Cornwall

Cornwall Council budget: Tax freeze agreed

Cornwall Council
Image caption The authority froze its part of the council tax for the third year running

Cornwall Council has voted to freeze council tax after a proposal by the Liberal Democrats was agreed.

The Conservative and Independent-controlled Cabinet had put forward a budget to save more than £30m and raise council tax by 1.97% from April.

But the Liberal Democrats' proposal for a budget of £526m for 2013/2014 was passed by 52 votes to 49.

It will mean the Cornwall Council element of council tax for a Band D property will remain at £1,244,41.

The Cabinet argued that a rise was the only option to protect frontline services.

But some members of the Conservative group voted with opposition Liberal Democrats to freeze council tax for the third year in a row.

The amendment targets spending on agency staff and consultants and the communications and strategy budget.

It also includes £175,000 for fixing potholes and maintaining children's play equipment and green spaces and £200,000 for the Youth Service budget.

'Positive budget'

Cuts include £855,000 from adult care and support, £723,000 from children, schools and families and £365,000 from shared services such as libraries.

Interim Chief Executive Paul Masters said it could cost 135 posts at the council and council leader Jim Currie called it "half baked".

But Liberal Democrat deputy leader Alex Folkes said he did not think job losses would be "anything like" the 135 predicted by Mr Masters.

He said: "I think it's a really positive budget and it's what the people of Cornwall want.

"Two years ago we were spending £750,000 a month on agency staff and consultants. This year we are spending at least £1m a month.

"There is spending on agency staff which is bloated. I don't want to see a single person lose their job but I want to deliver the best services for the cheapest rate."

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