Torbay Council want your views on how the Partnership, which leads the council, plans to set the future direction for the Bay. Three consultations have been launched and now you’re being invited to have your say.
The first is on a draft Community and Corporate Plan, which has been prepared by the Cabinet and takes into account views we heard at our Community Conference in September. This plan identifies the ambition and visions of the council for the next four years and sets out how they intend to deliver them.
Torbay Council has requested you read the plan, asking:
“Have we got our ambition, our visions and the priority areas right? Which aspects of the Plan are most important to you?”
“How can we work together with the community to turn the Plan into actions?”
The second consultation, which runs until 24 January 2020, relates to a new Housing Strategy and this sets out the Cabinet’s plans to meet one of its priorities – to improve the delivery, affordability and quality of housing in Torbay.
This draft Strategy is a work in progress and the Cabinet is keen to continue its work with partners and communities to identify how best to ensure that all residents have access to good quality homes that are affordable and meet their particular needs.
The final consultation is on the Partnership’s budget proposals for 2020/2021. Torbay Council continues to face financial pressures arising from years of central government austerity measures and increasing demand on high-cost services such as social care.
Torbay Council are likely to receive £6.5m of Revenue Support Grant from the central government next year – that compares with £42 million in 2013/2014.
They still do not know how much money the Government will make available for local authorities after next year or how that money will be distributed, but have estimated that they need to fill a funding gap of approximately £10.5 million to balance the budget in 2020/2021 and more than £18m by 2022/23. That’s on top of the £82m in saving and efficiencies they have made in the last 7 years to achieve a balanced budget.
Approximately £2.5 million of the proposals for 2020/21 require decisions to be made by the Council and they are consulting on these. The remaining funding gap will be closed with a variety of measures which have already been agreed in previous years, many of which are being delivered through their Transformation Programme. This includes raising additional income to a total of £5.1m a year through a portfolio of investments through the Investment and Regeneration Fund, efficiencies through a new delivery partner for the Riviera International Conference Centre and reducing contract fees.
Despite the financial challenges, the Cabinet is proposing to invest in Children’s Services to ensure that we can continue to deliver our Improvement Plan. A £250,000 Community Enablement Fund is also proposed to help communities across Torbay work together.
As part of the consultation, it is also seeking views on a number of proposals which could be implemented in future years and this includes changes to the services which are currently provided by TOR2.
The budget is based on the proposal to increase Council Tax by 1.99% and a further 2% for the adult social care precept as agreed by the Government.
Leader of the Council, Steve Darling, said: “We are committed to engaging with and working with our communities to create a thriving Torbay which we can all be proud of. That is why we are really keen to hear your views on all three of our consultations which are now live.
We want to ensure that you agree with our future direction as set out in our draft Community and Corporate Plan and in our Housing Strategy.
With regard to the budget – we can’t pretend that the proposals have been easy to develop, particularly as we face increasing demands for costly statutory services such as in Children’s Services. We have tried to prioritise additional spending in this important area to ensure all of our children have the best life chances.
However, as we are no longer proposing to create new town councils there will be more services that will be impacted as we try to plug the funding gap. We want to work with our communities and partners to find alternative solutions to keep these services in place if at all possible.”
The budget proposals can be found at www.torbay.gov.uk/budget-202021
To take part in these consultations please visit www.torbay.gov.uk/consultation.
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