The Leader of Devon County Council, Cllr John Hart, spoke to the BBC’s The Politics Show this weekend, ahead of the Government’s expected budget announcement this week.
We recently passed our own budget, committing increased investment this year in services that support vulnerable children, young people and adults. Plus more spending than expected to help fix Devon’s crumbling roads after the harsh winter.
Cllr Hart now wants the Chancellor’s budget to address these same priorities.
“We all know there needs to be more money for health after the difficulties we have seen this Winter. But to improve things some of this must to come to local government to help us support the NHS better. Social Care is vital to help keep people out of hospital and to make sure they can be discharged safely and more quickly. Without additional cash to both hospitals and social care things cannot improve.
“We also need more money into our Children’s Services and Education to help us deal with the growing issue of supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and their families. This is a huge problem all across the country with local authorities being underfunded in this area to the tune of £2bn. This cannot go on. Any extra money would be welcome along with a sensible plan for dealing with this difficult issue in the long term.
“Finally, if there is anything left in the pot, we urgently need more money to deal with potholes and our crumbling road infrastructure. Given all the other pressures we have to deal with in supporting vulnerable people, our spending on roads is always under severe pressure. But with one of the largest road networks in the country, dealing with our crumbling roads is becoming a real challenge. As a largely rural county, not only is this a problem for the many people who rely on their cars but ultimately it also damages our local economy. A lack of investment here is short sighted.”