Cornwall Council Budget

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In the autumn of 2020 Cornwall Council consulted on the draft budget for 2021-22.

The draft budget proposals reflected that the financial impact of the pandemic on Cornwall and Cornwall Council has been huge, and that fundamental changes to the way we work will be required if we are to meet residents’ needs.

The budget engagement focused on asking people if Cornwall Council delivers value for money for the services they use, if they were supportive in principle of increasing council tax by the maximum allowed by Government and what council tax increase they were willing to pay. You can view a copy of the budget survey below and watch a recording of the Budget Consultation Stakeholder Event.

It should be noted that the budget proposals for consultation were drafted on the assumption that the Government’s special levy for Adult Social Care precept would not be available this year, and the feedback therefore needs to be considered in that context.

Key findings

  • Feedback from the consultation and engagement suggests many stakeholders, businesses and residents generally support the Council’s approach to reducing the budget by focusing on changing how the Council operates and reducing the size of the organisation.
  • Many see opportunities to make more use of digital services but also want to ensure the Council is more accessible for people without access to the internet.
  • Stakeholders see opportunities for the Council to work differently in future – building further on the close collaboration established in response to the pandemic - to deliver value for money as well as better outcomes for residents.
  • Key findings from the survey are:
    • 50% of respondents agreed with the proposal to increase council tax by the maximum allowed by Government without having to hold a referendum. 42.1% of respondents disagreed with this proposal, with the remainder neither agreeing nor disagreeing.
    • 74.7% of respondents indicated they would be prepared to pay an increase of 1%. 56.3% of respondents would be prepared to pay a council tax increase of 1.99%, 25.3% an increase of 3%, 15.5% an increase of 4% and 6.5% would be prepared to pay an increase of more than 4%. 25.3% would not be prepared to pay any council tax increases.
  • The services considered most important by survey respondents included services for those most in need of help and support, such as social care services, affordable housing provision and mental health services, followed by services to improve the environment and tackle climate change, roads and transport, education and supporting the economy.
  • Survey respondents generally favoured measures to improve how the council operated above making service reductions. They suggested reducing tiers of management, staff salaries, the number of offices and other overheads as suitable measures, or pointed to the need to improve efficiency and performance.
  • Many of the comments received reflect concerns about increasing council tax at a time when many in Cornwall are struggling financially, including due to the impact of Covid-19.
  • There are continued calls to lobby government for more funding and for powers to enable the raising of a tourist tax and increasing council tax on second homes.

The findings of the budget consultation have been used to inform the decision making process to approve the budget at the February 2021 meeting of Cornwall Council.

The agreed budget included a 4.99% increase to Council Tax in 2021/22, which includes a 3% government precept specifically to fund Adult Social Care services. The budget includes measures to make a further £33m savings over the next four years, of which £18m will be required in 2021/22 to meet a balanced budget position. However, with a cumulative budget gap of £27m by 2024/25, the total savings required to be delivered will be in the region of £60m.


In the autumn of 2020 Cornwall Council consulted on the draft budget for 2021-22.

The draft budget proposals reflected that the financial impact of the pandemic on Cornwall and Cornwall Council has been huge, and that fundamental changes to the way we work will be required if we are to meet residents’ needs.

The budget engagement focused on asking people if Cornwall Council delivers value for money for the services they use, if they were supportive in principle of increasing council tax by the maximum allowed by Government and what council tax increase they were willing to pay. You can view a copy of the budget survey below and watch a recording of the Budget Consultation Stakeholder Event.

It should be noted that the budget proposals for consultation were drafted on the assumption that the Government’s special levy for Adult Social Care precept would not be available this year, and the feedback therefore needs to be considered in that context.

Key findings

  • Feedback from the consultation and engagement suggests many stakeholders, businesses and residents generally support the Council’s approach to reducing the budget by focusing on changing how the Council operates and reducing the size of the organisation.
  • Many see opportunities to make more use of digital services but also want to ensure the Council is more accessible for people without access to the internet.
  • Stakeholders see opportunities for the Council to work differently in future – building further on the close collaboration established in response to the pandemic - to deliver value for money as well as better outcomes for residents.
  • Key findings from the survey are:
    • 50% of respondents agreed with the proposal to increase council tax by the maximum allowed by Government without having to hold a referendum. 42.1% of respondents disagreed with this proposal, with the remainder neither agreeing nor disagreeing.
    • 74.7% of respondents indicated they would be prepared to pay an increase of 1%. 56.3% of respondents would be prepared to pay a council tax increase of 1.99%, 25.3% an increase of 3%, 15.5% an increase of 4% and 6.5% would be prepared to pay an increase of more than 4%. 25.3% would not be prepared to pay any council tax increases.
  • The services considered most important by survey respondents included services for those most in need of help and support, such as social care services, affordable housing provision and mental health services, followed by services to improve the environment and tackle climate change, roads and transport, education and supporting the economy.
  • Survey respondents generally favoured measures to improve how the council operated above making service reductions. They suggested reducing tiers of management, staff salaries, the number of offices and other overheads as suitable measures, or pointed to the need to improve efficiency and performance.
  • Many of the comments received reflect concerns about increasing council tax at a time when many in Cornwall are struggling financially, including due to the impact of Covid-19.
  • There are continued calls to lobby government for more funding and for powers to enable the raising of a tourist tax and increasing council tax on second homes.

The findings of the budget consultation have been used to inform the decision making process to approve the budget at the February 2021 meeting of Cornwall Council.

The agreed budget included a 4.99% increase to Council Tax in 2021/22, which includes a 3% government precept specifically to fund Adult Social Care services. The budget includes measures to make a further £33m savings over the next four years, of which £18m will be required in 2021/22 to meet a balanced budget position. However, with a cumulative budget gap of £27m by 2024/25, the total savings required to be delivered will be in the region of £60m.


  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Please complete our short survey to give your views on our draft budget. This survey will close on 14 December 2020.

    We propose the following as part of our draft budget and business plan for 2021/22:

    • Continuing to develop and implement plans for savings and generating income that were identified in previous years and consult on these as required.
    • Increasing council tax to help cover the costs of increasing demand and reduce the need to make service reductions. We are proposing to increase council tax by the maximum increase we are allowed by Government without having to hold a referendum (currently 1.99%).   
    • Reducing the size of our organisation and our staffing costs, including through vacancy management, a targeted Voluntary Severance Scheme and a pay review 
    • Driving down the costs of our contracts with external providers
    • Redesigning our organisation, including by reducing the layers of management and making more use of automation, to create a leaner and more efficient organisation 
    • Redesigning our services to be high performing and lower cost, with a customer centric approach delivering better outcomes for residents.
    • Changing the way we work, including through formalised flexible working arrangements (ie working from home) to reduce the number of offices and buildings we need to maintain.
    • Making investments that help deliver our priorities while generating income to help support our services.
    • Continuing to lobby central Government for the funding, powers and flexibility to secure Cornwall’s future.

    Privacy Notice

    We will use the information you provide to inform the decisions about Cornwall Council's budget.

    The  Data Controller for the information you provide in this survey is Cornwall Council, New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro TR1 3AY. Data Protection Registration Number: Z1745294. 

    Once the survey has closed, your data will be held within Cornwall Council’s secure network and premises for up to 2 years. Access to your information will only be made to authorised members of staff who are required to process it for the purposes outlined in this privacy notice. 

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