“The end of austerity” was pronounced by the Conservative Government in 2018. However, as we present this manifesto for the East Devon District Council election in 2019, we continue to see the outworking of the austerity experiment across our public services. Far from the end of austerity, in many areas, its impact is now being felt to its highest extent.

The cruellest effects may only be fully realised with the full roll out of Universal Credit which is a direct attack on the most vulnerable but looking across Education and Housing the need to revitalise the public sphere ensure that future generations continue to find their place and their stake in our society is clear.

Within the workings of the Council we bring forward our concern to make this an open, transparent process inspiring engagement from all residents with confidence in the decisions made in our name. Not least we desperately need the Council to take up the challenge of Climate Change and the Environment

Labour’s values of community action, concern for the vulnerable and engaging the imagination and energy of the citizen can help address these issues and many others that face our region.

East Devon Constituency Labour Party


Whilst East Devon gives the impression of a generally affluent population, this hides pockets of poverty. East Devon is not immune to poverty and its impacts.

  • East Devon has a number of wards with estimated rates of child poverty above the Devon average 25% and the UK average of 30%[1]. In some areas of East Devon 1 in 3 children lives in a household considered to be in poverty.
  • Exmouth Community Larder food bank has a reported 1/3rd increase over the past 2 years[2]. Similarly, Sid Valley Food bank has reported a doubling of the numbers seeking their help in the six months to December 2018[3]East Devon is increasingly experiencing the scourge of food poverty
  • Data from the Trussell Trust indicates a 17% increase in food bank usage following the full implementation of Universal Credit[4]. Since July 2018, East Devon claimants must apply for Universal Credit for new claims or when their circumstances change.
  • Areas of East Devon exhibit levels of fuel poverty 30% higher than the average for England.
  • Claimants for Carers Allowance in households also in receipt of Income Support or Pension Credit has doubled in the period 2010 to 2016 for East Devon as a district against the Devon average increase of only 53%[5]. In East Devon low income is increasingly associated with the need to provide care for someone with long term health or disability needs.

If elected to East Devon District Council, Labour Councillors will

  • Continue to highlight at County and National Level the impact of government policy on seemingly affluent populations but with pockets of poverty such as East Devon.
  • Ensure policies within East Devon reflect the changes where Housing Benefit is replaced by Universal Credit and support those impacted by this switch as this is widened to include existing claimants from 2019 increasing awareness and applicability of discretionary help such as Exception Hardship Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments

[1] Data to 2017, Wards above 25% child poverty rates were Exmouth Town, Sidmouth Sidford, Beer and Branscombe, Broadclyst, Exmouth Littleham, Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh. Wards above 30% child poverty rates Axminster Town, Axminster Rural and Coly Valley. 2013 boundaries.



[4] Early Warnings Universal Credit and Food Banks. The Trussell Trust is the UK’s largest network of food banks



In this country and in East Devon there is a housing crisis.  This prevents many people having a secure affordable home.  Home should be the heart of our lives.  A secure affordable home allows us to live, work, and thrive.

  • In just 17 days in April last year, the Council had had 51 approaches for help with homelessness, compared with 251 for the whole of 2017[1]. It is a myth that East Devon has escaped the problems prevalent in other areas. 
  • The average sale price of houses in the district is £303,000 compared to the average wage is £23,000. New developments claim to include 25% or more affordable homes, but in fact include only 12-15%. Only 9.3% of homes in the area are social housing, at the bottom for the South West and half the national average.
  • An ‘Affordable Home’ is defined as 80% of market value. Buying at this level requires a wage of £60000+ to get a mortgage. The result is that homes are unaffordable for local people, young and old alike.  The housing crisis is one of affordability not just availability.
  • Even where homes are built, we have seen opportunities to build communities missed. Residents of the new town Cranbrook have raised concerns complaints as diverse as vermin to local crime waves and highlighted a lack of local amenities.  Building homes without the necessary infrastructure is a poor use of resources.
  • East Devon contains a diversity of towns and many areas noted for their natural beauty. Current housing developing provides for 800 plus homes per year but many thousands more are needed. Balancing our need for housing to meet the crisis without damaging our beautiful natural and built environment is a major challenge.
  • With the threat of climate change and global warming, anything undertaken has to be implemented in line with strict adherence to zero or near zero carbon impact. Our development must meet the environmental challenges for us and future generations.

If elected to East Devon District Council, Labour Councillors will

  • Campaign to use new powers available to Councils to increase borrowing to build more housing in the public and social sectors to meet the increased need.
  • Fight for a definition of affordability that is based on local incomes and not market values.
  • Ensure that any new building is done with sufficient expenditure on the infrastructure to go with it, right from the very start, and that this building is properly phased as part of the planning for a whole community.




In common with many parts of the country East Devon has experience experienced dramatic cuts to schools’ budgets.  This represents the abandonment of a whole generation resulting from the austerity project since 2010.

  • Between 2015 and 2019 over of £9 million has been cut from school budgets in East Devon. This equates to £150,000 per school[1]. Across the region austerity continues to pull resources from the young.
  • The average per pupil cut across primary and secondary schools of £254 per school exceeds the Devon average. East Devon has taken a disproportionate cut when pupil numbers are taken into account.
  • Exmouth Community College has been particularly impacted with a per pupil cut of £320 over this period leading the Principal to write to parents for voluntary donations[2]. No school is too big to avoid the impact of these cuts.
  • The Conservatives claim more money than ever is going into education despite representation from Heads that financial pressures are causing them to make difficult decision over staff numbers, capital expenditure and curriculum options[3]. The Conservatives are not listening to the people on the front line delivering the services.

If elected to East Devon District Council, Labour Councillors will

  • Fight cuts to education and youth services at all levels by making East Devon’s need clear to Devon County Council and the Department of Education.
  • Encourage a full range of additional educational opportunities are available to schools to offset restrictions in curriculums caused by funding shortfalls

[1] All school cut figures for period 2015 to 2019 via




Development and Regeneration

Development of our communities is something Labour cares deeply about. We also care about how this is carried out. We need greater openness and accountability in all these decisions

  • Labour is acutely aware that the abolition of the statutory powers of the council’s standards committee by the Tory government has created an accountability gap in transparency. Voters are concerned that things appear to be happening “behind closed doors” in a culture of clandestinity and suspicion.
  • Invoking Commercial confidentiality to justify a lack of openness means that local people cannot scrutinise the decisions that are made. Voters should have a right to know how their taxes are spent and how decisions are made.
  • Outsourcing, masterplans and so-called regeneration forums further distance the local electorate from the decisions that shape their communities. This leads to a sense of lost power and influence experienced by the public.
  • In Exmouth the seafront development including the infamous “Swan Lake cull” has caused significant disquiet among the residents where East Devon District Council have pursued a plan to force through the changes without securing the necessary commitments from developers[1] . Mismanagement of major projects will have damaging consequences for the local economy.

If elected to East Devon District Council, Labour Councillors will

  • Commit to more openness, greater accountability and better sense of community and our public ownership of assets.
  • Oppose ‘strip and flog it’ vandalism. The economy should serve the community, the many not the few11.


11 East Devon – cf Sold from Under You – Libraries, playing fields and community centres are being lost to the local council funding crisis. See what your council has sold:


Mid Devon




Our aim is to ensure that all aspects of the work of the District Council support the efforts of individuals and businesses to reduce the negative consequences for the planet. The actions and policies pursued by the Council should have environmental considerations at their heart.

  • The UN’s latest warning reveals we have only until 2030 to limit Climate Change to 1.5C over pre-industrial levels[1]. The time for action is now. Action at District Council level can play a significant part in this effort.
  • East Devon District Council has frustrated attempts to push climate change and the environment onto their agenda[2]. The urgency of the situation demands that EDDC address this issue in its policy making and take an active stance.
  • Hundreds of our young people have voiced their protest at the lack of action by taking parts in protests[3]. We need to show our commitment to their future by putting these concerns at the top of our agenda.

If elected to East Devon District Council, Labour Councillors will

  • Oppose planning decisions that place the profit motive over and above environmental considerations and conservation and ensure that all housing developments are as eco-friendly and as carbon neutral as possible including the highest standards for insulation.
  • Ensure all new planning permissions include electric vehicle charging points and that building regulations and standards are firmly enforced.
  • Focus on green policies aimed at preserving natural habitats in order to protect wildlife and biodiversity. Protect rural and urban green open spaces; create nature trails; maintain public bridleways and footpaths and facilitate disabled access. Provide a sufficient number of allotments to meet demand.
  • Help to reduce pollution and improve air quality by initiating car-sharing schemes and create additional cycle paths wherever possible. Provide detailed information as to how waste/recycling is managed and finally disposed of. Work to encourage local retailers to minimise their use of plastic packaging.
  • Speed up the transition to clean energy, affordable and reliable public transport and a sustainable natural world. Insist that all street lighting is LED where appropriate.





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