The deed is done… We have a budget!

Last night (21 February 2013), the County Council set its annual budget for 2013/14, including the Revenue Budget, Medium Term Financial Strategy and its Capital Programme. More than £521 million will be spent on providing services for people living and working in Devon next year. The County Council share of the council tax will also be frozen for the third year running. You can watch the webcast and catch up with the minutes on our website.

The budget for services for people, which includes vulnerable children, the elderly and the disabled, will rise by almost £1.5 million. £3.1 million will go on supporting Devon’s 43 children’s centres and Early Years Services. A further £6 million will be spent on repairing Devon’s roads after last year’s storms and floods. And almost £2.3 million is being set aside for infrastructure development.

Scrutiny, among other consultees including businesses, trade unions, the voluntary sector and residents, helped shape the budget proposals. Following the joint budget day on 28 January 2013 (see previous blogs), many of the suggestions made by scrutiny committees were taken forward.

For example, the Place Scrutiny Committee commented on the value of gully cleaning and work by parish lengthsmen in minimising the risk of flooding on highways and preventing the deterioration of the highway structure and recommended more frequent gully cleaning and more joint working with district and parish councils in this area. As a result, £500,000 were added to the budget booklet for gully maintenance and lengthsmen services.

The Place Scrutiny Committee also supported a number of other changes. For example, £300,000 for winter maintenance works were reinstated following the Committee debate on 21 January 2013 as well as £930,000 for repairing highway safety defects.

The scrutiny team is currently reviewing its activities and achievements over the past 12 months in their annual report which will be published in mid April so we will soon be able share our observations with you.

In the meantime, if you have any issues affecting you, someone close to you or the area in which you live or work, please do get in touch with us. Either send us an email at scrutiny@devon.gov.uk or give us a call on 01392 384383. We look forward to hearing from you!

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