CALLINGTON’S deputy mayor has urged her fellow councillors to think about putting the brakes on spending during a time of economic hardship for residents.

Suzan Tolman voiced her concerns about “the spending aspirations of some councillors and staff” during a recent Town Council meeting.

Speaking both as a member of the community and in her role as deputy portreeve, she said that recent “emergency” spending by the Council could lead to a rise in the precept (the amount charged by the Town Council as part of the Council Tax). If it continued, she warned, cutbacks might have to be made in other areas.

Cllr Tolman said: “This area is considered to be one of the most deprived areas in the county with many on minimum wage or zero hours contracts. The Foodbank has never been so busy.

“During this time of crisis, with the cost of living elevated, spending should be kept at a minimum whilst the Council continues to provide essential services and deal with genuine emergencies. In these times of hardship the Council must carefully consider its spending and do what is best for the local community.”

A spokesperson for Callington Town Council said that the Council “prided itself on always trying to plan ahead to secure the upkeep and maintenance of services”.

Emergency spending had been carried out recently, said the Council, to make sure everything was fulfilling legal requirements.

“The Town Council has a responsibility to ensure that all premises, equipment and services conform to necessary legislation.  In recent months, during interim inspections, it became apparent that additional work was necessary to achieve long-term solutions. 

“Currently, the Town Council’s key focus is to keep the precept requirement for next year at an absolute minimum. Cornwall Council is in the process of preparing financial statements, and once furnished with this information, we will have a better understanding of what the precept will be next year. 

“There is a profound awareness, within the Council, that residents are facing a huge financial pressure on their domestic purse – and it is our goal to have a rise well below the current rate of inflation.

“The Town Council is working tirelessly to scrutinise all elements of its expenditure, now and for future years.  At the beginning of the year, the Council took the opportunity to fix its utility prices, prior to the price increase, and this is contracted for the next few years. 

“The Town Council is now working on identifying opportunities to reduce costs elsewhere, and is researching grant opportunities to help finance future projects.”