Cornwall residents are up in arms over a possible 5% council tax hike. It would be the second increase residents will face in two consecutive years.
The Cornwall Council has already given the go-signal for the increase. It’s included in the draft for the 2024/2025 budget.
If the move pushes through, it would be the second year the council voted to raise the tax. An approval would mean the council tax will go up by 4.99%. The group reportedly wants to save £29 million next year. It also plans to save around £45 million by the 2027/28 fiscal year.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service said it will mean an annual increase of around £89. This pertains to Band D householders.
The council emphasized that the budget is fair. But it also admitted they developed the plan in the midst of a difficult economy. They noted that they also had to contend with high inflation rates. There was also a growing demand for council services.
Councilor David Harris said the council tax rise wasn’t an easy decision to make. The deputy leader said they’re 100% aware of the effect the increase would have on Cornwall’s residents. Especially now that the country is experiencing a cost of living crisis.
Harris explained they’re putting a lot of effort into providing more financial help. This will become offered to residents in need via the Council Tax Support Scheme. He added that there will be other avenues people can use to access and get help.
The projected increase would result in a Band D property going up to £1,892.75. This is for the Cornwall Council aspect of the charge.
The conventional council is now looking at a £33 million estimated deficit by 2025/2026. That’s a 60% increase from the £20 million of 2021.
Harris is happy that the Cornwall Council was able to develop a balanced budget in a short period of time. He says this would allow for a close look and meaningful discussion of the plans. To that end, Harris is encouraging residents to speak up.
Harris said it’s vital for every resident to feel like they’re part of the process. He also assured them that their voices would become heard. Their views will receive careful consideration. But he said he can’t guarantee each idea will become accepted.
Residents can find all the information they need about the budget on Let’s Talk Cornwall. There’s also an online survey they can check. Residents can ask for a physical copy of the survey at their local information hub or library.