‘Austerity is not over!’ – Mayor Ros Jones announces job cuts and plans to increase Doncaster council tax by 4.99 per cent

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Plans have been drawn up to raise council tax in Doncaster by 4.99 per cent, Mayor Ros Jones has announced. 

The mayor, speaking at a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday (Jan 24) revealed the plans would be included in her budget proposals. 

The draft proposals could see 76 full time equivalent post reductions over the next two years.

The council has said it will initially look to delete vacant posts, then seek voluntary redundancy, then redeployment with compulsory redundancy being the ‘absolute last resort’.

Councillors from opposition parties will have the chance to submit amended budgets for consideration before a final vote in March. 

The plans include a 2.99 per cent rise with a two per cent increase to go directly on adult social care which is ring-fenced. Any proposed rise over 5.99 per cent has to be subject of a referendum. 

Mayor Jones hit out at the Government and said there had been ‘no let up’ on cuts to council budgets and said the policy was a ‘regressive’ system ‘benefiting wealthy areas’. 

The rises will boost council coffers by around £5.3 million but the local authority faces a budget deficit of £21 million for the 2019/2020 financial year. 

In real terms, residents living in band D households will see their bill go up by £1.23 and those in band A by 82p a week respectively.  

But as it stands Doncaster has the seventh lowest council tax in the country. 

“Mayor Jones said: There has been no let-up by the Conservative Government. Their continuing cuts to council budgets have left us with another significant budget gap.

So much for Theresa May saying that austerity is over, I can guarantee that austerity is certainly not over where local government is concerned.

“I am extremely disappointed at the Government's complete failure to deal with the national funding problems facing local authorities, particularly with regard to adult and children’s social care.

“Their answer, which is to under fund vital services and yet increase the financial burden on local taxpayers, is wrong. It places strain on to those who can least afford it, through a regressive tax system that benefits wealthy areas over places like Doncaster and South Yorkshire.

“Unfortunately Government policy on local authority funding means that Council Tax rises are assumed in order to sustain vital services.

“But council tax increases do not bridge the funding gap, far from it. So in Doncaster, like elsewhere, people will see their council tax rise as the Government squeeze on hard working families continues.”