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Five challenges for Devon

Our priorities are grounded in five long-term challenges for Devon:

Climate change

Climate change poses a serious threat to quality of life now and for future generations. It will damage biodiversity, disrupt food production, damage infrastructure, threaten jobs, and harm human health.

Disadvantaged and less affluent groups are likely to be most negatively affected by climate change, and the effects of climate change may make disadvantage worse. As a community leader, the County Council has an important role to help tackle the climate emergency and enable communities to adapt to climate change. 

Devon’s changing population

Devon’s population is ageing and growing, with proportionately more older people when compared nationally.

More adults have complex health needs and are living with them longer. This requires a good quality health and social care system for a future population that is rising and ageing, and for more people living longer in ill-health. 

Some of Devon’s young people grow up in areas that are relatively deprived and where their prospects of achieving greater financial success are limited, so all young people must be supported to have good life opportunities and job prospects. 

Fairness and equality

COVID-19 has brought to wider consciousness inequalities within society, in areas from healthcare to technology. These inequalities are felt along various lines, including ethnicity, disability and income. 

We need to continue, in all that we do, to reduce inequalities for vulnerable, disadvantaged or isolated communities, to ensure more people can reach their own potential, have equality of opportunity and are free from discrimination and harassment. 

Trust and confidence

Research during the pandemic shows that trust in local government and feelings of local unity have remained higher than at the national level, and local communities have become more important than ever.

Maintaining this trust by acting as a community leader, drawing together different public sector partners and community groups, and engaging more fully with citizens are more important than ever as we recover and look forward. 

Financial resilience and prosperity

The pandemic has caused an economic decline not witnessed in the UK since the 1930s. Even before the pandemic, Devon was home to the District area with the lowest average wages in the UK.

We need to help level up our economy, supporting areas of low economic growth and social mobility, to provide a prosperous future for all our communities.