Torbay Council told to make an extra £5m in savings

Torbay Council will have to find another £5m of savings on top of the £22m it must cut over the next two years, it has been revealed.

Mayor Gordon Oliver said they told of the additional savings required by the government just before Christmas.

More cuts in public services were likely because more savings were demanded, Mr Oliver said.

England's councils were facing an average spending cut of 2.9% in 2014-15 alone, the government said in December.

Proposed cuts have already been included in draft budgets for 2014/15 and 2015/16 as part of Mr Oliver's original £22m savings package.

They included withdrawing supported employment for people with learning difficulties, cutting funding for the homeless and sheltered housing for older people, and withdrawing funding for accommodation for offenders on licence.

Mr Oliver, a Conservative, said the council may be able to reduce the extra figure of £5m through use of funds "given for other purposes".

He said: "Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a reduced commitment, but we have to find ways of undertaking things in a different way.

"Never in a generation have local authorities had such a major challenge.

"We do tend to spend more than other unitary authorities of a similar size and we are looking into the detail of that."

Residents are being asked to offer suggestions on areas where efficiencies could be made.

The extra savings are being debated at a meeting in Torquay's Riviera Centre on Friday.

Deputy Mayor David Thomas tweeted that: "Some passionate real life experiences [are] being shared with the meeting."

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