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Our budget will be a ‘difficult balancing act’

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In reaction to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the Leader of Devon County Council, Cllr John Hart, said today:

“As always, we will need to see the details of the statement.

“I have already warned that – in common with most top-tier councils across the country – Devon is facing a black hole in its finances of £75 million caused by soaring inflation, surging demand for our vital services for vulnerable children and adults and rapidly rising costs.

“I had hoped the Chancellor would spare local government the cuts he is having to make to get the nation’s finances back on an even keel.

“However, I welcome his comments concerning his decision to postpone the introduction of the social care reforms and to allocate those savings to local authorities.

“And I welcome any decision that will allow local authorities flexibility with regards to potential council tax rises. I recognise though that people across Devon are facing real issues with the cost of living and I will not want to increase their burden any more than necessary.

“This will however be an option to consider in our budget preparation when we will be faced with increasing council tax by more than we would like or potentially making deep cuts in services that are valued by people across the county. Unfortunately, we may well have to do both next year.

“It will be a very difficult balancing act.”

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council
Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council