20 December 2014
The government has announced revenue funds for local government for 2015/16. They are at the Spending power summary here. The Supporting information explains what the funds cover. The data includes 2014/15.
For 2015/16 Cornwall has had a 0.7 percent cut in funds over 2014/15. For each dwelling here that is a cut from £1936.18 to £1923.51.
As local authorities vary in what services they provide (such as fire services) simple cash comparisons across all councils are inappropriate. Cornwall is a shire unitary authority with responsibility for fire services and the average cut in the funds for that group of authorities for 2015/16 over 2014/15 is 0.9 percent.
As Cornwall Council devolves some services such as public lavatories to town and parish councils, the latters’ council tax is increasing, in some places vastly.
9 October 2013
Back from a break I came across two small items about Cornwall that warmed me.
Deprivation in Cornwall
On the blog I have argued repeatedly against the simplistic Victim Cornwall agenda. I have said that Cornwall is not one place and the circumstances of life vary across the county. It is inaccurate and unhelpful to talk as though all Cornwall was seriously deprived; the indexes of deprivation show vast variation in Cornwall.
Consider this comment:
“Cornwall as a whole is not deprived but there are areas where there are very high levels of deprivation”.
Exactly what I have been saying, sounds like me, but it is not me. This comes from Cornwall Council, page 5 of the introduction to the equality impact assessment guidance version 7 here.
In response to nationalist/Libdem simplism about the unfair funding of the NHS (and other public services) in Cornwall, I have argued that the allocation of health funds among health authorities is “extremely complex”. It is important to keep moving towards giving every NHS its target funding by carefully reducing the overfunding in some areas and increasing it in underfunded others but “no government can withdraw overfunding from an area all in one go because it would cause chaos in the NHS in that area”.
Yes, that sounds like me and is exactly what I have been saying. But these cited words are not mine; they come from Andrew George, Libdem MP for St Ives, making a somewhat quiet argument for more NHS funding for Cornwall (Cornishman 26 September 2013).
Here are some posts on Cornwall and NHS funding and deprivation
Cornwall, one of eighty eight 17 December 2012
Poverty by parish in Cornwall 21 May 2012
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, where’s the poorest of us all 21 March 2013
1 December 2009
In the current financial year the central government redistribution of taxes through the formula grant gives Cornwall Council £157.280 million in the local government financial settlement. For 2010/2011 the formula grant is £165.664 million. Both of these figures are after floor damping.
See this previous post for an explanation and discussion of the formula grant and floor damping.
I think the settlement is good news for Cornwall at a time of national recession, threatened cut backs in public services, and very low general inflation. Cornwall is benefiting well from Labour’s three-year local government financial settlement scheme. Along with the promised savings from going unitary, this settlement should mean the maintenance and possibly modest improvement of council services without a rise in Cornwall council tax next spring.
Details of the local government financial settlement for Cornwall are here .
The £157.280 million is the original figure; the adjusted figure is £157.212 million. See Table 8 in the entry for Cornwall (Old) at the website of the Department for communities and local government.
4 November 2009
A dismal recital of three issues in Cornwall: health, children, budget.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its assessments of the health services in Cornwall for 2008/09. This is the commission that earlier this year took over the regulation and assessment of health services from the former healthcare commission (and social care and mental health commissions).
Once again the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT), which runs three hospitals in Cornwall, at Truro, Penzance, and Hayle, gets a mixed report. The CQC Commission has assessed it as “fair” for financial management but has judged it “weak” on quality of services, as it did for the years from 2005/06. Two questions arise: Why is the RCHT performance on the quality of services weak in assessments for four years running and how can it be turned around? No one seems able or willing to say.
It is not surprising that some staff talk of low morale and pressure.
It is unacceptable for a hospital group to get these repeated “weak” assessments. Next spring all hospitals must register with the CQC, registration will require compliance with new standards, and the CQC will get powers to intervene robustly when trusts do not meet those standards. It should ensure the RCHT, if still judged weak then, improves massively and speedily. Whatever it takes should be done.
There are grounds for hope. RCHT has just produced a five-year plan for 2010-2014: it reads excellently, acknowledging “unacceptable poor performance, particularly over the past four years” and promising “better, safer, good value care.” People in Cornwall are invited to comment on the plan.
(Note that the Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust have both received acceptable reports from the CQC for 2008/09.)
More very disappointing news about another public service in Cornwall. Read here the Ofsted report of September 2009, Inspection of safeguarding and looked after children services: Cornwall Council.
The council, and government which through Dawn Primarolo said that the report “highlights fundamental weaknesses in Cornwall’s children’s services,” are no doubt working to put things right and there will be a further assessment in a while that should either reassure us or see the service taken over. However, improvements take money and the children’s services are already overspending their revenue budget; that takes me to the third iceberg.
See also Cornwall’s children’s services ‘inadequate’ in the Local government chronicle for 23 October 2009.
The new Tory leader of Cornwall Council asked for a report on the status of the unitary council’s finances for 2009/10 and thereafter. The report, Cornwall Council financial health check report August 2009, is here.
Achieved unitary savings will probably be less than forecasted; currently there is likely to be significant overspending on the revenue budget, especially on the adult social care and children’s services budgets; and the overspend for the current financial year can be met from the £18.2 million unearmarked reserves accumulated by the previous Liberal Democrat council.
There is no immediate financial crisis but the council has to tackle the issue of overspending: reserves deplete fast. That means more efficiency and productivity, cutting unnecessary spending, and reducing costs. If the intended unitary nett savings can be realised, they will lessen but not remove the difficulties. Cutting costs often turns out to be cutting services and jobs, a sorry thought.
Accompanying the publication of the report there is a media report dated October 2009 from the unitary council here. I do not know why a report made in August is published only in October though I suppose August is a month for holidays not politics.