Extra money for “Children’s Services and support for victims and survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation.” Street cleaning and road maintenance. Cuts in councillor allowances and the civic budget and an end to Stone’s infamous pet project with Dolly Parton.
All sounds reasonable on the face of it. But would seem even better if this really was a new start with a totally new council working with the “commissioners”. For some reason I only feel despondent about the prospect as it stands.
“Labour’s council budget proposals will drive change in Rotherham, according to the new Labour Group Leader.
The proposals for the council’s main revenue account for the 2015/16 financial year include a significant extra investment in Children’s Services and support for victims and survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation. This will be funded in part by a small council tax rise, equivalent to 31 pence per week for the typical Rotherham household.
Households on low incomes will continue to be protected by the same Council Tax Reduction Scheme as has been in place for the last two years.
An additional £200,000 will go towards additional street cleansing resources to tackle litter and weeds.
At the same time, the capital budget proposals would see an extra £5 million allocated to roads maintenance – doubling the council’s current routine road maintenance commitment.
The council is facing a spending gap as a result of government spending costs of around £23 million, and Labour is continuing to propose to save more than £200,000 from cutting councillor allowances, the civic budget, and the car used by a former leader.
An additional £400,000 will be saved over the next two years by bringing an end of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library scheme – with families being encouraged to use the national BookStart scheme instead.
Cllr Chris Read, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“This is the next stage in bringing change to Rotherham council. We continue to face big cuts to council budgets made by the Tory-led government, but we have been listening carefully to the views of local residents. We are making good on our commitment to bolster and improve Children’s Services after the Jay and Casey Reports, and to provide stable funding for the long term support that victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation need.”
“We have heard directly the concerns of residents about littering and the state of the roads, so these areas will also see additional investment. I’m particularly pleased that because of the decisions we are proposing, there should be no net job losses at the council as a result of these proposals.”
Additional investment in Children’s Services is broken down into three headings: £234,000 for the development of outreach youth work based provision to engage with young people at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation, £390,000 for additional social workers to make sure children at risk are seen by Children’s Services as quickly as possible, and £200,000 additional support for Child Sexual Exploitation victims and survivors (a total of £824,000)
Additional investment in street cleansing should see additional weed removal and prevention, the creation of a third “rapid response” team to deal with reports of overflowing bins, dog fouling etc, and additional resources for neighbourhood-based teams.”