Like many other local authorities, over the last ten years Rotherham Council has had to find £200 million of cuts and savings as grants from central government have been reduced and demand for social care services has increased. More than 1,800 jobs have been lost from the Council as a result.
However, because of the tough choices we have made this year we are able to respond to some of the concerns that residents have put to us by investing in services and infrastructure.
An extra £1.7 million for Streetpride services, a four-year £24 million road resurfacing programme, and improvements to every library are amongst the range of capital investments we are making. In addition, we will increase the level of youth work across the borough, increase the opening hours of Household Waste Recycling Centres, and reverse planned reductions in tendered bus services.
Last year we agreed a two-year plan, and as we set our budget for the second year no additional job losses or cuts to frontline services beyond that plan are required.
Like virtually every other council in the country with social care responsibilities, to meet the growing demand for Adult Social Care we are required to raise the government’s Adult Social Care Levy by the equivalent of 2% on Council Tax. That money, alongside some additional grant funding, will be spent entirely on meeting the social care needs of our most vulnerable elderly residents, people with disabilities, children and families.
Alongside a further 0.99% increase in general Council Tax, we believe this will be amongst the lower overall increases in the country this year, amounting to around 60 pence per week for most households. Whilst there still remains a great deal of uncertainty about how Councils will be funded in the future, the budget we have set does give certainty about our local services over the coming 12 months.
Councillor Chris Read
Leader of Rotherham Borough Council