Devon

Devon County Council faces extra £100m cuts

John Hart
Image caption John Hart said non-statutory and core services would be affected by cuts

Devon County Council faces having to cut at least another £100m from its budget over the next four years because of government savings, its leader says.

It comes after a 10% cut to local authority budgets was announced by Chancellor George Osborne.

Leader John Hart said the council had cut costs by £90m over four years, but the next four "could be the toughest local government has ever faced".

He added that non-statutory and core services would be affected.

Cutting property holdings

In the government's Spending Review, the Chancellor announced £11.5bn worth of further cuts to come into force in 2015, just before the next election.

Mr Osborne said the bulk of the costs would be met by those with the greatest wealth.

Mr Hart said new savings for the Conservative-led council, which has an annual budget of more than £500m, would be "much more difficult to achieve because of the spending reductions we've already made".

He said: "There is only so much waste you can cut and so much restructuring you can do, although I have asked managers to produce more options for me by September".

He said there were already plans to reduce property holdings and enter into "money-saving partnerships", such as the merger of Devon's trading standards and pensions' administration with those in Somerset.

"We have done our utmost to safeguard all our services up to now. But the reality is that some non-statutory services may not survive. Salami slicing is no longer an option," Mr Hart said.

"And, on top of that, we are also faced with making cuts to our core services."

He said people in Devon would be consulted "about what they want and whether they're prepared to pay to maintain our services".

Meanwhile, Torbay Council said it had to remove 160 public bins because of previous cuts to its budget.

The Conservative-led unitary authority said the bins had gone, along with reductions in street cleaning and flower bed maintenance.

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