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Proposals to save £10million in Torbay Council budget will be open for public scrutiny

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

  • public meetings: Torquay town hall

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THE depths of the cuts proposed in Torbay Council's budget will be laid open to public scrutiny.

The council is launching a second set of public consultation on its 'challenging' draft budget.

Up to £10million has to be found through a mixture of service savings, further efficiencies and increases in income.

This at a time of rising costs, in particular to meet the care needs of an increasingly elderly and frail population in the Bay as well as additional pressures within children's social care.

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Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver said: "I would like to thank the many individuals and organisations that have already taken part in the budget consultation and encourage those who haven't to please come forward, give us their views and help shape our thinking in this very challenging budget process."

Meanwhile, detailed reviews of each council service will be published on the internet for the first time.

A Viewpoint questionnaire will be sent to the 600-strong residents' research panel, statistically representative of the population of Torbay. The survey will be open until January 21.

Councillors will be challenging the budget proposals through the overview and scrutiny board.

Cllr John Thomas (pictured), board chairman, said: "It is absolutely clear to us that it will not be possible to make this level of saving without any pain or without much-valued services being affected in some way.

"The role of scrutiny is more important than ever this year in making its recommendations to try and achieve a balance of keeping, where possible, the services that residents value the most. As part of this process we are keen to hear the views of the community."

The board will make final recommendations to the executive and mayor at its meeting on January 24. These will be considered at the full council meeting on February 6.

The public meetings are:

Friday, January 11, 9.30am, Meadfoot Room, Torquay Town Hall, looking at adult social care, community alarms; adult social care staffing; community safety — review of anti-social behaviour and the private rented housing sector; supporting people.

Tuesday, January 15, 9.30am, Meadfoot Room, Town Hall looking at children's services; business support and commissioning; families — localities: attendance improvement service; home to school transport.

Wednesday, January 16, 9.30am, Meadfoot Room, Town Hall looking at residents' and visitors' services; beach services, children's services, families — housing options; voluntary sector.

The mayor will make his final recommendations to the council meeting on February 6. This will adjourn until February 13 to let all members of the council consider the proposals.

If the proposed budget is approved by a majority of members on February 13, it will be adopted on the night.

If an objection or amendment to the budget is proposed and approved by a majority of members, the council will adjourn again until February 28 when a final decision will be made.

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