Labour councillors in Rotherham will present proposals and set the council’s budget for 2018/19 at today’s council meeting. This is another council budget that has been set against the backdrop of further Tory austerity. The impact of further reductions in the government grant given to Rotherham Council means that there are £15 million worth of cuts in 2018/19. The massive cuts in funding to local authorities comes at time when there is increasing demand for the services that local councils provide in their communities.
Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader of Rotherham Council, has said: “In these times of austerity imposed on local government by the Tory government, it is getting harder to protect services for the most vulnerable in society. We continue to get the best value for every pound spent in Rotherham but as each year goes by we have less funding for the services that we provide for our council tax payers.”
Since the 2010 Tory & Liberal Democrat Coalition Government, Rotherham Council has suffered massive cuts under austerity. By 2020, the total cuts to Rotherham will nearly reach £200 million. There have also been 1,800 jobs lost at the council since 2010 and for the 2018/19 budget there are cuts worth £15 million. This continued reduction in government for local authorities comes at a time when there is ever increasing demand for the services that council’s provide.
Despite the pressures of Tory austerity and the loss in funding, Rotherham Labour councillors are proposing policies to invest in the borough. This year will see the beginning of a major council house building programmein which the council, in partnership with Wates Construction, will be building brand new council houses across the borough. Between 2016-2020, Labour councillors have already committed to spending an extra £10 million in repairing Rotherham’s roads through our 2020 Roads Programme. For the 2018/19 council budget, Labour councillors are also committing £1 million to repair and improve pavements across Rotherham as well. This year’s budget will also ring-fence almost £1 million to introduce the kerbside collection of plasticsin the borough, a policy which received widespread support in a recent council consultation exercise on the future of the waste service.
The Tory government continue to pursue their ideologically driven economic agenda. Austerity is not an economic necessity, it is a political choice. It’s a choice to cut money from local government and to reduce funding for local councils. The massive cuts in funding to local authorities comes at time when there is increasing demand for council services, especially in children’s and adult social care. The Tories are overseeing a major funding crisis in local government and in the services that people depend on from their local council.