Rotherham Council budget set

Councillors met this week to formally set the council’s budget for the coming financial year.

Since 2010, the council has had to reduce its annual budget by more than £160 million. 1,900 jobs have been lost.

Whilst Rotherham has been hit harder than many other parts of the country, our experience is sadly not unique. 800,000 fewer people now work in local government than when the Tories came to office. A recent survey suggested that 95% of councils will increase council tax this year, whilst more than 65% expect to have to use their reserves to fund services.

Labour have repeatedly called on the government to change course and properly fund council services before it is too late.

In the current climate, difficult decisions are unavoidable but Labour councillors have prioritised key areas of spend for 2018/19:

  • Putting social care first
  • Responding to the views of residents by using 1% of additional council tax to facilitate the kerbside collection of plastics
  • Continuing to invest in repairing Rotherham’s roads – we’ll spend more in the coming year than at any point in the last decade – and putting an additional £1 million into pavement repairs
  • Making available additional capital investment to improve street cleaning and public bins
  • Continuing to support delegated neighbourhood budgets for projects in every part of the borough, rather than paying the money to councillors

At the same time, our plans will deliver an additional 167 council houses over the next two years – making up as many as 1 in 20 of all the council properties to be built in the country. And we’ll continue to find our food for people in crisis scheme, and paying all directly employed council staff at least the JRF Living Wage.

To read the Leader’s speech opening the debate please click here. You can also watch the whole debate in the video above from 47 minutes and 55 seconds.

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