Boost for homelessness budget and roads

Work with the homeless in Devon will receive a full grant from the County Council again in 2024/25 following a decision by the Cabinet today.

Proposals for a reduction in support for the homeless had been tabled as part of Council budget savings.

The Council have no statutory responsibility for housing and the homeless – that is the role of district councils – but has previously helped out financially.

Council leaders said they had to concentrate on the services they were legally responsible for in order to balance this year’s budget.

But the final financial settlement from the Government has just been announced and councillors heard today there was a little more money in the pot.

So they agreed to increase the homelessness budget by an extra £716 ,000 to £1.45 million.

They will also spend an extra £1.5 million on regular drainage works in order to help reduce the number of potholes on Devon’s roads.

In heavy rain, drainage gullies can fail and flood roads causing potholes. More regular maintenance can help alleviate this.

Cabinet member for finance Phil Twiss told councillors:

“The final Government settlement was announced after our draft budget was published so it is pleasing to be able to include some extra spending.

“We’ve been talking to our district council colleagues and listening to what our budget scrutiny committees at Devon County Council have told us over the past month.

“We’ve also held formal consultation meetings with representatives from business, the trade unions and the voluntary sector, taking on board their priorities.

“Councillors’ postbags regularly include complaints from motorists about potholes on our roads and it is important that – when there is some extra money available – we do our best to tackle the problem.

“We also recognise the work that district councils and organisations like the YMCA do to make life a little easier for some of the homeless and I am delighted we are able to continue to help with a full grant.”

The full council meets next Thursday to finalise the budget for 2024/25.

It includes above inflation increases in spending on Devon’s vulnerable children and adults with a 10.4 per cent increase in the revenue budget for children’s services, a six per cent rise in adult services and 4.7 per cent extra for climate change, environment and transport.

Reductions in other departmental spending and increased income will mean an overall rise of 6.3 per cent in the budget for next with a total spend of over £743 million.

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