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Above inflation spending increases planned for vulnerable children and adults in Devon

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Above inflation increases in spending on Devon’s vulnerable children and adults have been proposed by our Cabinet.

Senior councillors have approved a target budget for 2024/25 which includes a 10.4 per cent increase in the revenue budget for children’s services with a six per cent rise in adult services and 4.7 per cent extra for climate change, environment and transport.

Reductions in other departmental spending and increased income will mean an overall rise of 6.3 per cent in our budget for next year with a total spend of over £743 million.

Our full council is set to agree the final budget next month.

Cabinet member for finance, Phil Twiss, said

“It is vital that all these targets are affordable, that we live within our means and they are achievable.

“All councils are facing the same issues and challenges with rising demand for adult and children’s services.

“But I am confident we are establishing this council on a firm, sustainable footing.”

In a report to the meeting, Director of Finance, Angie Sinclair, said:

“Local authorities across the country continue to face financial challenges due to high inflation and interest rates as well as demands on local service provision.”

She continued:

“Inflationary pressures continue to be felt across the economy, local government and our partners. Social care is particularly impacted by increases to the national living wage.”

The 9.8 per cent increase in the national living wage announced by the Government last year meant an additional £25.7 million has had to be added to the target budget to cover the cost, she said.

And she continued:

“Despite the rate of inflation falling in recent months, the impact of inflation on the cost of living, business and service delivery costs places sustained financial pressures nationally and this contributes to the ongoing impact in terms of price and demand pressures on the authority’s budget.

“This is reflected in the proposed target budgets with investment of £48.5 million to cover inflation and the national living wage plus £44.9 million to cover demand and other spending pressures and priorities.

“To enable the authority to set a balanced budget, savings, alternative funding and additional income of £49.6 million have been identified. Overall there is additional funding of £43.8 million or 6.3% for services next year.

This reflects a strategy of ‘living within our means’ and, as such, to set service budgets that are affordable within anticipated income and funding totals for next year.”