by jackiebrodie on 12 February, 2018
More money for young people’s mental health, children with special needs and Devon’s schools is at the core of the alternative budget launched by the county’s Liberal Democrats.
Funding to protect schools, mental health care and children with special educational needs has been found by cutting waste, ending duplication and cracking down on expensive consultants and stand-in managers.
Planned cuts to mental health services for young people will be stopped and £223,000 given back for care and treatment.
An extra £500,000 is also earmarked for services supporting children with special educational needs.
The highly controversial cut of £2.2 million imposed by County Hall Conservatives on schools across the county will be reversed.
The extra £6.5 million announced for road repairs and highways drainage on Friday is welcomed by Devon Liberal Democrats, who have been campaigning for the extra investment.
Cllr Alan Connett, Lib Dem opposition leader at County Hall, said: “Across Devon, people are concerned about the state of our roads, the potholes, schools and services for vulnerable young people.
“We welcome the extra money planned for some services, but you can’t hide the fact that cuts are planned by the Conservatives which can be avoided.
“By cutting waste and duplication, we have found savings that could be used to keep important services that benefit our communities. It’s about making better use of what we already have.”
Devon County Council is spending over £1 million a year on expensive consultants and stand-in managers. The Lib Dems, who uncovered the spending, plan to cut the budget to a quarter and use the £750,000 saved to help protect key services.
The axe will also fall on Conservative spending plans for nearly £2 million on press public relations and advertising, more on hiring meeting rooms, and ending the yearly car allowance of up to £453 for staff driving less than 10 miles a week for the council.
In a bold move, the council’s Economic Development service would be radically changed, freeing up £899,000 with more partnership working planned with local district and borough councils and Exeter City Council.
Cllr Connett explained: There is so much duplication in economic development activity. Local councils are working hard and investing in this area. Our view is that Devon can work differently and support our local councils.
Further savings of £150,000 would also be taken from the council’s planning function. Devon debates its budget and Council Tax increases on Thursday (15th).Leave a comment