Labour and Mayor in budget dispute

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

Doncaster’s Labour councillors have announced their plans to amend the Mayor’s budget for the next 12 months, in order to secure a better deal for older people in the borough.

Their amendments include protecting OAPs who use day care services from soaring costs in the Mayor’s budget, and reducing Peter Davies’ hike in the pendant alarm service used to keep residents safe in their homes.

But the Mayor says he will ‘take the wind out of their sails’ by proposing not to go ahead with some of the suggested cuts.

Coun Ros Jones, Labour’s Mayoral candidate, said: “It is totally unfair of Peter Davies to allow our elderly residents to shoulder the burden of the Tory-led Government’s cuts. I want a fairer deal for our older citizens.”

In the February 21 budget-setting meeting, Coun Jones and her Labour colleagues will demand the Mayor reduces his planned 53 per cent increase in day care charges to just a 10 per cent rise – meaning users will pay only a small increase from £9.80 to £10.80 rather than seeing costs sky-rocket to as much as £20 under Mr Davies’ plan.

Mr Davies’ proposal to introduce a flat rate transport charge to the adult day care venues of £5 per day will also be met with opposition, with Labour councillors lobbying for it to be reduced to £2.

Labour plans to further protect vulnerable older people by insisting that the cost of the home alarm pendant service for the elderly sees no increase in cost this year.

Mr Davies said yesterday: “I’m not clear why she is passing comment on my budget when I’ve not even announced it.

“However, she may find that I’ve done better than her proposals and as usual Labour, even in these fraught financial times, is not best qualified to handle public money. The fact is two of these hikes I’ve got rid of all together.”

Coun Jones added: “The country is on the edge of a triple dip recession, heating bills are soaring and the cost of living is going through the roof under this Tory Government. The Mayor is happy to pass on these cuts to OAPs, but Labour will to stand up for elderly residents.”

The Labour group say their amendments would be funded from the ongoing contingency budget and have been checked by council officers to ensure they are workable as part of the council’s financial plan.