Liberal Democrats have hit out at a secret report about the provision of school places in Paignton to be considered on the 8th of August at a meeting where the press and public will be excluded. The opposition party on Torbay Council are outraged that the secret report is silent on a way forward to improve provision for the Torbay Special School that offers support for some of the most vulnerable children in Torbay.
Torquay topping the charts for personal insolvency at more than double the national average is a stark demonstration of the financial hardship that many people in Torbay face. Tory cuts to benefits, and our low wage economy, can only exacerbate this problem in the Bay.
In the light of this continuing crisis I’d like to try and raise the profile of Discretionary Housing Payments, so that as many local residents as possible have the opportunity to claim if they have a need. In this current financial year Torbay Council have a fund of £481,000 to allocate to people in Torbay and if it is not spent the money is returned to the government.
To be eligible for DHP the claimant must be entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs.
Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council have called in a decision recently published by the council to end on the 30th September the Torbay public health funding of local provision of advocacy, care and support for people who have been diagnosed with HIV and their carers and family members and redirect them to nationally available digital provision and help lines as appropriate.
This means that in the next 10 working days a scrutiny hearing will have to be held by Torbay Council to consider the merits of the decision.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, Steve Darling, who proposed the call-in petition, said: “The call-in promoters welcome the fact that recent advances in medicine have resulted in the life span of HIV sufferers being considerably improved. However, because of the residual stigma of the disease, this client group should be seen as a particularly vulnerable one. We note that the AIDS support grant has now been incorporated into the public health grant so it is difficult to pinpoint the level of funding, but this funding still remains part of public health core funding. The local cessation of this service will inevitably result in costs being shunted on to other health and social care services. We fear that this proposal will further marginalise some of the most vulnerable in our society.“
Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council have discovered that, over recent months, the council has charged its own joint venture company Tor 2 more than £42,000 in fines for uncollected waste and recycling. This follows a period in which thousands of households faced missed bin and recycling collections due to a problem with retention of HGV drivers by the contractor.
Liberal Democrat councillor Mandy Darling said: “I have been inundated by complaints from frustrated residents who feel let down by this basic service they pay their council tax for.”
"To be truly successful, the airshow must be given the opportunity to prove it can fly by itself" say Torbay Liberal Democrats.
Torbay’s Liberal Democrat councillors are set to reject a proposal from Torbay’s Conservative’s to commit to funding the Torbay airshow for five years.
Local Conservatives want to extend the financial commitment from 3 to 5 years, meaning local taxpayers will be funding the airshow until 2022.
The Liberal Democrats will be tabling an amendment at today’s Council meeting that seeks to reaffirm the three-year commitment to finance that was made by the Council this time last year.
At a meeting of Torbay Full Council, on 20 July, where the Council is set to relinquish management of Children’s Services to Plymouth City Council, questions will be asked regarding Torbay Council taking more seriously the needs of children in Torbay
Torquay Liberal Democrat councillor for Ellacombe, Cindy Stocks, said: “It was inevitable - Torbay having failed two inspections in succession - that the government would demand that Torbay should lose managerial responsibility for children’s services. With management set to move down the road to Plymouth it is even more important that Torbay Council as a whole takes its responsibilities seriously. The Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council are demanding that we have, following inspection, a good service in the near future for Torbay children, with a view to becoming an excellent service shortly thereafter. Torbay children deserve better than what our Conservative council have achieved for them”
After months of a chaotic waste and recycling service for Torbay residents, questions are set to be raised at Torbay’s Full Council meeting on Thursday 20th July. Liberal Democrat councillor Mandy Darling has been bombarded by complaints from local residents furious about waste left rotting on Torquay's streets.
The Liberal Democrat councillor, who represents Tormohun ward in Torquay, said: “Disposing of domestic waste is a service that people up and down the country normally take for granted. In Torbay it has been left on the streets for days resulting in waste and recycling material becoming strewn around and giving parts of Torbay the feeling of a shanty town”
She went on to say: “Torbay Council has a contract which includes penalties for poor performance by TOR2. It will be interesting to see how the local authority has been using this financial stick.”
On Saturday 1 April, Torbay Liberal Democrats joined the Save Our Hospital Services red line demonstration at Lowes Bridge entrance to Torbay hospital.
Torquay campaigner Swithin Long said: “It was good to see people from a number of political backgrounds coming together to protest against these Conservative cuts to health services in South Devon. People will draw their own conclusions as to why our Conservative MP for Torbay failed to attend the event.”
Letter to local press from Steve Darling, leader of Torbay Libdem councillors.
The decision to allow the building of a 12 storey block of flats on Torquay harbourside is a landmark decision for Torbay in a number of ways.
While there is little to be gained from going over the decision about the Pavilion, I think it is worth reflecting on a couple of key points.
The decision, about eight years ago, by our previous elected Mayor, to seek the provision of a four star hotel on the harbourside as part of the redevelopment of the Pavilion, set the project off on the wrong foot, as this resulted in a situation in which the developers were trying to force too much on to this site.
I remain surprised at the number of people who do not realise that a more modest residential development would have released enough money to restore the Pavilion and not cause significant harm to the setting of our historic harbourside.
I fear that, after 7 years of negotiations, Torbay had painted itself into a corner, so it had little choice but to grant planning permission or look foolish. This delay has also resulted in an increase to the cost of renovating the Pavilion by about half a million pounds, the total now reaching £2.7 million.
In the aftermath of this decision we need to ensure that lessons are learnt.