What matters to you? The Elected Mayor’s draft budget proposals for 2019/2020 have been published today at www.torbay.gov.uk/budget and we want to hear your views.

We’ve already made £76 million of savings and efficiencies over the last seven years to achieve balanced budgets, but ongoing central Government reductions in local government grants and increasing demands on council services means it’s becoming increasing difficult to find the required savings.

£17 million pounds worth of savings have to be made by 2022, with £7.5 million needed in 2019/2020.

Next year the Transformation Portfolio will deliver over £1.4 million of savings whilst maintaining services to our communities. The Elected Mayor’s proposed budget includes a Council Tax increase of 2.99% in line with current inflation levels. In addition, the draft budget includes proposals for service change, income generation and efficiencies of around £3 million.

We’re still committed to creating a prosperous and healthy bay and despite the pressures, we still spend approximately £3.6m per week on services in the community (excluding funding for schools and housing benefit payments), and we also plan to spend more than £80m on capital schemes.

Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver said: “After several years of austerity and increasing demand for our services the challenge to find the savings required to achieve a balanced budget doesn’t get any easier.

“The fact that we have taken so much out of our budgets so far and are still delivering services to the public, albeit reduced, is testament to our effective ways of working. However, we must continue to make further efficiencies and that means making even more difficult decisions.

“We have to protect services that we need to deliver by law, which quite rightly support the most vulnerable people in our communities, but this requires finding efficiencies in other areas. 

“The latest draft budget proposals will have an impact on local residents, visitors, our communities and service users, and if I had a choice I would not be proposing to make these changes. It is really important that you have your say on the suggestions so your views, through the consultation process, can be fully considered before the final budget is set.”

The draft proposals include the following:

  • Providing additional resources for Children’s Services to fund the increase in the number of children we need to look after.
  • Finding efficiencies in the contract with Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust for adult substance misuse services.
  • Raising additional income from new beach huts sites in Preston, new pay and display areas, charging for food hygiene re-inspections and providing environmental health services to the fishing industry.
  • Seeking sponsorship and income from external sources to cover the costs of the UNESCO Geopark, school crossing patrols, illuminations and the 2019 Torbay Airshow.
  • Reducing spend on highway maintenance, street lighting, repairs and parks and gardens.
  • Reducing spend on apprenticeships.
  • Relocating the Registrars Service to Torquay Town Hall whilst keeping a presence at Paignton Library.
  • Reducing costs associated with the Members Allowance Scheme as the Council moves to a new Leader and Cabinet system in May 2019.
  • Making savings from restructuring the Council’s Senior Leadership Team.

Anyone who would like to hear more about these proposals, ask questions and make comments is being invited to come along to a budget event hosted by the Elected Mayor at 3.30pm Wednesday 14 November 2018. The venue will be announced soon.

A six week consultation also starts today. Members of the public and partner organisations are being encouraged to have their say before it closes on Friday 14 December. Specific consultation will take place on proposals where individual service users or organisations are expected to be affected. Feedback from the consultation will be carefully considered and will inform the final proposals which will be presented to Council for approval in February 2019 when the Revenue and Capital Budgets for 2019/2020 will be agreed alongside the Council Tax.

The Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board will be holding its Priorities and Resources Review Panels during November 2018 which will also provide an opportunity to hear about the Mayor’s proposals in detail.

A summary of the draft budget proposals for 2019/2020 and how to get involved with the consultation is available at www.torbay.gov.uk/budget.

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