It has just come to my attention that tomorrow the House of Commons will be debating and voting on the settlement handed down by government to councils.
I am writing to you, as I have done every year for many years, to urge you to support your constituents by speaking and voting against the huge cuts that are proposed, in the latest round of austerity measures.
For Devon County Council, your government’s cuts means a cash reduction of around £20m. That’s more than a 76 per cent cumulative loss of income since austerity began in 2010.
Around 3000 staff posts have been made redundant during that time and so many services have gone there are almost too many to mention.
This year, the following is clear:
– 30 health visitor posts are set to be lost
– The council funded schools counselling service is set to be cut
– Devon residents are unhappy with some vital aspects of social care, according to a survey, including no longer feeling safe, see the following:
o How good is the social care related quality of life of service users? (bottom of the SW league table).
• Do service users feel safe? (Third from bottom of the SW league table)
• Do the services that people receive help them to feel safe? (bottom of the SW league table)
• Do carers have as much social contact as they would like? (third from bottom of the SW league table)
• What is the impact on their quality of life of the services that people receive? (bottom of the SW league table)
• Foster carers are set to suffer cuts to their income, at a time when they are desperately needed
• Local schools are being forced to cut teaching posts through not replacing staff, class sizes are growing and subjects are being cut at A-Level
Finally, and importantly, I should also take this opportunity to highlight just how much council tax has rocketed since austerity began and how this (along with other inflationary rises) is causing yet more hardship to many of your constituents.
Devon’s council tax (combined public services, not just DCC) has soared by almost 20 per cent in just seven years. That’s £250, for an average band D property.
So people are being taxed increasingly heavily for far fewer services, which is horribly unfair.
This year Devon County Council’s council tax element alone is set to rise by further 5.99 per cent.
No wonder people are finding it hard to make ends meet.
I urge you, once again, to speak up for the people of East Devon, against the latest set of services that are set to be lost, and support those who are struggling because of these service cuts. Please back the concerns of local people instead of towing your party’s line on the dreadful and miserable austerity that this country is in the grip of.
I look forward to hearing from you.