Page last updated at 19:24 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Budget cuts and council tax rise in Cornwall approved

Council tax bill
The council said the 2.9% tax rise is in line with inflation

Councillors in Cornwall have backed plans to cut £100m in spending over four years and raise council tax.

Children's services spending is to be cut in the long term. An extra £2m will be spent in 2010, but cuts will follow, council leader Alex Robertson said.

The fire service budget is also to be cut by £800,000 over four years. Up to 600 council jobs could also be lost.

The council tax increase of 2.9% will mean an annual bill of about £1,400 for a Band D property.

'Handful' redundant

Most of the 500 to 600 job losses are expected to come from a recruitment freeze and the council has insisted it has no plans for mass redundancies.

It has a £7m reserve for redundancy payments available.

Stuart Roden, from Unison, said the union believed it could work with the council to reduce the impact on its members.

He said: "We can now plan over the next four years.

Cornwall Council chamber
The council said it was an "ambitious" budget

"There are about 2,000 people who will leave and retire anyway in the normal course of events.

"We think that by working together, and putting money into retraining, we can make the numbers who are made compulsorily redundant down to a handful."

In its "target budgets", the council proposed adding a further £10.5m to adult care funding and increasing spending on waste by £14.5m.

Cornwall Council said the tax rise was in line with inflation and Mr Robertson said the planned cuts were to try to "improve on services, not to see any reductions if at all possible".

He said: "That's the point of this budget. It's ambitious. What we're looking at is trying to fund a budget gap in four years' time of £100m.

"But, to put that in perspective, we've got an annual budget of £1.2bn, so over four years that's a tiny amount. It's manageable."

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