Council to meet tonight over budget changes

Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies
Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies

DONCASTER Council will meet tonight to discuss £610,000 of changes to Mayor Peter Davies’ £485 million budget.

At a previous meeting to discuss the proposed spending plan 80 per cent of councillors voted against the budget for 2012/13 saying some of the proposed cuts made the authority seem without a human side.

The drastic budget was drawn up in light of a £30 million cut in government cash, with plans to absorb £4.5 million of the shortfall through changing staff terms and conditions.

The council must also deal with a further £18 million government deficit next year and £17.5 million in 2014/15.

Labour group leader Sandra Holland called for minor changes to the budget to allow vital services to be maintained and give a human front to the authority.

She said: “We have some very difficult and challenging decisions to make.

“This budget needs to be set amongst an increased demand for child services and adult social care.

“We need to attract jobs but still have to plan for the future and that has to be reflected in the budget.”

She then put forward a six point plan, costing £610,000, to add to the budget which included support for libraries and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Councillors voted 44 to nine in favour of the new budget amendments, and Mr Davies and the council’s chief executive Jo Miller will now have time to research and edit the budget to include them.

However, the budget did outline plans to freeze council tax, school dinner costs and car parking charges until March 2013 to help tax payers struggling with the recession.

Outlining his plans Mr Davies said: “No one, including me, wants to see cuts in services and jobs.

“We must ensure the taxpayers’ hard earned money is spent in the town.”

The budget included changing the council’s procurement procedures and changing the recycling and waste schemes to save money, as well as increasing fees for council services such as burials and cremations.

The three main unions Unison, Unite and the GMB are currently balloting their members to see if they want to accept the proposed changes to their terms and conditions, which include reductions to overtime pay and car mileage payments cut.

The plans will next be discussed at the Mansion House from 6pm.