Budget for a Better Borough

Councillors met this week to set Rotherham Borough Council’s budget for the coming year. Despite eleven years of cuts from the Conservative government amounting to £200 million, because of the choices we’ve made over recent years we are able to avoid further cuts to services – and to keep our council tax rise below those in most of the rest of the country.

The budget agreed by Labour councillors means that some additional cash can be invested over the coming year, including:

  • Creating an additional four Streetpride teams across the borough, and cutting the cost of some household bulky waste collections
  • Additional library resources, more tree planting and wild flowers, and improvements for parks and play areas
  • More support for youth work

Our proposals will also help to deal with the fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic:

  • And additional £100,000 to combat food poverty and support foodbanks, reflecting on the experiences of people in our community through the crisis
  • Paid work placements for young people at risk of long term undemployment, and extra careers support for people in work
  • Contributing to a £450,000 package to tackle digital exclusion and help to get more people online and IT confident

The budget also provides for capital investments, including the creation of a new £4 million “Towns and Villages Fund” to help improve local centres, and £5.8 million to advance the development of flood defence schemes for areas affected by the 2019 flooding.

Introducing the budget, Council Leader Chris Read contrasted Labour’s investment to the Tories’ failure to offer our town a fair deal, noting that this government has cut funding furthest in the most deprived areas, and even this year is cutting funding to repair Rotherham’s roads, and even support for the the NCA’s Operation Stovewood investigation into non-recent child sexual exploitation crimes in the borough.

Concluding he said;

“Added to our commitment to a thousand new council homes, and huge programme of investment in our roads, we are literally building a better borough.
…We should take pride in how far we have already come. Because that’s our agenda:
• A better borough that rises to the expectations of our communities
• Good jobs, decent homes, public services that set people free
• And security for those who need it most, so we leave no one behind”

Remarkably, opposition councillors from the Rotherham Democratic Party and Liberal Democrats voted against Labour’s budget, and specifically tried to remove funding for additional street cleaning, youth work, library resources, careers support, and additional staff to make it easier to get through to the council on the phone.

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