The budget is ‘fair deal’ says Cabinet

Rotherham Council has said strong financial management and tight spending controls will be needed if it is to do the best it can for local people.

That was the message from council leaders when members of the Cabinet recommended this year’s budget proposals to be put before next month’s full council meeting.

Cabinet members heard significant reductions in Government funding together with changes to the welfare system mean that Rotherham faces a budget gap of £20.2 million in the coming financial year.

The authority said this had resulted in ‘difficult decisions and hard choices’ in deciding how the budget of £221.474 million will be spent.

The budget priorities include continuing to make the safeguarding of children a top priority, promoting new business start-ups and continuing to invest in infrastructure, such as houses, schools and roads.

Council leader Roger Stone, said the budget had been achieved through the continuation of the ‘calm and measured’ approach, which has been the authority’s strategy over the past four years.

He said: “It is a huge on-going challenge but we have identified what is most important to our communities and have been reducing our back office functions over a number of years. “

“Our workforce has been reduced by over 1,000 people in the last two years alone and that includes an overall reduction in management of over 19 per cent.”

Coun Stone thanked staff for their hard work despite ongoing uncertainty and three-year pay freeze.

He added: “It is not going to be easy but we believe Rotherham has a long history of innovation in the face of adversity and challenge and this will continue.”

“We will continue to maintain high level services to those who need them most but will obviously continue to review all aspects of our work in an effort to be as efficient as possible.”