WEST Devon Borough Council has set its budget for the next financial year. Currently councils receive their funding from three main sources, Central Government grants, council tax and business rates.
Of the council tax that the borough council collects, only 12% goes towards paying for services that West Devon delivers, the rest goes directly to the county council, the emergency services and towns and parishes.
West Devon Council was last week told how much money it would be given by Central Government. There was some good news with a one-off payment of a rural services delivery grant, but also confirmation that the main government grant would be gone completely by 2018, which is much earlier than expected.
Council leader Phillip Sanders said: “We are delighted that the Government has recognised that pound for pound it costs rural councils more than it costs cities to deliver basic services such as waste collection. Think of how long it might take us to collect waste from four rural homes, compared to four homes in a city terrace.
“The rural services delivery grant is definitely a welcome boost, but this is just a one-off grant payment and does not raise our income permanently year on year.
“The Government has recognised that it is unfair that urban residents receive 45% more in Central Government grant than their rural counterparts — despite paying £81 less in council tax per head of population.
“We also know that our main government grant will disappear completely by 2018; we know that we will have to become much more commercially aware in order to continue delivering the services that our residents are used to.”
At a meeting of the full council, all West Devon Borough Council members unanimously voted to increase the amount of council tax the borough council charges by 2.4 %. On a band D property, this is an increase of £5 per year to £213.39.