Will Torbay (and its soon-to-be-unelected Mayor and Tory majority) be next to topple?

During the last few turbulent years Torbay elected a super-Mayor, had a referendum to stop having a super-Mayor, its Tories split, split again, then split again and recently it was suggested by councillors that it should be subsumed back into Devon County Council. Not sure DCC will want to welcome it with open arms …..

Torbay council has called an immediate halt to non-urgent spending and stripped its services back to the statutory minimum because of financial pressures.

The Conservative-run council ordered the freeze after its budget report for the first quarter forecast an overspend of more than £2.8 million by the end of the year, which it attributed to a substantial increase in the number of children being looked after.

Steve Parrock, the chief executive, told councillors: “Even if an activity or contract is budgeted for, the task or expenditure may be postponed or cancelled if the work is deemed not urgent by the chief finance officer or myself.”

He added that the Devonshire council faced “significant financial challenges due to government funding cuts and increasing demands, particularly in social care”.

Labour called it a crisis that had arisen because of cuts to local authority funding. Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities and local government secretary, urged the government to “finally wake up to the consequences of their austerity programme”.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We are providing local authorities with £90.7 billion over the next two years to meet the needs of their residents.

“We are also giving them the power to retain the growth in business rates income and are working with local government to develop a funding system for the future based on the needs of different areas.”

Northamptonshire county council recently approved major cuts to jobs and services to tackle a £70 million shortfall and continues to be supervised by government commissioners.

East Sussex and Somerset county councils have warned that they could run out of money in the next two to three years, and auditors have said that Lancashire county council’s financial position is at a “tipping point”.”