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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 15:55 GMT
Pensioners suggest savings plans
Pensioners present their savings suggestions
The pensioners presented their savings suggestions to the council
Pensioners have given a Devon council a list of savings which they claim, if implemented, would mean no council tax rise in Devon this year.

The Devon Pensioners Action Forum handed its document to Devon County Council's leader on Tuesday.

The forum also warned of more militant action if bills rose sharply again.

The council is debating how to deal with a projected shortfall of 15m that it says can be funded by cuts to staff, services or an increase in council tax.

If we're wrong, we'll admit we're wrong
Albert Venison, Devon Pensioners Action Forum

In their document, which was given to council leader Brian Greenslade, pensioners said there was no need for further cuts.

It also criticised previous council spending and offered a rantge of savings options.

The document said pensioners were angry that a failed sell-off of Exeter Airport in 2005 cost 700,000 in consultants' fees.

Bottled water for council staff currently costs 74,000 per year. The document said tap water should do.

It added that 116 county farms chould be sold off as they did not turn in a large profit.

It also maintained 1m of extra income could be raised if staff were charged for parking at County Hall.

Harsh measures

Albert Venison, of the Devon Pensioners Action Forum, said: "If the council's turnover is 900m, and if they can't save about 2% on that somehow or other, then we would like to show them how to do that.

"If we're wrong, we'll admit we're wrong. But we haven't been given a chance to say that we think we've got a better way of doing it."

Council leader Brian Greenslade promised to consider the group's demands.

However at a meeting of the council's executive committee he said the authority may still have to take harsh measures such as cutting staff and selling off property if council tax increases were to be contained.

Liberal Democrat Mr Greenslade attacked the government for taking away 6.4m of grant from the county. He said council tax would have to go up by 2.5% just to replace the amount.

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