Call for Government to act as public health funding in Devon revealed to be one of the lowest in the UK

A North Devon councillor has added his voice to a call by the county’s political leaders for fairer funding for the elderly and vulnerable.

The four leaders on Devon County Council – Conservative John Hart, Alan Connett from the Liberal Democrats, Labour’s Rob Hannaford and Fremington independent leader Frank Biederman have joined forces to write to Devon MPs.

They are calling on the Government to ensure a better deal for children’s services and adult social care.

In a statement, they say they are grateful of the support of Devon MPs in helping to win extra Government cash for schools and other services.

Fremington county councillor Frank Biederman says Devon is paying more council tax to receive less and it has to stop.Fremington county councillor Frank Biederman says Devon is paying more council tax to receive less and it has to stop.

But they add: “Devon does not do that well in terms of the funding it receives from Government.”

Yesterday (Tuesday) the Government announced an extra one-off payment of £150million for social care, of which Devon will see £2.2m.

Mr Biederman said of the joint effort: “I am delighted this has happened after my motion to council in December was supported by all groups on the council, including the Conservative administration - we now need our MP’s to really put pressure on Government to act.

We in Devon are paying more council tax, to receive less. It is not right, fair or equitable. It has to stop.

“This year Devon’s residents are likely to be asked to stump up another £70-£80 for a Band D council tax band and will still see cuts to vital services.

“We as councillors either support the increase or see even more services go, it is not fair on those that earn so little and have such high housing cost like here in Devon.”

The leaders say the grant for public health in Devon at £35 a head is the ninth lowest of 152 local authorities across the country. If Devon was funded at the national average it would receive an extra £17.5 million.

Every Devon school pupil is worth £269 less than the national average. There would be an extra £22 million a year for Devon’s schools if the county was funded at the national average.

They added: “This is set against a backdrop of ever reducing core funding from central Government.

“Devon County Council is entering its eighth year of austerity cuts to funding. Core funding for all services has fallen from £283 million in 2010/11 to £115 million for 2018/19.

“The county council has cut its budget by £230 million and reduced the non-school workforce by 42 per cent from 6,608 to 3,809.”