Political leaders unite to demand better funding for Devon
Devon’s political leaders are uniting to call on the Government for fairer funding for the county’s elderly and vulnerable.
They have come together to write to MPs to demand fairer funding for children’s services and adult social care.
They say the number of child protection investigations has doubled in the past 10 years while demand for social care for vulnerable adults is rising relentlessly – particularly in Devon with its large elderly population.
But, say the leaders, there has been no complementary increase in funding.
The four leaders on Devon County Council – Conservative John Hart, Alan Connett from the Liberal Democrats, Labour’s Rob Hannaford and Independent leader Frank Biederman – say they are grateful of the support of Devon MPs in helping to win extra Government cash for schools and other services.
But they add: “Devon does not do that well in terms of the funding it receives from Government.”
The grant for public health at £35 a head is the ninth lowest of 152 local authorities across the country, they say. If Devon was funded at the national average it would receive an extra £17.5 million.
Every Devon school pupil is worth £269 less than the national average. There would be an extra £22 million a year for Devon’s schools if the county was funded at the national average.
“This is set against a backdrop of ever reducing core funding from central Government,” say the leaders.
“Devon County Council is entering its eighth year of austerity cuts to funding.
“Core funding for all services has fallen from £283 million in 2010/11 to £115 million for 2018/19.
“The county council has cut its budget by £230 million and reduced the non-school workforce by 42 per cent from 6,608 to 3,809.
“If the vulnerable and elderly of Devon are to be kept safe and adequately supported in the future, it is essential that additional funding is secured.”