Bay conference centre cuts council subsidy by £212k
THE Riviera International Conference Centre is hoping to become less of a burden on the public purse.
The new board of directors — appointed in April — believes it is now in a position to be able to cut its annual subsidy from Torbay Council by £212,300 next year.
New chairman Cris Boyce said overheads have been cut by £356,495 during this financial year, including £133,000 on management salaries.
He said as well as reducing overheads, turnover was on target to be better than the previous year.
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He said: "As a result, after nine months the new board of directors and management have been able to reduce the Torbay Council subsidy by 25 per cent, saving Torbay Council and its taxpayers £212,300."
Last year the subsidy was £646,000 which is currently earmarked to continue until 2017. The complex also received an extra £250,000 for repairs this year.
The cost saving measures have led to 32 job losses from 101 to 69.
Mr Boyce said: "It has been a very challenging time for everyone at the RICC and it has been regrettable but sadly inevitable there have been redundancies.
"However, I am pleased to report considerable progress has been made to put the RICC on a much sounder financial footing.
"At a time when Torbay Council is under enormous pressure to cut costs we have managed to voluntarily reduce our subsidy by 25 per cent and save Torbay Council and its taxpayers £212,300.
"The management and staff of the RICC have been tremendous and risen to the challenge of implementing huge costs savings while maintaining a quality service.
"Without the dedication, support and hard work of management and staff the costs savings achieved to date would not have been possible."
He added: "Having made significant progress in improving the performance of the RICC, the board and management now looks towards the community for its continued support, and encourages everyone to enjoy this wonderful venue with us in 2013."
Cllr Darren Cowell said it was still outrageous to see RICC receive £640,000 in subsidies a year.
He said: "We were promised when the new board was appointed they would present their vision for the future and demonstrate their intention not to be dependent on tax payer subsidies. They ought to give us a cast iron guarantee they are going to get rid off subsidies. It is the only business in the Bay which receives tax payers' money when our children and adult services, youth provision, family intervention, community development, youth offending team, libraries and beaches are all taking cuts."