'Everything on the table' as Devon County Council facing £40M budget shortfall

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Devon County Council is facing a £40million shortfall in its budget in the coming year as the cost of living crisis is beginning to seriously impact local government.

The council is estimating an overspend of more than £30million by the end of the year - and a further £10million could come on top of that as a result of rising costs and inflation.

The authority says there are no plans for cuts to staff or services, but changes are likely with its finance boss saying "everything on the table".

What's responsible for Devon County Council's overspend?

Rising fuel costs, the increased cost of living and wages are just some of the reasons Devon County Council is facing a multi-million pound deficit this year.

The council is responsible for a range of services, from recycling centres to transport, roads and libraries but its biggest financial pressures are in children's services and adult social care.

It is expecting a £17.9million overspend in children's services this financial year - with around £8million of that going on getting children to and from school amid rising fuel and wage costs.

Adult care services are also forecast for an overspend of £6million.

The council is forecasting tough times ahead Credit: ITV News

Cabinet member for finance Phil Twiss said the council is "in the middle of a perfect storm".

"We're in the same position as every household in this country," he said. "We're not immune to the current cost of living crisis and the inflationary pressures stoked up by the pandemic and Putin's war on Ukraine. So we've got to tighten our belts."

Cllr Twiss told ITV News West Country: "At this stage we are purely looking at how we can work better. Everything is on the table, but there is no conversation about cuts to staff or services.

"There may be changes to services, but we have legal obligations and we have to provide certain services."

Devon County Council's cabinet will meet tomorrow (13 July) to examine the options.

Its director of finance Angie Sinclair said: “The council has never before faced a combination of demand growth and price shock pressures of this scale.

“The pandemic and geopolitical situation has created huge financial pressures nationally and the county council is not immune from that.

“The current forecast is unprecedented and immediate action must be taken to safeguard the financial stability of the authority.”