Multi-million pound boost for Devon’s children’s services

Posted on: 9 January 2019

Devon’s children’s services are set for a financial boost of more than £11.5 million.
 
The county council’s target revenue budget for 2019/20 has been agreed by the Cabinet today.

It calls for a 9.4 per cent rise in the budget for children’s services, which are under considerable pressure from increased demand.

The overall county budget will rise from £479 million to £493 million if it is approved in February.

Spending on adult care and health will go up by £4.5 million or two per cent and the budgets for community, health and environment and highways and infrastructure will both rise by 0.7 per cent.

The county’s capital programme – which will include significant amounts of cash for road repairs – will be decided next month.

In a report to councillors, County Treasurer Mary Davis said the target budget represented an overall increase of £14.4 million or three per cent.

This was despite a reduction in this year’s Government grant to Devon of £13.5 million or 11.7 per cent.

She said the Government was allowing local authorities to increase council tax by three per cent before a referendum needed to be held.

In addition, Devon could also levy an additional one per cent – if councillors wished – to generate more money to be spent solely on adult social care.

Devon’s Cabinet member for finance, Stuart Barker, said the Government had delayed publishing the local government settlement but when it arrived it was in line with the assumptions that had been made.

Therefore the target budget was in line with the figures that had been agreed in December.

This meant that, overall, the county’s budget would rise by three per cent overall.
There would be an increase of 9.4 per cent in children’s services which recognised the intense pressure they were experiencing.

Mr Barker said since 2009 the council had been looking at streamlining bureaucracy and reorganising how it operated in order to save money.

“We are putting people first,” he said.

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