Axe set to fall across Torbay in largest cuts to public spending and local government in years
MAYOR Gordon Oliver is proposing to cut £10million from council services next year.
Torbay Council still has to wait to hear the final sum in local government funding expected to be finalised around the end of next month.
But the overall target revenue budget figure is currently £127.97million, compared with £137million this year.
The proposals will be considered by the overview and scrutiny board which will report back to the mayor in February and there will be further consultation with services users affected by specific proposals whose reaction will be considered by the council in February.
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Councillors are being fully briefed over the next few weeks. Officers were this week unable to provide to the Herald Express the budget figures for each of the services cut.
The mayor is proposing to reduce the adult social care budget by £2.16million. The biggest cut proposed is £870,00 from care provided at home, partly through closer working with the voluntary and independent sector to help meet needs for low-level support.
This could also include £645,000 cuts in staff costs by using them more efficiently, reducing frontline staffing levels and reducing support functions by using greater automation.
The cuts could include a £285,000 reduction in care home placement as such placements have reduced by a quarter since 2006, and the Hayes Road extra care housing development will open next year enabling people to stay independent for longer.
Closing the Fairwinds day service for people with learning disabilities in 2012 will save £275,000 during the year.
A £60,000 cut in supporting carers is proposed while maximising the use of the voluntary and third sectors, and a £25,000 cut in the cost of community alarms by charging for them after three months.
It is proposed to cut £1.48million from residents' and visitors' services and increase income by £50,000.
The proposals are cutting £142,000 from beach services with the warning that beaches may no longer meet the Blue Flag criteria, and cutting £50,000 from theatre, arts, events and sports services with the potential loss of some expertise.
Among the cuts proposed are £80,000 from reduced maintenance on roads, car parks, corporate security and CCTV could be cut by £30,000 with a reduction in service, reducing illuminations by £10,000 with the warning that it could be seen as affecting tourism.
Stopping Brixham park and ride to save £20,000 is proposed with the warning this could increase congestion in the town, replacing the ring and ride service with alternative forms of transport could save £50,000 with the warning that if alternatives are provided the demand could increase.
It is also proposed to reduce less popular subsidised bus routes with the potential loss of services.
Libraries may have to find £84,000 cuts including reducing the new books, DVDs and CDs available. £20,000 has already been saved on staffing.
£100,000 could be shaved from the running costs of Torre Abbey when it reopens, which may reduce opening hours.
It is proposed to amalgamate the car parking and parking enforcement service to save £35,000 with a potential loss of income.
An increase in the areas where motorists are charged to park is proposed saving £50,000.
The mayor is considering streamlining processes at Tor2 and Torquay North maintenance contractors Glendale to save £500,000, and look at efficiencies in both organisations to achieve savings without affecting services such as toilets, recreation and landscape services and cleaning.
However, there is a potential reduction in service such as grass cutting timings.
He is also proposing a £119,000 reduction in management and support in the department, and a £95,000 cut in the grants to organisations.
The supporting people department could be cut by £1.5million with £830,000 taken from the service being redesigned to improve effectiveness through contract re-negotiation and finding new service providers.
The Accommodation Plus service to provide supportive landlords could be cut by £200,000 by providing an alternative service.
The specific support programme for offenders could be halted to save £170,000 with offenders being helped by support provided for others while training staff to meet their needs.
Some £200,000 could be cut from the support provided for social inclusion, and the council is looking at the service provided at the Cumberland Complex of licensed houses in multiple occupation to save £100,000 while continuing to meet client needs.
A cut of £1.36million is proposed to the largest budget of children's services.
This includes £50,000 from the youth offending team which councillors are warned could increase case loads and reduce preventative work and £110,000 from the Neighbourhood Youth Team which could hit voluntary and community sector schemes.
The service will be restructured so that there will not be any reduction in capacity or opening hours.
Housing support could be reduced by £94,000 with the warning this could hit preventative work for example avoiding homelessness.
The budget for supporting children and families in local areas could be cut by £398,000.
This includes targeted youth support, family support and family intervention project, attendance improvement services, hand in hand volunteering services and Careers South West.
Officers warn services could be reduced and a reduction in preventative measures could increase workload.
Intensive family support could be cut by £50,000 and £30,000 less made available for the voluntary sector to support the services they run.
Support for schools such as early years work and home to school transport could be cut by £391,000.
The cuts would include £240,000 from business support and commissioning which it is warned could affect the delivery of services and projects across the department and reduce support and materials.
Torbay Development Agency is facing a cut of £525,000, including £110,000 reduction in repairs and maintenance of council properties.
Officers warn that significant progress has been made in recent years to reduce repairs for example at Torre Abbey, Rock Walk and Torquay seafront, but they say there is no immediate risk of major problems.
They are expected to save £125,000 through the office rationalisation project, for example leaving Oldway Mansion. They are expected to raise £100,000 themselves.
Spatial planning and waste is expected to save £360,000 for example through encouraging increased recycling, and receiving £50,000 from the Government for Neighbourhood Planning.
Community safety is proposed to save £584,000 including £84,100 from community group support, £89,000 from community protection services such as monitoring air quality and land contamination, £124,800 from food, health and safety, trading standards and licensing and £156,600 from safer communities Torbay.
Financial services is facing a £250,000 cut in support and advice at a time when the council is implementing local council tax scheme and universal credit.
£35,000 has been saved by working with others on auditing services in the Devon Audit Partnership.
In commercial services, a £300,000 cut is proposed including in the governance support and communications team through not filling vacant posts, with warnings it could delay services such as legal advice, and support to councillors and officers and a reduction in the communications team could limit the amount of communications within the council and also with the community.
Torbay Council is being asked at its meeting today to agree to a reduction in discounts on council tax for certain properties.
For example, the 10 per cent discount for second homes and for unoccupied and substantially unfurnished is proposed to be reduced to zero.