Torbay Council’s Partnership Cabinet is publishing its budget proposals for 2022/23 and wants to hear your views.
The financial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic continue, and the Government has only given a one-year Local Government Finance Settlement. Despite this, the Cabinet is proposing to invest in several of its priority areas.
As part of the Government’s austerity measures, Torbay Council has faced a cumulative impact on its Revenue Support Grant of around £250 million since 2013. Whilst there are no further funding reductions and some increases for 2022/23, which is welcome, the one-year Local Government Finance Settlement does not provide certainly for longer term financial planning. That is compounded by a lack of any funding for demand or growth pressures in the Spending Review for 2023/24 and 2024/25.
Torbay Council also faces other financial challenges. There is a cumulative deficit of £9 million in the School’s Higher Need Block because the costs and demand for Education, Health and Care Plans for our pupils exceeds the government funding allocated to this service. The on-going economic impact of Covid-19 continues to put pressure on services, support and lost income as we respond to the pandemic through local test, track and trace work and supporting communities and businesses following outbreaks.
We also face inflation and cost pressures with higher rates of inflation, increased National Insurance contributions plus pressures on the cost of fuel and utilities.
Like many other areas across the country, the costs of providing social care for our adult population are continuing to rise.
In response to these pressures, and to ensure the Council can continue to deliver services in the future, the Cabinet is looking to increase Council Tax by 1.99% with an additional 1% increase for the adult social care precept.
Despite the challenges the Partnership administration wants to invest in priority areas in 2022/23 including:
-Waste and recycling
-Torbay’s Community Builders
Leader of Torbay Council, Councillor Steve Darling, said: “Since the election in 2019 we have tackled the challenges that the Council has faced head-on, not least in our Children’s Services department and we are now seeing positive outcomes for our children and young people. This has, in turn released resources which we have been able to invest in our community as we worked together to meet the challenges of a global pandemic.
“We face a number of challenges in the 2022/23 one-year financial settlement, but we are determined to continue to provide services that matter the most to our residents. We hope that the investment we are proposing will have positive benefits for all of Torbay and we are really keen to hear your views.”
Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We want to carry on embedding our partnership and co-operative principles into everything we do, by continuing to work closely with our community and voluntary sector partners, giving power back to them.
“Unfortunately, this combined with other financial challenges, means we have to increase Council Tax. However, we are committed to ensuring that those who need support in meeting this increase receive it and will work with our partners in the community and voluntary sector.
“We really welcome your thoughts on these proposals. As part of the consultation, we want to hear about specific areas that you want to see addressed and ideas on how we can work with our communities to deliver services differently.”
The budget proposals and a link to the consultation will be available on Torbay Council’s website www.torbay.gov.uk/budget-202223 from Wednesday 12 January 2022 until the consultation closes on Tuesday 8 February 2022.
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