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Torbay budget 'neglects the needy' claim

Coins (Image: Sarah Agnew/Unsplash)

It 'tackles the symptoms, not the cause'

More affordable homes are needed across Torbay to deal with a worsening housing crisis, according to the former leader of the council.

Liberal Democrat leader Steve Darling (Barton with Watcombe) was responding to details of the forthcoming council budget for 2024/25 released last week.

He said there is a danger that needy people would be "left out in the cold" by the budget set out by the Tories.

The initial budget proposals, which are currently out for consultation before a final strategy is agreed next month, include investing an additional £900,000 to meet the pressures of temporary accommodation, prevent homelessness and support the operation of the homeless hostel.

Torquay’s Leonard Stocks hostel in Factory Row has recently been brought back ‘in-house’ by the council.

The budget aims to ‘focus on prevention, helping people to maintain stable, sustainable, self-funded housing through the right targeted intervention’.

However, Cllr Darling says that while the budget built on the successes of the previous Liberal Democrat and Independent administration by driving stronger investment into town centres and public spaces, he is concerned it neglects people most in need.

He said: “Torbay is sadly the poorest local authority in the south west of England, yet the Conservatives have done very little to support people through the cost-of-living crisis.

“The additional £1 million for temporary accommodation is only tackling the symptoms of the housing crisis in Torbay, rather than dealing with the root cause, a lack of affordable homes for people to live in in the bay.”

Cllr Darling, who is also the Liberal Democrats’ prospective parliamentary candidate for Torbay, added: “Over the next few weeks we will be holding the minority Conservative administration to account over this budget, with a view to ensuring that we seek to continue turning the tide on poverty in Torbay, building on the work started by the previous partnership administration.”

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