North Devon facing £1.8 million funding cut between now and 2015/16.

LOCAL government settlement figures announced yesterday (Wednesday) have been met with disappointment from North Devon Council.

The provisional local government finance figures reveal that the district council will see its spending power cut by 5.9 per cent next year and 6.9 per cent the year after.

However, based on actual grant reduction, this will mean total funding for the authority will drop from £6.6 million this year to £5.7 million in 2014/15 and then £4.8 million in 2015/16.

Leader Brian Greenslade said: “We are disappointed that the grant for this council is to go down by around £850,000 next year. This is a significant amount.

“However, we have been working hard to look at where we can make this volume of savings, preparing for a cut of this magnitude.

“What’s equally disappointing is that the voices of our community, who petitioned for a fairer rural deal, appear to have been ignored. For months and months we have been campaigning, calling for central government to bridge the funding gap between urban and rural areas.

“The government has now responded by offering additional grants. But in real terms, this will probably mean North Devon gets just £4,000 more from the rural pot. Certainly not enough to make any real impact.”

A consultation period now begins following today’s provisional settlement announcement, before final figures are approved next month.

North Devon Council’s executive members are set to consider the options at their February meeting.