Newquay Town Council oversees and manages a diverse array of facilities and services, including public toilets, community events, CCTV, open spaces, the library, Concrete Waves and more.
The past year has presented challenges for many, primarily due to inflation, and the upcoming year is anticipated to be affected by the rising cost of living.
In recent years, Newquay Town Council has kept council tax low. However, the recent financial strains stemming from below-inflation budgets, rising operational costs, an unprecedented surge in vandalism incidents, and challenges in securing local contractors have necessitated a reconsideration of this approach.
At the Budget Setting Full Council meeting on 24th January 2024, the Council was very split on the approach to take, but the majority view was not to rely on one-off reserves to pay for ongoing costs as it simply means bigger challenges and rises in the future, and an inability to cope with any local or national emergencies.
The final decision made was to increase the precept (council tax) on the basis that Newquay Town Council will not increase future precepts over the next three years by more than inflation, with the following exceptions:
- If there are any services or assets Cornwall Council decide to cut or devolve which the Newquay Town Council believes are important local services that require saving.
- If a national or local emergency is declared and the Town Council plays a proactive part in delivering local services and support to manage that situation.
“Newquay Town Council committees have worked really hard to look at their budgets to ensure that we are delivering essential services and endeavouring to ensure we give value for money. These are not easy decisions, and we have to look at needs and not wants.
“Every other bill our residents pay has risen this year. Unfortunately, council tax is no different. There will be an increase, but we’ve tried our best to keep this as low as possible.”
– Mayor of Newquay Margaret North
- Total Budget (Expenditure Budget): £2,881,498
- Total Council Tax Income (Precept): £2,613,754
- Council Tax for Band D Properties (Band D Precept): £300.98 per year
- Band D Increase for 2024/25: £63.91 per year or £1.23 per week
Newquay Town Council relies on various funding sources to meet its financial requirements.
Newquay Town Council receives 88% of its funding from ‘precept’, otherwise known as council tax.
Newquay residents’ council tax is collected by Cornwall Council and is divided between Cornwall Council, Devon & Cornwall Police, and Newquay Town Council. The amount paid by each household depends on their property band.
Our Budget for the 2024/25 fiscal year shows an annual precept of £300.98 for the average Band D household, equivalent to £5.79 per week. This marks an incremental increase of £63.91 per year or £1.23 per week, compared to 2023/24.
The other 12% of Newquay Town Council income comes from public toilets, land and property rental, CCTV contracts, South Fistral Car Park, Tourist Information Centre sales, library events and sales, environmental contracts, interest from investments, and one-off grants for projects.
Residents who live in a Band D property in Newquay will pay £300.98 in Newquay Town Council tax for the 2024/25 fiscal year. This fee does not include the council tax that goes to Cornwall Council or Devon & Cornwall Police.
Over the course of the year, Band D residents will spend:
- 4p per day on the Tourist Information Centre
- 5p per day on Library Services
- 5p per day Council Properties Maintenance
- 5p per day on Community Events & Grants
- 6p per day on the CCTV Service
- 12p per day on Public Toilets
- 12p per day on Land & Open Spaces
- 35p per day on Governance and Administration
See below for a more detailed look at each of these spending areas.
For every £100 we receive to fund services (from council tax and all other income sources), we spend:
- £5 on running Visit Newquay – Newquay’s Tourist Information Centre.
- £5 on organising and supporting free community events.
- £5 on keeping Newquay Library open six days a week, providing daily support groups for the community.
- £8 on year-round CCTV for Newquay.
- £9 on costs associated with running and maintaining the council’s properties.
- £14 of running and maintaining 13 public toilets around Newquay, Porth and Watergate Bay.
- £16 on improving and maintaining land and open spaces, including Concrete Waves skatepark, Killacourt, public footpaths, some parks and woodland.
- £38 on running council services, including meetings, legal, IT, planning, finance, corporate, operational and HR.
- Protection from Referendum Principles: It shields the Town Council from having to go through proposed referendums, which are costly and require significant periods of time to organise, with the cost of failed referendums compounding an already reduced expenditure budget.
- Contingency Budget: It maintains a backup fund for unforeseen expenses, although the amount has been reduced.
- Emergency EMR Utilisation: Plans to use the Emergency EMR (Emergency Earmarked Reserve) in the future, aiming to stabilise annual changes in council tax to avoid significant fluctuations.
- Funding for Vital EMRs: Allocates funds for essential Earmarked Reserves that are crucial for maintaining critical services and funding capital repairs and works or unexpected costs/higher inflation on projects.
- Safeguarding Services: Ensures the protection of existing services and their current levels, preventing any significant cuts or disruptions.
- Increased Events and Outward Services: Plans to enhance community engagement by increasing events and services that reach out to the public.
- Support for Town Council Grants: Allocates funds to continue supporting various community initiatives.
- Capacity Increase for Youth Centre: Introduces plans to build capacity for taking over the ownership (freehold) of the Youth Centre, from Cornwall Council, scheduled to complete by summer 2025, ensuring its provision for years to come.
- Maintains a 3.0 Month General Fund: Ensures there is a minimum of a 3-month reserve in the general fund for the next three years (based on non-capital expenditure), providing a financial safety net for the Town Council and conforming with the National Joint Panel on Accountability and Governances’ (JPAG) recommendations on the minimum level of general fund councils should hold as set out in the annual Practitioner’s Guide.
Council tax is increasing due to a variety of factors. The Town Council is facing substantial cost increases, a surge in vandalism incidents, a shortage of local contractors and suppliers, and challenges arising from tenants, suppliers, and income sources filing for bankruptcy or insolvency. These factors collectively contribute to a significant financial burden for the Town Council.
For several years, the Town Council absorbed extra costs by tapping into reserves, but these reserves are no longer being replenished as before.
Given the unprecedented challenges and in light of other councils in the UK issuing S114 notices (effectively bankruptcy notices), the Town Council has made the tough decision to increase its budget. This increase is necessary to address the current known costs and plans of each committee. The budget-setting process has been challenging, leading to a delay until just days before the final legal deadline before Cornwall Council intervenes to set the precept (Council Tax).
The delay allowed officers and members the time to thoroughly examine various aspects of the budget, gathering as much data and information as possible. Despite the delay, the recommended budget and precept from December’s Governance and Resources Committee remain unchanged. The Town Council’s modelling data continues to highlight serious future cost issues and risks if the recommended precept for 2024/25 is further reduced.
These are the head office costs that run across all committees, services, and areas of the Town Council. They include:
- Running council meetings
- All legal costs
- All insurance costs
- Running our IT, Planning, Corporate Service and Finance departments
- Other Staff costs
- HR costs
- All vehicle costs
- All other operational costs
Unlike other organisations, we do not apportion these costs out to each service/activity. Undertaking this intensive data collation and examination exercise would use valuable resources which we prefer to use delivering front line services. Naturally, by grouping them into a large category, it makes the spend seem much higher than all other categories.
Town Councillors do not get paid – they volunteer their time for free. The Mayor is given a “chairman’s allowance” which is designed to cover some of the growing costs of their civic office, from attending events, meetings and services (including significant birthdays and anniversaries by invitation), but also to engage in community initiations and donations to charitable causes, including the Mayor’s annually selected charities. Our current Mayor, Councillor North’s current chosen charities are Man Down and The Mermaid Centre.
You don’t need to pay us directly. You will receive your council tax bill from Cornwall Council which will include your fees for Cornwall Council, Newquay Town Council and Devon & Cornwall Police.
Cornwall Council and Devon & Cornwall Police release their council tax requirements a month or so after Newquay Town Council. Residents usually find out their total council tax amount (for Cornwall Council, Newquay Town Council and Devon & Cornwall Police) around March, when bills go out.
Newquay Town Council operates a committee structure. All of the main committees manage various services or activities and are fully open to the public. We invite any registered elector of Newquay to attend meetings or submit questions in writing. You can also watch most meetings online through the Town Council’s website.
Newquay Town Council is an authority led by elected volunteers who live or work in Newquay. Members (Town Councillors) make decisions on how the authority is run and what services/activities to deliver. Members are very well informed and networked locally. However, the authority very rarely sees members of the public engaging with meetings and giving feedback (positive or negative) to help shape what we do and where more focus should be placed in the future.
We undertake regular public consultation activity, mostly on the Town Council’s website (due to costs) but every survey or questionnaire is also made available during the consultation period, through the Library, Visit Newquay Tourist Information Centre and also can be accessed by contacting the Town Council’s office. The authority regularly has to try and understand the silent majority and so we always welcome more robust engagement and feedback and will continue to work hard to improve this.
We now have a part-time Communications Officer, who is working hard to boost public engagement and has already commissioned regular Radio Newquay updates and weekly press releases and social media posts to try and promote what we are doing and any local consultations/important matters. Please look out for any consultations or local news and please do engage with it. We can only improve or shape services that meet the needs of Newquay residents, if we fully understand all the various views and feeling on these matters.