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Devon Lib Dems set out plan to get Devon back on its feet with manifesto launch

April 6, 2021 4:37 PM

Manifesto slide1

Devon Liberal Democrats have launched their Devon County Council election manifesto 'Six-to-Fix' setting out their priorities for Devon over the next four years.

The manifesto identifies six key areas to get Devon back on its feet following the Covid-19 pandemic and years of Tory mismanagement of Devon County Council.

  • Fix the potholes, unblock the drains, bring back regular maintenance.
  • Back jobs with a 'Made in Devon' campaign promoting buying from local businesses, traders and craftspeople.
  • Bring care services back under council control and open new council-run care homes.
  • Listen to local residents and communities. No more 'County Hall knows best'.
  • Launch 'Green Devon' - create green jobs, invest in making Devon carbon neutral and protect our beautiful environment.
  • Invest in our children - fix our failing Children's Services, support young people's mental health services and campaign for fair funding for Devon's schools.

Fix the potholes

Lib Dems are pledging to fix our roads with a straightforward three step plan: fix the potholes, unblock drains, bring back regular road maintenance. Over the past 10 years, Devon County Council has failed to spend £9.7 million it had pledged to improve roads across the County, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats reveal. There will be an extra £3.4 million will be invested this year to boost road repairs by the Liberal Democrats if they take control of County Hall next month.

Alan Connett, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Devon County Council, said:

"The money was pledged for highway drainage works over the past 10 years and simply has not been spent. We are all living with the consequences, potholes, blocked drains, lack of regular maintenance".

Made in Devon

Liberal Democrats will back jobs with a 'Made in Devon' campaign promoting buying from local businesses, traders and craftspeople. Devon's council owned farms will also be protected under the Liberal Democrats, who say they will keep the 65 farms and not sell them off, as other councils have done elsewhere in the country. The farms, which cover just over 9,500 acres in total, are an important part of helping young people into farming and progressing, say the Lib Dems.

Alan Connett, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Devon County Council, said:

"At a time when we need to support our economy and agricultural sector, we see the farms as a vital part of the county council and a way of helping farmers to progress in the business. We will keep the farms."

Invest in our children

Inadequate is the judgement on Children's Services across Devon from independent inspectors. For eight years the services which support the most vulnerable children and young people have been failing.

OFSTED Inspectors said:

"Until this inspection, senior leaders did not know about the extent of the failures to protect some of the most vulnerable children and young people from harm. They were unaware that a very small minority of their care leavers were or had been living in tents on the streets. These are not isolated incidents."

"Some children who have suffered chronic neglect and emotional abuse are being left with their families for too long because social workers and their managers lack clarity about when to turn concerns into legal action. Social workers are not gathering evidence of neglect systematically."

Alan Connett, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Devon County Council, said:

"Back in 2013, Devon County Council was told its services for vulnerable children were Inadequate and did not meet the minimum requirements. Eight long years later and still County Hall has failed to make the improvements needed."

"Children deserve better and the buck stops at County Hall. They have no-one to look to but themselves. Other councils have hit the bottom and been able to improve, but Devon limps from one inadequate judgment to another."

"Our plan is an immediate review of Children's Services, identify the problems, ensure named people are responsible for leading the improvement and report regularly on what is being done. We shouldn't be embarrassed about learning from what other councils have done and getting in experts to help us get this right."

The manifesto can be found at www.devonlibdems.org.uk/manifesto