This week, Labour councillors have published our plans for the council’s 2020/21 budget with a number of proposals that will help build a better borough. From investment in tackling potholes, cleaner streets and investment in every library, this budget lays out our positive vision for Rotherham.
Under Tory austerity, Rotherham Council has suffered £200 million of funding cuts from central government since 2010. Nearly 2,000 jobs have been lost at the council as a result. Despite these challenges, Labour councillors have been able to put together a comprehensive budget for the financial year ahead with some key commitments for our borough.
Our budget proposals include a £1.7 million package of investment in Streetpride services. This will be used for funding an annual cleaning of our main roads and weed removal and it will help see a major replacement programme for our public litter bins.
We also plan to end our dependence on agency staff by funding the recruitment of seasonal staff on permanent contracts, and we will use new equipment and technology to support our neighbourhood based teams. We will also fund the opening of the borough’s four household waste recycling centres seven days a week, rather than the six days they open at present to give residents more opportunity and chance to use these centres.
Improving our roads
Our budget will also see additional significant investment in improving our roads and tackling potholes. We recently announced that we’re committing £24 million to road resurfacing and we aim to halve the number of potholes. Under the current 2020 Roads Programme, hundreds of roads right across Rotherham have been resurfaced, and the number of potholes has already been reduced by a third.
However, we want to take this work further and continue to improve the condition of our roads across Rotherham. This additional investment will see the doubling of the amount that is currently spent on our roads over the next four years.
Investment in every library
Our budget proposals also include a comprehensive programme of investment in every library in the borough. This is part our recently announced new library strategy and we are committing to a £7 million package of investment in Rotherham’s libraries.
Under this strategy, we are also seeking a new town centre library to be built over the next four years as well. We know residents highly rate their local libraries and our budget will ensure all 15 libraries in the borough receive investment in them – from new public computers and IT equipment, information screens and signage, moveable shelving, better public toilets and refreshment areas.
Cllr Chris Read, Labour Leader of Rotherham Council, has spoken about our budget proposals and said:
“Despite the on-going financial pressures, because of the tough choices we made last year we are now able to respond to some of the concerns that residents have put to us. So we are proposing more funding for Streetpride services that benefit all our communities, more weed clearing, and making sure our operatives have the equipment that they need.
“We continue to propose major capital investments to improve the borough’s roads, and to invest in all our libraries. And we are now in a position to propose some additional funding for more youth work across the borough, engaging our young people and keeping them away from harm.”
Other commitments for Rotherham
Our budget proposals also involve a number of other commitments, from extra funding in youth work services, investment in adult services, protecting three key Rotherham bus services and tackling noise nuisance anti-social behaviour. These commitments include:
- £70,000 for additional outreach youth work, funding street-based youth work in every part of the borough to engage more young people
- We’re committing an additional £10 million to social care above what had previously been planned to make sure we’re meeting the needs of vulnerable residents
- £100,000 to provide a seven nights a week noise nuisance service to tackle anti-social behaviour
- £100,000 to fund additional Customer Services staff to help reduce telephone and face-to-face waiting times for residents contacting the Council
- £233,000 to forego a planned reduction in the Council’s contribution to the SYPTE levy, to help to protect three key bus routes in the borough
- A £254,000 capital investment in Herringthorpe athletics track to undertake essential works and prevent closure of the facilities
These budget proposals offer a wide range of comprehensive and positive plans that will help us build a better borough – from more street cleaning, improving our roads, investing in our libraries and so much more. This is our vision for Rotherham with a Labour council and we’re determined to implement these positive plans for our residents.
The budget proposals for financial year 2020/21 will be discussed at the Council’s Cabinet meeting to be held on Monday 17 February and you can find it here. The final decision on the budget will be made by councillors at the Council Meeting to be held on Wednesday 26 February.