Torbay Mayor's 'painful' budget cuts warning

No services will be immune from "painful" budget cuts, Torbay's mayor has said.

Gordon Oliver's warning comes as he prepares to unveil draft budget proposals designed to save £22m over the next two years.

Despite "significant" government grant reductions, he said he would try to protect adult and children's services.

The scale of the challenge had meant "some very tough conversations" said Mr Oliver.

Torbay Council has saved £19m over the past two years, but needs to make further savings of about £22m.

'No service immune'

Mr Oliver said the difficulty was achieving a balance when there were increasing demands for statutory services - such as adult social care and children's services - as well as other services such as concessionary travel fares and the rising cost of dealing with the Bay's waste.

Mayor Oliver said: "People don't necessarily notice change until it is something that directly affects them.

"The scale of the challenge in achieving the central government savings which local MP's voted for, sadly means no service is immune and there have been some very tough conversations.

"There are certainly no easy answers in this budget - it has and continues to be, a painful process."

He said no final decisions had been taken but there were some "positives", including a recommendation to freeze council tax "to help residents in this difficult economic climate" and continuing investment in key capital projects to improve job prospects and the local economy.

A public budget meeting will be held at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay on 2 December and local people will be able to have their say on the council's website.

The budget proposals will be reviewed in January and the final decision will be made in February.

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