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Devon County Council set to raise council tax by 3.99 per cent, it was revealed today at cabinet

Wednesday, 13 January 2016 0 Comments by Claire

Devon County Council’s element of council tax is proposed to increase by a total of 3.99 per cent, leader, John Hart admitted at this morning’s cabinet meeting.

Following a question from Labour councillor, Richard Westlake, Cllr Hart confirmed that Devon County Council intended to raise council tax by 3.99 per cent.

The news follows last week’s announcement that the council would increase tax bills by two per cent, in line with the Chancellor’s new policy for councils to ringfence such an increase for adult social care.

Devon County Council is facing another massive cut from central government this year - of £28m - a 15 per cent cut from last year’s position.

More services will be cut and plans will be announced in the next week or two.

Opposition councillors, including me, angrily railed against central government for the massive budget cuts and how the increase in council tax would hit those hardest, who could afford it the least.

Cllr Richard Westlake said that he was pleased that local MPs were not very happy about the cuts.

I said I was encouraged to hear this and asked Cllr Hart whether they had indicated in that case, whether they would vote against the settlement bill, which is thought will come to the House of Commons on Wednesday 3 February.

Cllr Hart replied that he didn’t know but that all the shire county councils were very unhappy about the budget cuts as they had not anticipated such a significant reduction. He added that there was now “a groundswell” within county councils across the country “the like of which I had never seen before.”

There was also “egg on the face of the Local Government Association” Cllr Hart said, as they had (unbelievably!) described the latest government settlement as “a good deal.”

Other services such as fire, police and district councils may well also raise their own council tax.

Over the past five years Devon County Council has been forced to cut £174m from its budget, which has meant widespread service and staff cuts.

Overspend
There is an overspend of £7.3m in the social care and education budget, which other directorates are having to finance by remaining underspent.

The services in the “People’s” directorate include: Children’s Social work, child protection, education and learning, social care commissioning and adult social care. All of these departments are overspent.  This is a result of underfunding and increased pressure on services.

So… will the Conservative MPs who complained privately about the budget cuts vote against the plans when they come to the House of Commons in early February? 

If you want to watch the debate, the link to the webcast is here> It is agenda item 7 - http://www.devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/195900

Each agenda item is broken down into speakers so you can dip in and out as you wish.

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