Budget and changes to council tax support are up for debate
RESIDENTS' views are needed as Torbay Council faces some of its toughest economic challenges to date.
The council's budget and changes to the council tax support system are two hot topics currently up for debate.
Government funding to Torbay will reduce by 28 per cent over the next four years and Torbay Council needs to find up to £10million savings and income from next year's budget.
At the same time changes are being made to council tax support which means that some residents who currently qualify for Council Tax Benefit, where up to 100 per cent of their bill is paid, will now have to contribute more.
There are now less than three weeks to comment on the draft support scheme for Torbay.
The consultation which runs until Monday, October 1, is a chance to have a say on the new scheme Torbay has designed.
Only 305 people have so far commented.
Cllr Alan Tyerman (pictured), executive lead for finance and audit, said: "The changes taking effect next April, which includes less money coming to us from the Government to support the system, mean councils will have to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial help and how much they will get.
"While some groups within the community will be directly affected by the changes, everyone needs to know what's happening.
"Along with councils across Devon, we have developed a draft scheme and are keen to hear from all residents as to whether they think we have got our local scheme right."
The survey and supporting information is available at www.torbay.gov.uk/consultation
Alternatively, anyone wishing to have their say can email Torbay Council on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01803 207201 and a questionnaire will be sent out in the post.
As part of the council's budget process, a consultation event will be held next week to give all members of the public the opportunity to tell the council how and where they think their money should be spent, and where savings should be made.
Cllr Tyerman added: "We aren't underestimating the challenge we face, £10million is a lot of money for the authority to find and there will be tough decisions to be made.
"We want to hear from residents to try to achieve a balance between the statutory services that we are required to provide by law and those that residents say they value the most.
"We also recognise there will be sensitive issues to discuss and that people will have different ideas about what is most important."
The budget consultation will take place on Tuesday in the Rosetor room at the Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay, from 6.30pm until 8.30pm.
If residents are unable to attend the budget consultation event, ideas and comments on the budget can also be sent to email@example.com.