Devon’s budget in the black for the 24th consecutive year

County HallCounty Hall

Posted on: 10 June 2015

Devon County Council’s budget is in the black for the 24th consecutive year.

The outturn for the 2014/15 financial year shows an underspend of £49,000 on a net revenue budget of £513.7million.

Devon’s deputy leader John Clatworthy, who is the Cabinet member responsible for finance, congratulated county treasurer Mary Davis and her staff on delivering the budget on target in difficult economic conditions.

Cllr John Clatworthy

Deputy Leader Cllr John Clatworthy

“This is a good result,” he said. “This is the 24th year that the budget has been delivered on target.

“Local government  finance is not being ring fenced and we know we will receive less financial support from the centre so we have more difficult times  in front of us.

“Our financial support from Government has been reduced by 48% over the last five years and is being felt in the delivery of services .

“We cannot control the demand for our services or the weather but we will continue to be businesslike and find ways to deliver services at less cost.”

Mrs Davis told the county council’s Cabinet today that budget pressures and risks had been identified throughout the financial year.

The most significant related to children’s social work and child protection.

But she added: “A budget underspend has been achieved in spite of significant financial challenges within People Services.”

Mrs Davis said Devon had delivered a very large programme of capital investment in 2014/15 with over £140 million being spent.

Among the projects were the South Devon Link Road, due to open this December, the Crediton link road and Roundswell roundabout in Barnstaple, which were complete, and the Decoy Industrial Estate link road and Tithebarn Lane phase one in Exeter, which were expected to open this month.

In addition, investment continued in the new Exeter rail stations at Newcourt and Cranbrook.

Replacement schools were delivered for Mill Water at Bicton and Dartmouth Academy and major expansion projects were completed in Exeter, Exmouth, Bideford and Newton Abbot to provide extra school places for the growing population.

The capital maintenance programme saw 87 schools across the county improved and was delivered substantially on time and on budget.

Exeter’s flagship Central Library opened after a £4 million redevelopment and saw a 15 per cent increase in visitors and was short-listed for the national Library of the Year award.

Liberal Democrat leader Alan Connett said the management of a budget of such magnitude was of great credit to staff.

Labour deputy leader Jill Owen said she congratulated the officers for such an excellent result.

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