30 November 2008

In the local government finance settlement Cornwall council has got a rise of 4.82 percent in its formula grant over last year’s grant: the 2008/09 grant figure has been adjusted to enable like-to-like comparison with next year’s. See here for an explanation of the grant and here for the 2009/10 figures.

This increase was expected as the Labour government introduced a three-year settlement last year to give councils more financial stability and to facilitate sensible planning in advance.

Cornwall’s rise is the sixth largest in percentage terms of the fifty six all-purpose authorities. It is one-and-a-half times that of the average rise for councils in England and larger than the average rise for unitary councils (with fire services). By any measure Cornwall council has done well compared to other councils. And not this year only: the council’s own 2007/08 budget book said that last year’s grant was “above the English average” (page 16).

The response of the Liberal Democrat leader of the council is an unconvincing, routine, annual complaint that the council has not received enough money. I suppose casual observers might wander off from that into the victim agenda: Cornwall short-changed, Cornwall ill-treated while the rest of England drowns in hoards of central government gold, Cornwall done down financially by London again and our services starved while others wallow in plenty.

I repeat, the reality is that Cornwall has done well compared to other councils. Just look at those figures. We should be pleased we have done so well in nationally difficult times.