Rotherham Council faces ‘challenge’ to balance books – but will continue to invest in essential services

Rotherham Council will face a ‘challenge’ to keep essential services running next year- but the council leader has reassured taxpayers that a balanced budget will be delivered.
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The LGA (Local Government Association) estimates that councils in England face a £4 billion funding gap over the next two years just to keep services running, and almost one in five council leaders think it is very or fairly likely that their chief finance officer will need to issue a section 114 notice this year or next.

Half are not confident they will have enough funding to fulfil their legal duties next year, including providing statutory services.

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Nottingham and Birmingham City Councils have both issued section 114 notices this year, effectively declaring bankruptcy, meaning all spending except for statutory services will be restricted.

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In Rotherham, council leader Chris Read says that the authority is facing a ‘challenging’ time – but is in a ‘better place than many other councils’.

Councillor Read said: “Councils across the country are facing an extremely challenging financial environment and Rotherham is no different. Central Government funding has dwindled since 2010, which has severely weakened services at a local level. We have had to make cuts and savings of £200m to our annual budget since 2010.

“Because of the prudent approach we have taken to our financial management locally, we are in a better place than many other councils across the country.

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“However, the funding shortfall makes it extremely difficult to plan for the long term. This has been highlighted through the ongoing cost of living crisis, where it has become more important than ever to spend wisely and deliver maximum impact.

“In this climate of Government austerity, we are continuing to invest in the services that people will rely on, alongside delivering regeneration to improve our town centre and local towns and villages across the borough.

“The Government must change the way it funds local government services. Rotherham residents need and deserve to live in a place that they are proud of.”