Councillors vote to approve budget

The Civic Centre, Barnstaple The Civic Centre, Barnstaple

Thursday, February 27, 2014
9:47 AM

£1.1million in service spending cuts given the green light by North Devon District councillors

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NORTH Devon’s District Councillors rubber-stamped their 2014/15 budget at a full council meeting on Wednesday night.

Councillors voted strongly in favour of the proposed budget, which will slash services spending by £1.1million as part of a succession of government spending cuts since 2010.

Councillors also voted unanimously to freeze North Devon Council’s portion of the council tax.

Waste and recycling and property planning will see their budgets dashed, while grants will also be cut to the North Devon Theatres Trust and tourism partner North Devon+.

The council’s overall budget will drop to £11.688million for 2014/15 – almost £3.5million less than in 2010.

“Every year it’s getting harder and harder to deliver a budget so I think that the fact we’ve managed to get to this point, with no increase in council tax or charges, shows North Devon Council is in reasonably good health,” said council leader Brian Greenslade.

An amendment to further cut funding to North Devon+ was put forward by opposition leader Cllr Des Brailey, which after a heated debate was not carried.

Cllr Brailey wanted to see North Devon+’s grant cut to £153,900, £40,000 more than set out in the budget, as he believed they would make that money back by cutting support to tourist information centres.

Cllr Brailey also stated that NDC’s proposed cut was only the same as Torridge District Council’s, but that 71 per cent of the services funding came from NDC.

He also claimed that North Devon+ had said in 2010 that it would be self-sufficient by 2012, so should not still be ‘looking for handouts’.

“We a re making huge strides in this council but we are saying that they don’t have to make the same level of cuts as us,” said Cllr Brailey.

But deputy leader Rodney Cann called the proposed amendment ‘foolhardy’.

“We have produced a balanced budget and to start cherry picking individual items such as this would be foolhardy,” he said.

The amendment was not voted through, with 14 voting for it and 21 against, with two abstentions.

The original budget was then passed with 25 in favour, six against and six abstentions.

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