Laura Sharman 16 June 2014

Devon leaders call on Pickles to reverse spending cuts

Party leaders in Devon have written to communities secretary Eric Pickles urging him to reverse to the latest wave of council spending cuts.

The all-party plea warns that spending reductions will see the county’s budget slashed from £600m in 2009 to £400m in 2017, which will put its ability to deliver frontline services in jeopardy.

The letter also highlights funding inequalities, saying that rural authorities receive £336 a head in government grant while urban authorities get £481.

The letter said: ‘We would ask you to press the Treasury to reconsider the budget reductions on local government.

‘We hope (this briefing paper) will provide a fuller understanding of the impact on front-line service users of future reductions and urge you to lobby your colleagues in the Treasury to relax spending targets.

The letter has been sent from council leader John Hart, Liberal Democrat opposition leader Alan Connett, Labour leader Richard Westlake and UKIP leader Robin Julian.

The briefing paper outlines how Devon has saved £97m since 2010 and reduced its non-school workforce by 1,800 posts. However, it warns that reductions in frontline services will now be necessary to find more savings.

‘These will affect vulnerable sectors of Devon's population and the council is very concerned about the impact of such reductions at a time when areas such as child and adult safeguarding, highway maintenance and youth services are high profile,’ it stated.

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