Doncaster mayor and deputy’s ‘sleepless nights’ over cuts follows call for Government action

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Doncaster mayor Ros Jones and deputy mayor Glyn Jones have described ‘sleepless nights’ over the ‘difficult decisions’ that have been made through cuts.

Mayor Jones said the council had lost out around over £100 million a year since 2010 in Government grants.

But the main financial pressure is said to be the growing demand and a fall in resources for both adult and children social care.

The mayor said this  has resulted in more than half of Doncaster’s entire revenue budget being spent in these areas.

She admitted councils across the country were in similar positions where residents were asked to provide more money in council tax hikes while receiving less in return.

The mayor reiterated the council needs to present a ‘balanced budget’ but called on the Government to help councils tackling pressures caring for the ‘most vulnerable in society’.

“There’ some things that are needed to be funded nationally and adult and children’s social care are the areas that need real help because these are the people who are the most vulnerable in our society.

“Over 50 per cent of the council’s revenue budgets is spent on adults and children.”

Deputy mayor Glyn Jones added: “The position we’re in, it’s not a brilliant position but we’re better than most is because we took some really hard and personally difficult decisions some years ago and we had a lot of sleepless nights over that.

“Sometimes you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.”

Mayor Jones added: “We did have sleepless nights but what we realised is we’ve got to look at differing ways of delivering a service - using adults as one example, most people want to spend their lives within their own homes and environments.

“We’ve got to present a balanced budget and our challenge will always be there about funding.”

Doncaster Council made the unusual step of not increasing council tax to the maximum of 5.99 per cent.

Mayor Jones said because over 70 per cent of homes fall into council tax bands A and B, a one per cent increase only generates £1 million.

“We did the sums and we balanced it on people who were already struggling with payments. Of course we would of liked the money but at the same time we’d like that money to come from central government,” she said.

“We’re asking them for more money but at the same time we’re cutting services. They pay more and get less - we say that is because we have 60 per cent less in Government grants by 2020.

“We do what we do within the envelope that we’ve got.”