Devon’s ‘best budget in 10 years’ but council tax set to rise by £1 a week

Council leader Councillor John Hart says this is Devon's 'best budget in a decade'. Picture: contrib

Council leader Councillor John Hart says this is Devon's 'best budget in a decade'. Picture: contributed - Credit: Archant

Devon residents will have to fork out an extra £1.06 a week in council tax to help pay for a budget which sees money spent on vulnerable children, adult social care and roads and drainage.

An additional £43 million will be pumped into vital services with an extra £23.7 million for adult care and health, £11.5 million more for children's services and £2 million more to help deal with drainage issues on the road network, in the budget Devon County Council agreed on Thursday (February 20).

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

The average Band D council tax bill for Devon's services will rise by 3.99 per cent to help pay for it - an increase of £55.17 to £1,439.46.

The budget was backed by opposition Labour councillors as well as the sole Green Party councillor, with the Lib Dems and Independents voting against.

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Cllr John Hart, leader of the council, said: "This is a good budget for the people of Devon.

"We know that we have immense pressure on both our adult and children's services and this budget means we can maintain and improve what we are offering.

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"It means we will be able to support those services that help the old, the young and the vulnerable. The most important people in Devon."

Cllr Rob Hannaford, leader of the opposition Labour group, said that it was regrettable the council was setting a budget heavily reliant on a council tax increase.

He added: "It may well be the best budget for 10 years, but there is still a very long way to go.

"This does include extra funding which we welcome, but there are other areas that remain unfunded. Austerity is clearly not over, but as £45m extra is going into the budget, we will be voting with the budget as we won't vote against extra money for services."

The budget also included the capital programme for the next four years of which more than £19 million is being spent in Devon to create another 300 places for vulnerable children in the county's special schools.

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