• More major service cuts afoot at Devon County Council

    4th February 2014 | News | Claire
  • I understand that no Devon County Council run residential homes nor day centres, are proposed to be lost in the Ottery Rural area.

    Day care centres for the elderly in Devon face closure after the full details of £28 million in county council cuts were revealed.

    The Conservative authority wants to close 26 out of the county’s 35 centres and has launched a consultation.

    It says a significant fall in the number of older people attending facilities has forced a rethink on how the service is delivered in future.

    The move comes after plans to reduce the meals-on-wheels service and slash £1 million and 60 jobs by closing dozens of youth centres.

    Opposition Liberal Democrats have criticised the Tory leadership for detailing cuts in the 2014/15 budget then announcing a consultation.

    Lib Dem leader at the authority Alan Connett accused the Conservative group of using grant reductions to usher in a raft of “ideological” changes which will turn the council into a commissioner of services run by the private sector.

    Mr Connett said an alternative budget would be presented at the full council meeting later this month.

    “I am not pretending that Devon County Council is not faced with a challenge – I know from experience what it is like to set a budget but some of these cuts are political decisions by the Conservatives, who do not believe in local government” he added.

    “They want to get to a system where the county council is a commissioning authority buying in services – they are using the national situation as cover for political ideology.”

    The council has seen a 66% drop in the numbers of people attending its day centres since 2005 but pledged there will be no reduction in support.

    It said more people were choosing to pursue other hobbies and interests during the day, or attend activities such as memory cafes or luncheon clubs in preference to attending council day centres.

    Council leader John Hart has repeatedly said there will be no “sacred cows” and has warned that all services will have to be reviewed.

    He added: “I have served in local government for over 25 years and I have always been committed to providing the best possible local services for local people.

    “Nationally the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition is still clearing up the mess left by the last Labour Government – we are doing what we think is right to get the best possible value for every pound we ask our taxpayers to spend. That means providing services in the most effective and efficient way.”

    The Devon UK Youth Parliament is fighting the cuts.

    East Devon member George Downs said they will not stand by and accept the destruction of our youth service.

    The group said: “The young people of Devon are not blind to the reasons behind this decision, it is because politicians feel that we will not challenge and accept the status quo, this is not the case.

    “The overall long-term cost of these cuts will be much greater than the initial savings, eventually costing the tax payer more in years to come.”