This week, Rotherham Council has announced possible proposals for it’s 2018/19 budget that will have to be set against a backdrop of further budget cuts from years of continuing Tory austerity. Residents are being sought to give their views on the 2018/19 budget which proposes to save £15 million in the next financial year.

Since 2010, when the Tories were propped up by the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government, Rotherham Council has been continually hit by austerity and further budget cuts.

Councillor Chris Read, Labour Leader of Rotherham MBC, has said:

Cllr Chris Read, Labour Leader of Rotherham MBC

We’re setting out detailed proposals for the council’s budget in 2018/19 and want to give residents the chance to comment on, challenge them and contribute other ideas.

Residents will understand that the government has cut grant funding to the council each and every year for the last eight years. The council employs 1,800 fewer people than it did in 2010, and the funding gap we’ve faced in Rotherham since then will reach almost £200 million within the next two years.

At the same time, like councils up and down the country, we are seeing particular budget pressures relating to social care services. Most councils are now overspending their planned budgets in these areas. This is the most difficult budget year that most of us have ever known.

Over the next two years we’ve got to find savings of £31 million. We remain committed to prioritising social care, and in Children’s Services in particular, to ensure that we put our most vulnerable residents first.

We are also investing in the jobs and homes that Rotherham people need, because it’s the right thing to do, and because it helps to reduce costs and supports the council’s income. Without this, we won’t be able to continue to fund the public services that people depend on in the future. But it does mean that other difficult decisions about how services are delivered, council tax, as well and the fees and charges the council levies cannot be avoided.”

Within the next two years, the total amount in the funding gap to Rotherham Council as a result of Tory austerity will come to almost £200 million. Over the past 7 years, the council has had to make savings of £162 million and reduced it’s workforce by over 1,800 staff. These cuts from the Tory Government pose a significant funding crisis for local authorities across the UK. Many council’s are facing increased demand on their most crucial services, such as children’s or adult social care, at the same time as struggling with massively reduced funding.

In the recent 2017 General Election, the Labour Party offered a radical economic alternative for the country and vowed to end austerity. Labour’s manifesto made key commitments to investing in society, properly funding our public services and supporting local government as well.

Residents across the borough can make their views known on the proposals for Rotherham’s 2018/19 budget through the consultation process that will end on 4 January 2018.

More information about the proposals announced in the Rotherham Council 2018/19 budget can be found here. The formal consultation on Rotherham Council’s 2018/19 budget can also be accessed online here.

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