Council budget to Build a Better Borough

Councillors met this week to formalise the council’s budget for the coming year.

Over the last ten years, the Conservatives have forced £200 million of cuts on Rotherham Council. Nearly 2,000 jobs have been lost as a direct result. And as we said on Wednesday, that has been a deliberate choice, not something that happened by chance.

Despite that, because of the difficult choices we have made over the last few years, this year’s budget does give us some opportunities to respond to the needs of residents. Labour’s plans include:

  • A £1.7 million package for cleaner streets; more weed removal, new equipment for Streetpride, and returning to seven day opening for household waste sites including our local site at Lidget Lane
  • £24 million for road resurfacing over the coming four years to halve the number of potholes in the borough’s roads. This will be the biggest investment in road resurfacing in Rotherham for decades
  • £10 million more next year for Children’s and Adults’ Social Care
  • Investing in every library in the borough, including Wickersley – whereas under the Tories more than 800 libraries have closed across the country
  • More on-street youth work in every part of the borough – under the Tories youth services nationally have been cut by 70%
  • A new seven day-a-week noise nuisance service, which should help to address some of the issues faced by residents in our area, including late night noise from pubs and licensed premises
  • More staff to cut telephone waiting times at the council
  • Scrapping planned cuts to subsidised bus services. Evening and Sunday X10 services are due to be re-tendered in the coming year, and we want to ensure that bus users in our area don’t lose out again.

Together, this practical package of measures should help to ensure that more residents across the borough benefit from council services. They were supported by councillors across party lines, including Brexit Party and Independent councillors, with the exception of the one Liberal Democrat councillor.

During the debate, Cllr Chris Read said;

Five years ago, when I first delivered a budget speech in this chamber, this council was in crisis.

Today, our Children’s Services are transformed, our council rebuilt.

But building a better council was only the beginning. Because none of us are here simple to be administrators.

We’re here to represent our communities and to improve the lives of the people we serve.

And now the building blocks for something bigger are in place.

Social care services to meet the need of our most vulnerable.

An economy that is creating jobs, attracting investment, and tackling poverty pay.

More affordable housing, better roads and a decent local environment.

Working in every neighbourhood and valuing every place.

The aim was never just to build a better council. The aim has always been to build a better borough.

You can watch Cllr Chris Read’s introduction and the debate that followed through the webcast above.

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