3.5 per cent tax rise will help fund Rotherham Council's ‘family friendly’ budget

Leader Cllr Chris Read (right) with RMBC staff working on a neighbourhood improvement projectLeader Cllr Chris Read (right) with RMBC staff working on a neighbourhood improvement project
Leader Cllr Chris Read (right) with RMBC staff working on a neighbourhood improvement project
“BABY packs” will be given to all newborn children in Rotherham, under RMBC’s budget plans – which include a 3.5 per cent council tax rise.

The authority will set aside £360,000 a year to provide all the borough’s 2,700 new babies with kits including the likes of thermometers, muslin cloths, towels and nappy vouchers.

A £900,000 investment will repair and refresh Clifton Park’s leaky Watersplash play area, in what Rotherham Council is calling its “family friendly” budget for 2024/25.

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Proposals also include £370,000 a year for extra youth work and early help services, which follows the Advertiser’s recent coverage about two of the four projects with Barnardo’s being brought in-house.

There will also be a £165,000 contribution towards the new SEND Hub in the Eric Manns Building – revealed in last week’s paper – and more than £900,000 for upgrades of eight children’s play areas, including at Thrybergh and Rother Valley country parks.

RMBC leader Cllr Chris Read said: “We have to make responsible decisions at a time when councils across the country are laying off staff and having to make cuts to services.

“But because of the difficult choices we have made over the last few years, we are able to bring forward budget proposals that put the needs of Rotherham’s families first.

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“Too many children in our borough are going without, and too many parents are struggling to make ends meet.”

There will be a £7.5 million uplift to help meet the ever-rising cost of adult social care, while £5.5 million will go towards flood defences – completing schemes at Whiston Brook and Laughton Common.

Other proposals include £16 million over four years for road and pavement improvements, £1.3 million on streetlights and £366,000 a year for additional street-cleaning, which will prioritise Wath, Swinton, Dinnington, Maltby and Rotherham town centre.

The tax increase is made up of a 1.5 per cent basic rise plus a further two per cent on the government’s adult social care levy.

The budget proposals go before the scrutiny board on February 7 and cabinet on February 12 before final approval by full council on February 28.