North Devon and Torridge set to share in £300,000 windfall

DEVON County councillors are being given more money to spend in their local districts.

A total of £300,000 is being shared out between the eight county council committees operating in each of Devon's districts.

In North Devon, the figure equates to around £37,000, while Torridge is expected to receive £26,000.

The money will be allocated on a per capita basis based on the number of voters in each district.

The county committees will be able to work with their district and parish council colleagues to decide how the money is best spent.

The money could be used for extra grass cutting on the roadside verges, or for improving local bus services, for example.

County council leader John Hart said the extra money would increase local accountability and encourage more partnership with our district and parish colleagues.

"The members of each of the county committees will be free to allocate the extra money as they see fit to bring the greatest benefit to their district.

"I am delighted that we have been able to deliver another budget outturn in the black this year.

"It is my judgement that we can afford to loosen the purse strings just a little for this important initiative to increase and improve local accountability and enhance our local neighbourhoods.

"It is my intention to develop this programme next year and devolve budgets even further down to market and coastal towns.

"I do believe you can get better value for money for some spending locally and you can meet local priorities."

Devon's ruling Cabinet decided on the extra spending today after hearing that the 2010/11 budget had been underspent.

The move follows an allocation of £25,000 capital money and £15,000 revenue to each of Devon's 62 councillors in the 2011/12 budget.

Each councillor is able to spend their share of the £2.17 million pot to improve their local area.

The new allocation means that nearly £2.5 million is now available this year for county councillors to decide how to spend locally.

The county council's budget has now been delivered in the black for 20 years in succession.