Devon’s budget set to be in the black

Devon County Council is set to record a balanced budget for the 26th year in succession.

County Treasurer Mary Davis said the budget was projected to be in surplus when the financial year ended in four weeks time.

But she warned: “Caution should be taken when looking at this position as there is still time for storm events and winter emergencies to occur.”

Mrs Davis told the Cabinet today that there was likely to be an overspend in adult social care as a result of increased costs in residential and nursing homes and a rise in demand.
The number of packages of care which had been provided for older people and those with physical and learning disabilities was 451 over what had been predicted at 10,289.

School transport costs were also up across the board, she said, both for school buses and personalised transport for those with special educational needs.

But the increased costs were partly balanced out by underspending in waste services, planning and transport  and highways, as the result of a relatively benign winter.

Devon’s deputy leader and Cabinet member for finance, John Clatworthy, said he had predicted that the budget would be in surplus earlier in the year when there had been warnings about overspending.

“I said then that I would be very disappointed if there was not a significant reduction,” he said.

“The former Devon Labour leader, Saxon Spence, always used to say that things came together at the business end of the year and I have every expectation that when the outturn is announced in June it will be positive.”