Cornwall Council jobs to be axed

Cornwall Council has indicated that it will be looking to cut 200 jobs but hopes that none will have to be compulsory redundancies.

Details of the job cuts have been included in the council’s draft budget proposals for 2021/22 which the Cabinet today decided should be used as a basis for public consultation.

Council deputy leader Adam Paynter said that redundancies were not a decision “taken lightly” and said the council had been working with unions on the proposals.

He said: “We don’t want there to be any compulsory redundancies. We are planning to have natural turnover where people retire or move into a new job and not filling vacant posts.”

Cllr Paynter said that in a “normal year” around 160 people leave the council and that this would help with reducing the number of posts.

The council’s budget plans also include plans to increase its share of council tax by 1.99 per cent – the maximum currently allowed without having to hold a referendum.

In recent years the government has also allowed councils to include an additional two per cent increase to be used to provide extra funding for adult social care. It is not yet known whether the government will allow this again for 2021/22.

Cllr Paynter said that drawing up the budget plans had been difficult due to the impact of Covid-19.

He said: “We did receive grants from the Government to help us, however we are still falling short for our budget for this year.

“We know that all councils are struggling with this and some are at the point of collapse. We are a resilient council and are managing our financial uncertainty better than others.”

The Liberal Democrat councillor said that the council was changing how it sets its budget and would be using “outcome based budgeting”.

He said this would “ensure that our services to residents are high performing but at a lower cost”.

Cllr Paynter said that the council had already made savings of £380million over the last 10 years and would have to make another £58m of savings over the next four years.

But he said that the council was looking to undergo a digital transformation and look to use technology more to deliver services and plans to sell off buildings owned by the council.

However he said that there would be work done to “repurpose” buildings and the council would work with town and parish councils and other organisations to ensure they could be used by the community where possible.

Cllr Paynter also said that the council recognised that not all residents can access services digitally and would keep buildings open to ensure that all residents can access services.

The Cabinet agreed that the budget proposals should go out to consultation which is due to start on Friday (September 18).

Overview and scrutiny committees will also consider the proposals and make recommendations to the Cabinet.

A final decision on the budget and council tax rates – which will also have to include contributions to Devon and Cornwall Police and town and parish councils – will be made by full council in February.