Politics

County’s best budget for a decade

Photo of County HallCounty Hall

Posted on: 12 February 2020

The new Devon County Council budget is the best for a decade, according to its most senior officer.

Photo of Dr Phil Norrey, Chief Executive of Devon County CouncilChief Executive Phil Norrey said: “In cash increase terms, this is the best budget we have had for a decade.”

Dr Norrey said the independent Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy had judged the finances of top tier councils across the country against a number of measures of resilience. Devon’s finances had been judged to be good and robust, he said.

More than £43 million extra will be pumped into vital services in Devon in the new financial year. That’s an increase of 8.7 per cent on this year.

There will be an extra £23.7 million for adult care and health, £11.5 million more for children’s services and £2.7 million for highways including £1 million to help deal with drainage issues on the road network.

In total the council’s spending will rise by £43.1 million from £498 million in 2019/20 to just over £541 million.

Photo of Cllr John Hart sat at a desk

Cllr John Hart

County Council leader John Hart said: “This is a good budget for Devon and better than we have had in a few years. There is extra money going in.
“We will never have enough to meet the rising demand.
“But we have more money going into adult and children’s services and some extra money for road drainage because, with climate change, the rain is coming down heavier than ever and we must ensure our roads can cope.”

Dr Norrey told councillors the budget had also proved to be one of the most difficult to produce because of the level of demand for services.

Some of that was pent-up demand and some was demographic because of Devon’s high proportion of elderly people. There were also cost pressures, he said. The living wage increase had added £1.7 million to the adults’ budget.

“This is a pretty good budget for us due to prudent stewardship of our finances,” he said.

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