Devon needs to ‘bang on the door of Downing Street’

13:19 26 February 2014

Frank Biederman, Devon County Councillor for Fremington Rural.

Frank Biederman, Devon County Councillor for Fremington Rural.

Archant

County council must shout louder about rural funding divide, warns councillor.

DEVON County Council needs to ‘bang on the door of 10 Downing Street’ and demand a fair-funding deal to protect services for the young, elderly and disabled, a local councillor has warned.

Council-run care homes, youth clubs and day centres could all close after the authority approved £28million worth of cuts on Thursday.

Frank Biederman, county councillor for Fremington Rural, spoke to the Gazette about the Rural Fair Share campaign before the budget meeting at County Hall in Exeter.

He said people in North Devon paid more council tax but received up to 40 per cent less in funding per head than urban areas.

“People in North Devon living in a band D property get £140 less funding from central government per household, per year than someone, say, living in Oxford,” he said.

“This money would pay for all the services the county is looking to cut; it would keep care homes, day centres, public record offices and youth centres open – and it would pay for road repairs.

“It’s massively unfair and the Government needs to level the playing field; we cannot survive until we get a fair deal.”

Mr Biederman said the Conservative-run county council needed to put Devon residents before its ‘political masters’.

“Devon County Council should be much more vociferous in its representations to central government,” he said.

“All groups at North Devon district level are fighting for a better deal – cross party and cross group, we are all fighting for North Devon residents and the county council should be taking our lead.

“I wouldn’t want to be (council leader) John Hart for all the tea in China but he needs to make the point to David Cameron and Eric Pickles.

“We need to be going up to Downing Street and banging on the front door. Now is the time to put the pressure on the Government and represent the people of Devon – not party politics.”

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Devon County Council approved a 1.99 per cent increase in council tax, equating to around a 42p a week rise for people living in a band D property.

In doing so, the council has missed out on a freeze grant of £3.3million, although the increase is estimated to bring in £24 million over the next four years.

Earlier this month, North Devon MP Nick Harvey slammed the Government’s lack of action on introducing fairer funding for rural communities.

Mr Harvey voted against the Local Government Finance Settlement 2014/15, which sets out government grant allocations for councils across England.

He said: “Why should some of the poorest people in the country, on the lowest wages, pay on average £86 higher in council tax than urban-dwellers, yet receive far less government funding and watch local services erode around them?

“This is an impossible situation for councils, who on average receive £145 less than their urban counterparts – a funding gap as wide as 50 per cent.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Fri, 16:40
The Pride in Ilfracombe winners with their awards and Mayor, George Squires. Picture: Sam Scott

Unsung heroes and heroines of all ages step forward at the Pride in Ilfracombe Awards.

Read more
Fri, 16:39
Barnstaple will see in 2015 with a fireworks display, it has been confirmed.

Firms stump up the cash to help town see in 2015 in style.

Read more
Fri, 12:46
The pups in their new home

Wildlife and Dinosaur Park team up with RSPCA to help seal pups

Read more
Fri, 11:39
Kevin Carlyle’s festive lights display in Springfield Road, Bickington. Picture: Submitted

Festive display pulls in the crowds – and donations for air ambulance.

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Subscriptions
Reader travel
Advertise
Photo Orders
Competitions
Facebook
Twitter
North Devon Football League
North Devon Gazette E-edition

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition
North Devon�s trusted business finder