Devon

Freeze on council tax proposal for Devon

Council tax bills in Devon could be frozen again next year in a draft budget to be discussed on Wednesday.

More money would be spent on services for children, old and vulnerable people but other departments could face cuts.

The details would be worked out over the next few weeks but council leader John Hart said he wanted to keep savings to a minimum.

The Government has said local authorities must reduce spending by more than a quarter by 2016.

Mr Hart said: "We have had a better settlement from the Government than expected this year.

'Disappointed' reaction

"When we originally calculated the scale of the savings we had to make, the Government had not offered to subsidise a council tax freeze and we have to decide whether to accept their offer.

"We also have to allow £8m for inflation, which has been running at over 5%."

Brian Greenslade, Liberal Democrat shadow leader of the county council, said he believed the government could do more to support local authorities.

He said: "I'm disappointed. In terms of distribution of funding for local government it does seem to me that Devon is not doing very well. That could have helped mitigate some of the cutbacks."

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