Local authority to consult with taxpayers as cuts go deeper in 2012

DEVON County Council is to consult local people about the prospect of savage cuts to local services in next year’s budget.

The council – forced to make a £54.6million spending reduction this year – has outlined plans to slash a further £40m in 2012.

It estimates that £30m will come from public services, while £10m savings will be made through management, administrative and back office expenditure cuts.

The council is holding a series of so-called “Tough Choice” public consultations, with meetings in Ilfracombe, Barnstaple and Torrington taking place in October and November.

Leader John Hart said: “There is no doubt we continue to face tough choices ahead but the feedback from the people of Devon will help my colleagues and I take the decisions we have to take over the coming weeks.

“We are far from out of the woods yet as people have seen from the massive jitters on world stock markets.

“Local government is getting 26 per cent less money from the Coalition Government up to 2014.

“That meant taking a fresh look at everything we do and what things are most important.

“We face similar constraints this year and we want everyone to have the opportunity to join the debate.”

Following feedback from similar public meetings last year, funding was protected for abused children, home care for the elderly, support for people who care for others, and for children with special needs.

Those services most identified for savings were street lighting, tourism promotion and public transport subsidies.

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The meetings taking place in North Devon are as follows:

Ilfracombe – 6:30pm Friday, October 7

The Landmark, Wilder Road

Barnstaple – 6:30pm Monday, October 24

The Park Community School, Park Lane

Great Torrington – 6:30pm Thursday, November 17

Howe Concert Hall, Castle Street