Here’s my speech, seconding our group’s amendment……..

………THIS council should be spending every available penny on protecting services for vulnerable people.

It emerged in the past week that an extra £5m will be squirrelled away in Devon’s reserves, in case of financial difficulty.
But vital services are being relentlessly cut – for the EIGHTH year running – council tax is rocketing and the county’s people are suffering.

With council tax rising by 20 per cent in just seven years. That’s £250 for an average band D property, while wages stagnate – Devon’s residents (and people all over the country) are being ripped off by a Conservative government that claims to be a government of low taxation.

– 30 health visitor posts are to be cut which will hit families that most need support, especially those with babies and young children. The Independent Group is proposing that part of the £5m is used to prevent those losses

– Foster carers who look after the most damaged and challenging children could lose around £100 a week to foster carers who look after less damaged less challenging children.

This income cut is in addition to earlier cuts in allowances over recent years. The result of these cuts could see experienced dedicated foster carers struggle to make ends meet and be forced to leave. It is causing much anxiety … and ultimately it will be the children who suffer. The Independent Group is proposing that part of the £5m is used to shore up the income of foster carers

– The schools counselling service is set to be lost at a time when anxiety and depression among young people is soaring and when many are now being forced to PAY for their own counselling sessions. The Independent Group is proposing that part of the £5m is used to ensure this essential service continues

– People in Devon’s towns and villages are falling over dangerous paving stones every day. The Independent Group is proposing that part of the £5m is spent on making far more pavements safer, especially for elderly people who are most likely to hurt themselves and end up in hospital

And what of Devon’s MPs, especially the Conservative MPs, who ALWAYS toe the party line on cuts to our council budgets, despite requests each year from the leader of this council to stand up for the people of Devon?

Well this year, guess what? It’s no different. All Conservative MPs who were present in the chamber last week voted in favour of yet more suffering.

And some, such as Hugo Swire, who I wrote to ahead of the meeting urging him to speak and vote against the cuts, didn’t even bother to turn up!

If this government can afford to create weapons of mass human destruction it can afford to provide services to improve the quality of life for its citizens.

The Independent Group is proposing that this council writes an open letter to Devon MPs expressing disappointment that they once again let down the people of Devon.

Here’s the webcast… https://devoncc.public-i.tv/…/po…/webcast_interactive/318664