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Council’s deputy leader meets with MP ahead of government funding cuts

PUBLISHED: 09:40 29 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:40 29 January 2013

Steve Hearse, joint head of finance for Torridge and North Devon Councils, Deputy leader of Torridge Roger Johnson, Brandon Lewis MP and Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon.

Steve Hearse, joint head of finance for Torridge and North Devon Councils, Deputy leader of Torridge Roger Johnson, Brandon Lewis MP and Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon.

Archant

The deputy leader of Torridge District Council took a trip to London to talk about funding cuts.

THE deputy leader of Torridge District Council visited London last week for a special meeting about government cuts for local authorities.

Cllr Roger Johnson met with MP Brandon Lewis, the parliamentary under-secretary of state of the department for communities and local government, to discus the issues Torridge would have with further reductions in government funding.

Joining the meeting was local MP for Torridge and West Devon Geoffrey Cox, and Torridge and North Devon Council’s joint head of finance Steve Hearse.

Cllr Johnson said he felt the meeting has been very positive and that Mr Lewis would not forget Torridge in a hurry.

He said: “As he has responsibility for local councils throughout the country, we put the case to him about funding cuts, especially for a rural area like ours where services cost more to deliver than in urban areas.

“Issues we have here such as social deprivation, low wages, the high cost of housing and the forthcoming welfare reform were all discussed at length.

“He was quite sympathetic and asked how we as a council are trying to make savings and constantly strive to work more efficiently.”

Cllr Johnson said Mr Lewis was impressed at the way Torridge and North Devon has been sharing services, jobs and ideas, and the plans for regeneration in the area.

He added: “All in all it was a useful and successful meeting, and I believe we made an impression on him so he won’t forget the name of Torridge in a hurry.”

Geoffrey Cox added: “The minister has promised to examine the case closely for better funding for small rural and coastal districts like Torridge and understands clearly that the current funding gap between urban and rural districts cannot be sustained indefinitely.”

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