Devon to spend more on social care instead of highways
PUBLISHED: 06:55 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:57 12 December 2017
The 2018/19 Devon County Council budget could see a big rise in money spent on adult social care and children’s services
Almost three quarters of Devon County Council’s budget next year could be earmarked for adult social care, children and health.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) the council’s cabinet will be asked to approve an extra £13million to be spent on adult care and health in 2018/19.
That’s a rise of more than six per cent and would take the total care budget to £227.8 million – almost half the total council budget of £477.4m.
The ‘target budget’ as it is known also calls for increases in spending for children’s services of 5.5 per cent or £6.5m taking the total budget for children to £125.5m.
Meanwhile, spending on ‘community health, environment and prosperity’ would be reduced by 2.3 per cent to £34.7m and the budget for highways, infrastructure and waste would reduce by 2.7 per cent to £54.7m.
The council says this takes into account new contracts which ‘have generated multi-million pound efficiencies’.
But the council has been warned it still doesn’t know how much money it will get from the Government for next year, with the provisional settlement expected to be announced before Christmas.
In a report to councillors, county treasurer Mary Davis warns: “As the provisional settlement has not been received, there is inherent uncertainty.”
This year DCC increased its share of the council tax by 4.99 per cent to ‘pay for vital health and social care services’.
Council tax is capped at two per cent, but under Government rules, councils can add another three per cent for social care, providing the increase is not more than six per cent in three years.
Council leader John Hart said: “Our vital health and social care services for adults continue to be under immense pressure both in Devon and nationally.
“In Devon we have some of the highest proportions of people over 65 and people over 85 in the country and they need and deserve our help and support.
“We also believe it is imperative to do the best we can for our children and young people to give them the best possible start in life.
“We have always said our priority is to protect the most vulnerable in our society and I believe this target budget will help to do that.
“We know that many people are concerned about highways and the maintenance of their local roads.
“This rigorous approach to doing business means we will be able to meet the Government’s continuing austerity targets while still providing the same - or an improved - service.”
The full county council budget meeting will be held in February.