• Devon County Council leader, John Hart blasts govt over cuts

    6th September 2013 | News | Claire
  • Even Matt Woodley, BBC Radio Devon’s presenter, commented on Cllr Hart’s tone in the interview, observing that he had never heard him so frustrated or angry.

    Cllr Hart accused communities secretary, Eric Pickles, of treating councils like children, and said that someone in London was “living in cloud cuckoo land.” 

    He added that ministers were being “economical with the truth.”

    Cllr Hart’s views on cuts were expressed in a letter to the government, which was passed to the BBC.

    Frontline services such as libraries and youth services were highlighted in the letter as being potentially at risk.

    A series of consultation events will now take place across the county, to get people’s views on what services are most important to them.

    What a refreshing change to hear such a response to the government from a council leader, to crippling cuts that will make things even tougher for residents, who are already struggling.

    I proposed a similar letter to go to central government at an EDDC overview and scrutiny committee in July. Many of the conservative councillors, including Peter Bowden and Chris Wale, opposed the move because, they said, the leader, Cllr Paul Diviani, was already making these points in private. I argued that the arguments should be made in the public domain and narrowly won the vote. 

    I have asked to see a copy of the letter, but my understanding is from the most recent communications, is that it has not yet been written.  Hopefully it will be soon.

    Here’s the BBC story re John Hart – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-23977843