COUNCIL BUDGET 2017/18: £86 to be cut for every man, woman and child in Doncaster

The details have been released as part of the draft budget for the 2017/18 financial year, during which Doncaster Council needs to cut 26million from its already stretched budget.
The details have been released as part of the draft budget for the 2017/18 financial year, during which Doncaster Council needs to cut 26million from its already stretched budget.

Doncaster residents are set to feel the pinch once more, as the local authority prepares to increase council tax by 3.9 per cent and cut 90 council posts in a bid to make £26m of savings.

The details have been released as part of the draft budget for the 2017/18 financial year, during which Doncaster Council needs to cut £26million from its already stretched budget.

This equates to savings of £86 that need to be made for every man, woman and child in the borough.

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Exclusive: Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones on £26m cuts budget for 2017/18

The council says the £26million gap in its budget has been caused by 'Government grant cuts, rising demand and inflation'.

Draft budget documents, which are due to be voted on by Doncaster Council next March, propose a council tax rise of 1.9 per cent.

This is in addition to a two per cent 'levy' on Council Tax from the Government, all the money from which will be used for adult social care.

Combined, this adds up to a 3.9 per cent on the amount of council tax currently paid by residents across the borough.

As context, Doncaster Council spends around £130million every year on adult social care and the new ‘levy’ will raise just under £2million.

Commenting on the council tax rise, Mayor Jones said: "The actions of successive Governments have left us with little choice but to put Council Tax up. I was particularly disappointed that in the Autumn statement the Chancellor did not deal with the pressing issues facing NHS and social care funding, choosing instead to pass this burden on to local council tax payers.”

Doncaster residents currently pay the ninth lowest Council Tax in the country, when compared to other metropolitan districts and unitary councils. Under the draft proposals, the total council tax bill for a Band A property would rise by just under £32 per year or 61p a week in 2017/18.

Mayor Jones told the Free Press the council is expecting to cut 90 posts over the next financial year in a bid to make the multi-million pound savings, some of which she says will be done through early retirement.

She said: "What we always do is seek to get people that go onto early retirement before we look for compulsory redundancies. And to put that in context, so far this year we've only had to have 14 go on compulsory redundancy and the same on last year."

The £26million of cuts set for the next financial year will be in addition to the £109million of savings made from April 2014 through to April next year.

The council says this has been done through what the council describes as 'major efficiency savings and the modernisation of council services'.

Mayor Ros Jones said of the latest budget proposals: “We may have had a change of Government, but I am afraid this has not changed the overall situation we face.

"There is no let up in Government cuts to council budgets, despite the very clear evidence we all see daily of rising prices and increasing demand for services.

“Over the next four years, this means Doncaster Council will need to meet a further annual budget gap rising to £70million in 2020/21. When you consider we have already taken over £200million out of our annual revenue budget since the Government austerity measures began, this makes the task in hand even more challenging.

“It certainly doesn’t get easier to produce a budget which invests in our future but protects the most vulnerable and the services that matter most for local people. However, that remains our focus and the success of our financial planning over the past few years means we are in a stronger position than many other local authorities to deliver a budget which gets the balance right.

“By taking an innovative, prudent and robust approach, we have managed to minimise the impact of these cuts on local residents, whilst focusing on our goals of delivering efficient and effective public services, supporting our most vulnerable residents and creating the right conditions to drive new jobs, economic growth and housing. I am determined that we will continue this approach for the benefit of Doncaster.”