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Council tax in Torbay to rise by 4%

It will be the last rise under elected mayor Gordon Oliver before his post is abolished.

Council tax payers in Torbay will see their bills go up by just over 4 per cent for the next financial year starting in April.

An average Band D property will face a demand for £1,801.84 including payments for police and fire after Torbay Council put up its share of the bill by 2.99 per cent.

The bill for Band D payers includes £212.28 for police and £86.52 for the fire service, with the council getting £1,503.04.

Overall the total for Band D in Torbay is going up by £71.15 from last year. Payments work out at £34.65 a week.

Tax payers in Band D in Brixham will pay an extra £51.29 on top for the year to fund the work of Brixham Town Council – a rise of just under 10 per cent from £46.77 last year.

The council tax bands are based on the value of a property and set the amount of council tax due, with Band D used for comparison.

The council tax levels were set by Torbay Council at a budget meeting.

The £111m spending plan was the last set by elected mayor Gordon Oliver, as the post will be abolished after local elections in May to be replaced by a leader and cabinet system.

Conservative group leader Dave Thomas said he was disappointed that under the mayoral system councillors were unable to vote on the budget, which included cuts to services including road maintenance, the natural environment covering grass-cutting and flower planting, seafront illuminations and the grant to Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust.

The mayor has agreed to add an extra £150,000 from reserves to next year’s spending to improve the fostering service and recruit and retain social workers in children’s social care.

The move followed a call from the Liberal Democrats to tackle the pressures on the children’s social care budget which had led to overspending of more than £4m this year.

Councillors have been told that the authority is facing problems recruiting and keeping social workers due to a national shortage.
That is affecting progress on an improvement plan for children’s social care which was rated inadequate for a second time last year.
The council voted to take £1m from reserves for computer upgrades including a replacement of the care management system for children’s services.

Liberal Democrat leader Steve Darling said: “Our number one priority needs to be turning the tide on poverty and tackling inequality.”

Brixham councillor Mike Morey said: “The reality is that under this Conservative government we have seen unprecedented levels of cuts to local councils.”The council tax levels were set by Torbay Council at a budget meeting."

Mayor Oliver said he was concerned about the reducing level of resources.

Councillors voted to take £1m from reserves to cover this year’s overspending and balance the books after a freeze on non-urgent spending due to financial pressures.

The authority is having to find  £17 million worth of savings and new income over the next three years as funding from central government continues to be cut.

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