduction in funding due to the Conservative’s austerity measures and the increasing cost of providing local services.

Recent announcements from central government included an additional £6 million cut as it redistributed funding from rural to urban areas. This was in addition to the expected and already draconian cuts from the Tories, though pressure led to the Government providing a one-off payment of £2.9 million to partially offset its extra cuts!

Speaking on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, I made it clear that our support for the council tax increase did not mean that we supported everything that was contained with the associated Corporate Business Plan.

I made it clear that we would continue to oppose those proposals with which we did not agree, but today we had to focus on the “big picture” and support the attempt of the administration to safeguard the council’s finances at this very, very difficult time.

I also appealed to the administration to be as strong as possible in opposing the Government’s cuts agenda, and pushing for fair funding for Cornwall.

The increase was supported by almost all Independent and Liberal Democrat councillors, as well as the sole Green councillor and one of the three UKIP councillors. The Labour Group said they were in favour of the council tax increase but voted against the overall package. Most of the Tories abstained.

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