"We're still feeling the effects of austerity" - Doncaster mayor criticises government for 'underfunding' councils
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has criticised central government for ‘continuing to underfund councils’ and said the local authority has ‘no choice’ but to raise taxes and slash millions from its budget.
Councillors on Mayor Jones’s cabinet heard how the authority must find £17.7 million in savings by 2023 along with a council tax rise of 3.99 per cent - two per cent ring fenced for adult social care - in order to try and balance the books.
But the mayor said this only raises £4.6 million and further savings will need to be made.
Cabinet members lined up to hit out at the Government over continued austerity and the delay in the review on how adult social care will be funded in future.
Deputy mayor Coun Glyn Jones called the latest round of cuts ‘deplorable’ against the message from Number 10 Downing Street that ‘austerity was over’.
Council tax rises equate to a 69 pence per week increase for a band A property and £1.04 for a home within band D.
The mayor stressed that despite the rise, Doncaster will continue to have one of the lowest council tax rates for its size in the country and the lowest in South Yorkshire.
Mayor Jones did say that extra resources would be invested in street cleaning services with new equipment and more staff following demands in a public consultation.
“The Prime Minister and this Conservative government continues to underfund councils and have left us with another significant budget gap which we have had to meet," Mayor Jones told cabinet.
“The journey ahead is still challenging with ambitious savings that need to be achieved to meet a gap of £17.7 million over a three year period.
“We will protect frontline jobs where we can, protect the vulnerable and wherever possible, continue with the services that matter the most to our residents.
“We’re still feeling the effects of austerity - we still face more uncertainty hence we need to remain focused. We have made difficult decisions about what services we can fund whilst continuing to protect vulnerable people.”