Devon County Council has revealed its plan to cut £54.6 million from its budget in the face of Government spending reductions.
There will be cash increases for social care for older people and people with disabilities, children in care and children with special needs.
The direct grant to schools will increase and no libraries will be closed.
But a range of measures to cut budgets for other services across the council have been unveiled and will be presented to a special Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday (January 24).
This follows the Government’s decision to cut local councils’ budgets by 27 per cent over the next four years.
In the 2011-12 financial year, Devon’s support from the Government is being cut by 12.1 per cent or £26 million.
But the overall spending cuts are greater as the county council has to cover additional costs arising from spending pressures such as an ageing population and increased prices for landfill.
Devon County Council leader John Hart said: “I am not going to try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. These spending cuts are going to hurt.
“But I have listened to people’s views across the county and we are doing our utmost to protect the most vulnerable people in our society, whether they are young or old.“
The budget for Children and Young People’s Services will fall by over £14 million from £109.4 million this year to £95.1 million in 2011/12.
The Government’s Early Intervention Grant to Devon has been cut by 17 per cent.
This will mean a reduction in early years services of nearly £3 million. Opening hours at children’s centres will be reduced, but the council says no children’s centres will be shut.
There will also be reductions in school transport, youth work, information, advice and guidance services and the Learning and Development Partnership, which works with schools. Subsidies to Devon Cleaning and Catering Services will also be reduced.
Environment and economy will be reduced by 11 per cent before allowing for Devon taking on the cost of over-60’s concessionary travel from the district councils.
The highways service budget will be reduced by £8 million. This will mean reductions in the standards of maintenance for bridges, footpaths and public rights of way.
There will be a reduction in the number of urban grass cuts, a speeding up in the introduction of part-night lighting and reductions in monitoring outages on street lighting.
But there will be an extra £2.5 million to repair potholes and other safety defects on the highways network.
Devon is reducing its contribution to the safety camera partnership and increasing some fees and charges.
Support for bus services is being reduced by £1.3 million from £7.7 million. This will involve cuts to subsidies for less well used leisure services and buses operating to schools, primarily for pupils who are not entitled to free school transport.
Every effort is being made to maintain services to rural areas but frequencies may well be reduced.
Waste disposal is being cut by £2.1 million which will mean the introduction of new charges at recycling centres, the closure of recycling centres at Dawlish and Buckfastleigh and the ending of the rural skip service.
The reduction in Devon’s adult and community services’ budget is much less than other departments are being required to make because the county’s elderly population is growing. The budget will be reduced by 4.75 per cent from £215.7 million to £205.4 million.
Interim director Jennie Stephens will tell the scrutiny meeting on Monday: “We have sought to achieve small cash increases in social care budgets to maintain our frontline services.”
However there will be a cut of £3.8 million in the £19.9 million targeted support budget which supports people across all social care and socially excluded groups.
Reductions are planned in all areas of spending on information, learning and arts which includes adult and community learning, the Devon Record Offices and support to arts and culture as well as libraries. A restructuring of the library service and savings in management costs are expected to save £2.2 million.
Devon County Council leader John Hart said the authority was leading the way in reducing its management and back office costs.
Last week plans to streamline the council and reduce senior management by over 25 per cent were revealed.
Mr Hart said this had reduced the need for cuts in services and redundancies.
But he added: “These proposals for spending cuts have been required of us by the reduction in grant from the Coalition Government as part of its commitment to reduce our unprecedented national deficit.
“The proposals are now going through the scrutiny process and we will carefully consider any suggestions they make before the budget meetings of the Cabinet and full county council in February.
“However, any proposals not to implement particular reductions will need to be accompanied by a plan to save a similar sum from other areas of the council’s spending. We simply have to achieve the overall saving.“
(from a press release)
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