Cornwall Council Leader Jim Currie has said the authority now has no option but to increase council tax if they want to protect front line services.

“We are facing a very grim picture and there are no easy options“ he said. “We have managed to protect front line services from the impact of the disproportionately large cuts in our Government funding over the past two years by increasing efficiency and restructuring services, however we cannot continue to do this.

“I recognise that some people oppose an increase in council tax levels but the reality is that the alternative will be significant cuts in services. We need to be honest with people in Cornwall about the seriousness of the situation we are facing.

"We have managed to freeze council tax for the past two years but if we don’t increase it now, the black hole in our funding will be even greater in the future.

“We have saved money to cover the current shortfall in funding. However this will be gone by the end of two years even if we have no further demands on our resources. In the third year we need to find another £27m. This significantly reduces our general reserves”.

The draft budget and business plan would mean an increase of 42 pence a week for a Band C property (47 pence a week for a Band D property).

The council says that reductions in Government funding, recent changes in council tax rules and the impact of delivering new responsibilities in areas such as welfare reform means that the council needs to save £30.3m during the coming year. 

The Council says it is also facing a £2.8m shortfall in the money it has been allocated for public health and further significant reductions in Government funding in future years at the same time as increasing pressures on budgets for adult care and support and environment and highways services.