Devon County Council will be faced with even more cuts next year, following today’s announcement by the Government of further spending reductions.
Council leader John Hart said the authority had already found savings of £128 million since 2009.
But he warned today that further cuts of £50 million will have to be made in the next financial year with £34 million the year after.
The council is well into the budget-setting process which will culminate in February following wide-ranging public consultations.
“We’re finding it harder and harder to balance our budget and still meet our core duties such as protecting children and supporting the elderly and vulnerable,” said Mr Hart.
“Today’s announcement will make that job even more difficult.
“We’re looking at every single aspect of our business with intense scrutiny,” said Mr Hart.
“We’re already embarking on radical new ways of providing services for library users and young people and making the most of greater partnerships with our local communities.
“We are also making big changes in the way residential care is provided for our elderly and how older and vulnerable people can get access to day care.
“There are certain services we are required to provide by law but I’m afraid we have to ask some very hard questions about everything else we do.
“We’ve already exhausted the easier savings that we can make by being more efficient.”
Devon has reduced its workforce by around 3,000 posts since 2009, cut management costs by 30 per cent and frozen councillors’ allowances.
Staff costs have dropped dramatically over the past five years from just under one third of the council’s overall budget to well below a quarter.
Partnership working has been introduced with other authorities to maintain services but cut bureaucracy and administration costs such as the successful link with Somerset County Council to provide trading standards and other services.
And effective joint partnerships have been set up with organisations such as Devon Norse to provide cleaning and catering services and Babcock LDP to provide support services for schools.
“Between 2009 and 2017 Devon County Council’s spending will have been reduced by a third,” said Mr Hart.
“And make no mistake, these cuts are set to keep coming as all the major parties are committed to similar spending plans following the General Election.”