Mayor Oliver said, We are not underestimating the challenge we face in agreeing the budget this year, or in following years. However we are also not underestimating how difficult it will also be for Torbay residents to balance their own household budgets in these difficult times.
By freezing council tax we will receive a grant from the Government of 0.6 million. In these continuing times of austerity this will lessenthe burden on Torbay Council Tax payers.
We have listened to residents views and they have been helping us face this challenge. Our budget consultation started even earlier this year .This included an event organised by Torbay councillors where the public were given the task of identifying where they would find the 8-10million budget deficit either through increasing income or service budget reductions.
Key feedback from the public budget consultation included;
* There was some support for raising council tax to minimise the impact of the cuts
* There was some support for looking into other ways in which the council can generate income
* Members of the public were asked to take part in an exercise where they were asked to identify 8million savings across council services this proved difficult, and not one group were able to find the total savings required this resulted in a good debate around the size of the problem facing the council
* Although people struggled to find the total 8 million savings they activity still identified areas where the public felt that savings could be made.
Mayor Oliver went on to say, I would like to thank the many individuals and organisations that have taken part in the budget consultation, given us their views and helped to shape our thinking in proposing this very difficult budget.
Whilst the central Government cuts are all over the national news, people dont necessarily notice until it is something that directly affects them. We want to try and achieve a balance between the statutory services that we are required to provide by law and those that residents say they value the most.
There are certainly no easy answers in proposing this budget, but I hope the decision to freeze Council Tax will bring a little cheer to residents in these very difficult times. I am committed to continuing to listen and re-examine everything we do and how we do it to ensure that the work we do for the Torbay community is focussed on their priorities and provides value for money.