Cornwall calls for long-term social care funding plan

Cornwall Council has approved a budget to invest in residents’ priorities and protect services for vulnerable children and older adults while keeping council tax bills among the lowest in the South West.

The authority has announced that, from April, the Cornwall Council element of council tax will rise by 1.99 per cent plus an additional three per cent for the government precept for adult social care – equivalent to an extra £1.52 a week for the average property (band D).

Unitary authorities and county councils across the South West are set to increase their council tax by 4.99 per cent due to pressures on local government funding and the need to safeguard essential services for residents. Cornwall Council is calling on the government to stop pushing the rising costs of adult social care onto council taxpayers each year and introduce a long-term and sustainable funding solution.

Councillors have agreed the latest business plan and budget which will see an extra £16 million a year invested to sustain social care services for vulnerable and older adults, on top of a £20 million uplift last year. Cornwall Council says that there will also be an additional £6 million annually injected into the Council’s Ofsted ‘outstanding’ services for children, schools and families, as well as the introduction of a new waste service to help encourage residents to recycle more.

The plan also proposes: investing over £180 million in connecting Cornwall with superfast broadband, better roads, and more safe spaces for walking and cycling; and leading the fight against the climate emergency, with more than £18 million set aside for renewable energy and our climate action plan - including planting an 8,000-hectare Forest for Cornwall, retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency, and installing electric vehicle charging points across Cornwall.

Savings in the budget include reducing business travel by 35 per cent, cutting paper use by 37 per cent, replacing streetlights with LED bulbs, and automating back-office processes.

Cllr Julian German, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “During the years of austerity, we have adapted the way we work as a council, allowing us to make £380 million of savings, while putting residents first and protecting the services that people have told us are most important – such as providing care for the elderly, more homes and jobs for local people, and keeping Cornwall’s roads in good repair.

“We have worked with communities to deliver better local library services, community spaces and leisure services, which are valued by the people who use them. We have transformed our children’s services to ‘outstanding’ making Cornwall Council’s services the best in the South West, and in the top 10 per cent across the country.

“However, the demand for our services is rising as more residents come to rely on our adult social care services, and more children than ever need the social care we provide. For many years, government have promised a sustainable funding solution, but instead government are forcing council's into council tax rises.”

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