by Jeremy Rowe on 29 November, 2010
Cornwall Council meets tomorrow to discuss and decide on the Tory-led administration’s ‘Emergency’ Budget proposals. Given the climate of cuts coming from the Coalition government some changes to the Council’s budgetary arrangements will be unavoidable but tomorrow’s proposals are deeply flawed in many respects, not least the concept of ‘front-loading’ whereby the administration plans to make savage cuts far earlier than is actually necessary.
The Liberal Democrat Group at Cornwall Council has tabled four amendments to the Budget and the essence of these is as follows:
Firstly we feel that the Cabinet’s proposals for Adult Social Care have the potential to leave elderly care in Cornwall deeply exposed. Shirley Polmounter and Mario Fonk have therefore put forward an amendment to ensure that the administration’s proposed additional fees and charges are ringfenced for use by the Council’s Adult Social Care service rather than disappearing into another unidentified area of Council spending.
Secondly there is great concern about the administration’s proposals for the Library Service. This is probably the most efficient area of Council spending and we believe that the level of cuts proposed simply cannot be nodded through, particularly given the disgraceful absence of detail in the Cabinet’s proposals. Therefore Alex Folkes and Les Donnithorne are proposing that the Library Service is supported until the Cabinet come up with some detail and that any shortfall is provided from the Leader of the Council’s ‘Contingency’ budget.
The third area is around the proposals for cuts to Leisure Services such as Bude Sea Pool, the Jubilee Pool at Penzance and Camelford Leisure Centre. Nathan Bale and Tamsin Williams have put forward an amendment which will stop the wanton destruction of these facilities and allow local people the time they need to come up with alternative funding arrangements.
The final aspect is around the general lack of detail in the budget proposals. Ann Kerridge and I have put forward an amendment which essentially states that the Council cannot be expected to blindly vote on budget cuts when no detail has been provided by the administration. We are therefore suggesting that any cuts that are put forward after tomorrow’s meetings should be fully discussed by the Council’s Scrutiny committees before a final decision is taken by the full membership.
Tomorrow promises (threatens?) to be a long day of debate around the future of public services in Cornwall. If you want to see how this very important meeting unfolds you can watch the Council webcast by following this link.1 Comment