Politics

Budget boost for vital Devon services

County HallCounty Hall

Posted on: 13 January 2021

A new spending boost has been agreed for vital Devon County Council services.

Inflation-busting increases in spending had been agreed by Devon’s ruling Cabinet before Christmas.

But new announcements on funding were subsequently made by the Government and councillors today agreed to a total funding boost of nearly £36 million on under-pressure services.

In December, councillors had agreed a draft budget which included a rise of almost £28.4 million in spending on adult care and health and children’s services across the county.

Today they approved a draft budget of £578.4 million which will now mean an extra £35.6 million for services where demand is consistently increasing.

County Treasurer Mary Davis said circumstances had changed considerably over the past month.

“A new variant of the coronavirus has been identified and the county has entered another national lockdown,” she said in a report to the Cabinet.

“It is hard to imagine that a return to normal will happen quickly. The changing circumstances have led to a review of the targets.

“Some savings previously identified do not now seem feasible. Other areas need bolstering to increase the resilience of the council.

“The proposed budget targets have increased to nearly £578.5 million, an increase of 6.6 per cent on the 2021/22 budget.”

If councillors approve the budget in February, it will mean an extra £21.6 million for adult care and health and £11.3 million more for children’s services.

There will also be a £300,000 reduction to the highways revenue budget to £57.5 million.

But council leader John Hart said this would be handled through the capital budget which would be debated in February.

In total the council’s spending will rise by £35.6 million from £542.8 million in 2020/21 to over £578.4 million in 2021/22.

Photo of Councillor John Hart

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council

“I’m very pleased to see increased targets compared to what we agreed in December of just over £7 million,” said Mr Hart.

“We have put more money into adult care and health and children’s services.

“We are also putting in £3.3 million to fund the cost of the 2.2 per cent increase in the national living wage.”

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