Our council members have agreed a 4.99 per cent increase in council tax for the coming financial year.
It comprises 2.99 per cent for general services with an extra two per cent for adult care.
It means an extra £1.49 a week for the average Band D householder.
There will be increases of 18.4 per cent in spending on children’s services and 8.8 per cent on adult services to keep up with a rocketing rise in demand.
And councillors also agreed an extra £2 million for roads and drainage since the target budget was set last month to tackle the increase in potholes caused by this winter’s icy spells and torrential rainfall.
Our revenue spending on services will increase from £629 million to £696 million in 2023/24. That’s an overall rise of 10.5 per cent in spending. In addition, councillors approved a capital budget of £172.5 million for investment in infrastructure such as schools and roads.
The council tax for an average Band D home will rise by £77.67 to £1,634.13 – an extra £1.49 a week.
The budget was approved by 40 votes to 13.
Council leader John Hart said:
“We fully recognise the strain that household budgets are under with soaring inflation and big rises in the cost of living.
“But we must look after the young, the old and the vulnerable and they account for some 79 per cent of this budget.
“We have a finite amount of money to spend and we have to allocate it to protect those most in need. But we will ensure that we get the best possible value from every pound we spend on behalf of our residents.
“This budget also recognises the concerns that people have about the increase in potholes caused by this winter’s very cold snaps and torrential rain, which is the worst possible combination for our roads.”
Our Cabinet member for finance, Phil Twiss, said:
“We’ve been close to the cliff edge with the effect of Covid, the war in Ukraine, soaring inflation and the cost of living crisis.
“But this is a budget beyond politics and it stabilises us and gets us in the right position for a sustainable future. We are all in this together and we’ve consulted with the unions, business, older people and voluntary groups as well as our own scrutiny committees.
“It has been a very difficult budget to deliver but we’ve asked how can we make council taxpayers’ money work better for them and cut wastage in the system, and the savings strategies are tough but realistic.”
Devon’s Director of Finance Angie Sinclair said the budget was deliverable and robust.
She told councillors:
“The cost of living and geopolitical situation has created huge financial pressures nationally (and) the authority has faced unprecedented price and demand pressures in the current year.”
The budget includes savings, alternative funding and additional income of £47.5 million.