Rent and school dinners set to go up

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BALANCING the Doncaster Council books could see the cost of school dinners in Doncaster and also housing rents rise.

The council will have a budget of £475m for 2013-14 - after a further saving of £26m on top of £68m taken out of the budget in the last two years.

And the impact will be felt in people’s pockets, although council tax will be frozen for a third successive year.

Among changes proposed are:

■ Housing rents rising in line with Government guidance - but they will still be among the cheapest in South Yorkshire - and there will be further investment in new homes and improvements.

■ The cost of school meals will go up by 10 pence per meal in Doncaster’s primary and secondary schools.

■ Home care fees will be increased – as per the decision of full council in 2012-13. This relates to an average increase from £11.28 to £12.08. However 80 per cent of users will not be affected.

■ Removing members’, including the Mayor’s, flexible budgets, saving £226,0000 - members are currently allowed £10,000 per ward to spend on priorities within their areas. There is no consistency to what this money is spent on and the Mayor believes it could be better used elsewhere.

■ Provide additional administration posts in children’s safeguarding to free up social workers to concentrate on frontline work.

The budget was presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee who now have four weeks to look at it and make comments to cabinet on February 6.

The proposals will then go to a full council meeting on February 21 for final approval.

Mr Davies said: “We have made great progress despite difficult circumstances.

“I remain committed to improving the economy of the borough.”