JIM PARKER: Savings that will cost us more
HERE we go, the details of the Torbay Council cuts are beginning to emerge. There is bound to be backlash, criticism and dismay at some services being chopped as the Town Hall tries to make £10million savings.
It's very easy to bash and it must not be forgotten that these Draconian reductions are being forced on councils by central Government so it wasn't my intention to have a pop from the word go.
But my aspirations didn't last long, I am afraid.
One of the first victims may be the scrapping of free alarms for 900 elderly and disabled people in the Bay.
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The alarms, worn by people as a necklace or watch, contact a family member, friend or dedicated person, when they are activated.
They are literally a lifeline for some of our most vulnerable folk.
One of the first moves in the budget slashing rounds is to take the alarms away — or charge people £3 a week to have one.
The massive saving in all this upheaval? £25,000.
It is something which has angered Labour councillor Darren Cowell.
He reckons that where help is still needed care packages may be increased or residential care considered which will mean more, not less, money having to be spent.
He says: "It will cost more to administer than the savings themselves will make.
"It will have a huge impact on people, some of whom may be disabled, when it comes to confidence.
"At the moment, they know they have help.
"I think politically if I had been Gordon Oliver I would have said not on your nellie."
He added: "I know every penny counts but not in some circumstances. This is a drop in the ocean."
Cllr Cowell also has concerns about the council's family intervention service being moved.
He explains: "The family intervention service, which currently sits within safer communities, is being moved into children's services.
"It has been a huge success story. My worry is that it will get swallowed up in children's services and its effectiveness may be undermined. It works where it is. Early intervention is better than having to respond."
He fears that it is elderly and young who may suffer some of the worst hardship in all these cutbacks.
How much did that palm tree at the gateway to Torquay cost?
TRIBUTES have been flooding in for South Devon war hero and community stalwart Cyril Perry, who has died at the age of 86.
Cyril, from Foxhole in Paignton and a long-serving rail worker and official of National Union of Railwaymen, served as a Desert Rat in North Africa and was a member of the Normandy landings who pushed through in the liberation of Germany.
That's where we come to a lovely story from Betty Selley, widow of the clate Ken Selley, well-known former Torbay councillor and once mayor.
Betty remembers how Ken was liberated from a prisoner-of-war camp by none other than Cyril.
She says: "Cyril came into the concentration camp on a motorbike and got Ken out of there on the back of the bike.
"Then years and years later when we were mayor and mayoress there was a big national conference of the NUR.
"We were up on stage and Ken had to make a welcome speech as mayor.
"Then Cyril got up and said he would like to say a few words to his members.
"He told them that he had met Ken coming out of the concentration camp in Germany and that he had recognised him because they went to school together and that he had taken him out of there on the back of his motorbike."
Betty added: "Excuse me because I'm going to have to swear now because he told the 700 delegates at the conference 'And let me tell you – if I had known he was a bloody Tory I would have left the bugger there'.
"Everybody roared. Ken and I roared and it's a story that we still tell often in our family."
Ken, who died in 1999, was Mayor of Torbay in 1983.
What a smashing story. Thanks, Betty.
OKAY, hands up, I do enjoy some reality TV and I emphasise the word 'some'.
I find parts of Strictly and I'm a Celebrity... entertaining.
But Splash!, what's that all about?
Usually some reality shows are so bad you feel you have to watch them.
But I'm afraid Olympian Tom Daley and his quest to persuade 'celebs' to jump from great heights into the water below does nothing for me.
Remember, this is prime viewing on a Saturday night.
With due respect, Tom, stick to your diving and win us gold next time around.