Rotherham chiefs approve £23m of cuts, council tax rise and cash for abuse victims

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Council chiefs in Rotherham have given first approval to next year’s budget - which includes money to be spent on better protecting young people after the town’s child sex abuse scandal.

Council chiefs in Rotherham have given first approval to next year’s budget - which includes money to be spent on better protecting young people after the town’s child sex abuse scandal.

The authority’s cabinet today agreed to spend an extra £824,000 on outreach youth work for children at risk of exploitation, more social workers and support for victims of abuse.

That work will be funded partly by an increase in council tax - the first for five years - of 1.95 per cent, or £16.12 extra a year on a Band A property.

Government funding will also be used.

However, there will also be cuts to services as the council faces a spending gap of £23 million.

They include scaling back councillors’ allowances so they are in line with other authorities and getting rid of a chauffeur-driven car used by a former leader.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library scheme to improve childhood literacy set up in 2007 will stop - in order to save £400,000; reducing the number of buildings the council owns and closing a learning centre.

A spokesman for the Dollywood Foundation said they had not been been contacted by the council about any proposed changes and so Dolly Parton would withhold any comment.

School meals will increase by 5p per meal from September 2015.

Money generated from the council tax increase - to total an additional £590,000 - will be used towards £200,000 worth of street cleaning to tackle litter and weeds.

Councillors’ allowances are to be brought into line with other authorities and a car used by a former leader axed, while international visits for members will be reduced.

Barnsley’s full council also agreed next year’s budget - which included £28 million of cuts and a 1.9 per cent tax rise - on Thursday. Ten of 20 children’s centres will be closed.

Sheffield Council will decide its budget next Friday March 6.