Government cuts described as ‘barbaric’ as Doncaster Council budget is passed onto the next stage

Government cuts to Doncaster Council budget has been described as ‘barbaric’ by one councillor.

By George Torr
Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 4:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 4:12 pm
Doncaster Council cabinet meeting. Picture: George Torr
Doncaster Council cabinet meeting. Picture: George Torr

The comments by Conisbrough councillor Nigel Ball, came as Doncaster Council battles to get to grips with a budget deficit of over £21 million despite using £3 million from reserves. 

A reduction in Government grants, rising costs and an increase in demand for services are being blamed for the shortfall. 

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Figures show nearly all of the council’s budget deficit is down to adult and children’s services at £19.5 million.

Deputy mayor Glyn Jones told cabinet members at a meeting in Civic Office the council has lost around £272 million since the Conservative government took power in 2010. 

An increase of council tax of 4.99 per cent is set to raise £5.3 million. 

Deputy mayor Jones reiterated 76 full-time positions were under threat over the next two years but stated compulsory redundancies was an ‘absolute last resort’ and vowed to ‘protect front line services’. 

He added that deleting vacant posts would come first, then offer voluntary redundancies before redeployment to other departments. 

The council are awaiting two major reviews on how cash is distributed to local authorities. The Spending Review and the Fair Funding Review are set to take place this year. 

Conisbrough Coun Nigel Ball said: “We’re in the ninth year of these barbaric austerity cuts by this Tory government and what we’ve seen is Doncaster has managed to maintain its status as having the lowest council tax rates in South Yorkshire.

"These cuts from central government are hurting vulnerable people and communities but Doncaster is looking at this in a positive way and trying to maintain services to ensure that these groups are serviced appropriately.

“We need to recognise we are working against a national back drop of continued austerity from the Tories irrespective of what Theresa May said a few weeks’ back.”

Councillors will now vote on the budget proposals at a meeting of the full council on March 4.