£26m cuts revealed as mayor unveils tough Doncaster Council budget

500 jobs are expected to go at Doncaster Council as the authority looks to make savings of £26 million next year.

The bleak picture was revealed as the authority’s budget for the coming financial year was unveiled at the Mansion House today.

Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies

Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies

The budget was presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee (OSMC) who now have four weeks to look at it and make comments to cabinet on 6 February 2013. The proposals will then go to Full Council on 21 February for final approval.

Doncaster Council is proposing a Revenue Budget of £475million in 2013/14.

The council is proposing its third council tax freeze in a row, this is being made possible by saving money through making services more efficient.

It is a key part of the Mayor’s strategy to make Doncaster services better value for its citizens and half of the savings will be achieved through working more efficiently.

Peter Davies said: “While this is the start of the official approval procedure we have been working on this budget for many months already. Establishing and agreeing a budget in a political environment is a complicated and long drawn out process as it requires support from the majority of elected members.

“My officers and I have spent many hours working this through with the Labour group and I am confident we have reached a place where I am proposing a budget that is the best for the people of Doncaster in the current financial climate.

“We are now entering the third year of a tough initial four year financial settlement. We have to save £26million this year on top of the £68million we have already taken out of our budget in the last two years. The decisions we make get harder and harder each year as essentially we have already made the easiest savings. I was determined at the start of the process, and since the start of my period in office, that we should be doing our upmost to protect frontline service as much as we possibly can and I am again proposing that vital services are protected.

“The scale of the reductions derives from problems in the national economy, and was not created in Doncaster, but the council is determined to respond to the challenge and try to protect the interests of Doncaster residents. It requires a radical approach and determination in delivering change.

“We aim to continue to protect the interests of the most vulnerable, to maintain policies that will help the borough to thrive, to protect expenditure in areas where Doncaster services have not been good enough in the past, and to look for different ways of providing services which will make them sustainable beyond this budget period.”

He continued, “Setting the budget is not an easy process and there will never be 100% agreement however I believe this budget offers the best compromises for the people of Doncaster and goes a long way to protect vital services for those who need them most.

“Here in Doncaster we have protected essential services while cutting waste and bureaucracy within the council. Council tax remains one of the lowest in the country.

“We have made great progress despite difficult circumstances and I remain committed to improving the economy of the borough.”