Rotherham council’s £23m cuts to budget

Coun Roger Stone.
Coun Roger Stone.
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Residents face a £23 million programme of cuts – as well as a tax increase – in Rotherham Council’s budget for the next year.

The authority has already had to slash £70 million from its spending plans over the last four years, and needs to find another £23m of savings by next April.

A council tax increase of 1.9 per cent - the first rise in the town for four years - has been proposed, but ‘frontline services’ will be affected in the latest round of cuts.

A tax hike of two per cent or higher would require a local referendum.

New measures include an overhaul of school catering, saving £300,000, shutting household waste centres on ‘quiet days’, and reviewing some ‘poor value for money’ learning disabilities support. Creating a new foundation years service for children will save £2.2m by 2016.

Council leader Roger Stone said: “The Government’s relentless and devastating budget cuts mean we are entering a new era where we must prioritise spending even more, where we cannot do everything we have previously and where some things have to stop.

“It’s an era where our main role will be helping people to become more self-reliant rather than us doing things on their behalf.”

The biggest cut of £7m will be to the council’s neighbourhoods and adult services, while children and young people’s services will lose £3m.

Coun Stone said facilities such as libraries, children’s centres and day care units had been defended for ‘as long as realistically possible’.

“But we no longer have a choice, and we have faced very difficult decisions because we know every change will impact on someone,” he added.

Priorities include supporting vulnerable young people, families and the elderly, protecting the ‘most important community buildings’ and finding alternate ways of delivering children’s services.

Spending will be maintained on street cleaning and community safety.