The new Conservative administration running Cornwall Council has reported that it has inherited overspending on the official budget of £8.8 million. Adult Social Care is running £5 million over budget. The new unitary authority has also inherited £20.4 million of debt from the old Cornwall County Council and six district councils that were amalgamated. The figures have emerged in a Financial Health Check that has been carried out and made public.
Four "key objectives" have been identified – managing the 2009/10 budget, containing reserves and limiting borrowing, controlling capital projects through robust challenge and exploiting opportunities for improvement.
Council leader Cllr Alec Robertson says:
"We need to tighten our belts and ensure that we spend every single penny of council tax payers' money wisely. This report shows that the council has serious financial problems. We are facing huge challenges in the second half of this year and we need to take strong action to avoid another large budget deficit. We must stop the habit of looking at reserves or borrowing as an easy option. All services should be financially responsible for their own expenditures."