The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
The Challenge in Torbay
The Torbay economy is facing an uncertain future. Over the last few years we have experienced a decline in visitor numbers and reductions in construction, engineering and retail jobs. The Government’s restructuring and budget reduction plans for the public sector will put further pressure on Torbay’s potential economic growth. Meanwhile the Council has presided over:
- Continued decline in tourism;
- Torbay has fallen further behind the South West regional economy;
- Council Debt has doubled;
- Safe guarding children – judged Inadequate;
- Tax payers money paid out in compensation for the Babbacombe Fish Restauran;
- Torbay is the third from bottom in the country in terms of local people feeling able to influence decisions.
The Liberal Democrats are committed to:
- Attracting full time quality jobs for our local community;
- A Council that listens to and reflects the needs of our communities;
- Putting the environment at the heart of the Council’s decision making.
Torbay Liberal Democrats on:
Economy & Employment
The Liberal Democrats are committed to developing new jobs and, where possible, saving existing jobs. We will run a business-friendly organisation, by, wherever possible, reducing the bureaucracy and red tape that businesses face when dealing with the Council. We will promote a clean, sustainable and diverse economy.
Tourism has been the back bone of the Torbay’s economy and employment. The future holds many challenges and opportunities. We are committed to helping the industry restructure and adapt to take advantage of market opportunities on a domestic and international scale
We are entering into the most aggressive government led fiscal reduction experienced in the last 40 years. The Council is currently tasked with achieving 7% savings per year for the next 3 years. It is implicit that many services will be cut or reduced to achieve these savings.
The guiding principles for Liberal Democrats will as always be one of fairness and equity. Persons at risk and the less able will be supported. Every effort will be made to maintain service levels and we will minimise the contention between jobs and services. Liberal Democrats will seek to maximise government support payments and grants throughout their administration.
The Bay’s Harbours
The Bay’s harbours are essential to both the fishing and tourism industries. We are committed to improving commercial and leisure use across the bay. We will support mixed use harbours, which include pontoon berths for local use.
Power to the People – A Council that listens to and reflects the needs of our communities
Liberal Democrats believe that local gvernment should be open, transparent and fully accountable.
The Conservative administration’s management of the Mayoral system and the Conservative Mayor have combined to convince the electorate that the Mayoral system is a flawed and dictatorial system that has failed the Bay. In consequence, Torbay has one of the lowest national scores in terms of the public’s belief in their ability to influence decision making at the Council.
For this reason Torbay Liberal Democrats believe the Mayoral system should be abolished.
Torbay’s environment is an asset that enhances the quality of life for its residents. We will strive to protect and enhance our environment for future generations. The protection of the environment presents many challenges for local authorities in areas such as air pollution and traffic, waste recovery and reduction. Torbay Council should lead the way to protect and enhance the environment and in making sustainability a priority. We aim to assist residents to take and feel pride in their local environment. We want clean streets, smarter buildings, beautiful parks and welcoming shopping areas
Education provides the opportunity to choose a fulfilling job, the freedom to use one’s talents to the full and the ability to contribute fully to society. Education is also the key to Torbay’s future prosperity. We shall encourage the use of new technologies and harness fresh ideas to deliver a first-class education service. The implications of the new Education Bill has created uncertainty around the future relationship between schools and councils.
Building Safer Communities
- Work in partnership with other agencies and the local community to tackle anti social behaviour.
- Continue to support the use of restorative justice
- Develop a strategy for the most cost effective use of CCTV and street lighting
Building Caring Communities – Health and Social Care
Liberal Democrats understand that many aspects of daily life affect health. We will therefore work in partnership with not only health professionals but all sections of our community to promote employment, effective policing, support for the vulnerable, a healthy environment, education for all ages and a housing strategy which aims to ensure everyone has suitable accommodation.
We believe that everyone should have the right to decent housing regardless of age, gender or marital status. We will work with others in the housing market toward achieving this goal. Assisting housing providers to meet this demand for housing will be a priority. We will work with landowners, such as the churches, public sector bodies and utility companies to see how we can provide more units of secure tenancy, fair rent new housing.
Arts, Culture, Heritage and Leisure
Liberal Democrats believe that wider opportunities for the creative use of leisure time are essential to stable, flourishing communities and to enable individuals to develop their skills or simply to have fun. These opportunities should be available to all. In these austere times the Arts is often the first budget to be slashed. We will work with Arts organisations to investigate the best way to create partnerships and promote our local culture and heritage.