Young hit hard by £15 million council budget cuts

COUNCIL bosses pledged to prioritise adult and children’s social care as £15 million budget savings were published.

But Rotherham’s youngest will bear the brunt of cuts as £350,000 will be withdrawn from youth clubs and children’s centres over the next two years and Rotherham Youth Enterprise will be scaled back.

The gap for the coming year will take the total shortfall in Government funding to £177 million since 2010.

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Adult social care will be helped by a ring-fenced council tax levy and investment is set to continue to improve children’s services, rated good by Ofsted last month.

Non-essential maintenance of country parks will be suspended to save nearly £100,000 and RiDO - the council’s regeneration arm - must reduce its budget by £133,000 for 2018/19.

There will also be the loss of about 83 full-time equivalent posts over two years, on top of 1,800 council jobs lost since 2010.

Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “This is the most difficult budget year that many of us have ever known. We are doing all that we can to protect valuable local services.

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“Like most other councils, we need to meet the growing need for social care, which already accounts for about two-thirds of the council’s budget, and after eight years of cuts in government funding there are no easy answers.”

Planned capital projects include £1 million on improving worn out and broken pavements and £61,000 investment in new bins and street-cleaning kit.

A further £838,000 will be spent on creating more school places for children with special educational needs.

The council must contribute £1.4 million to the £4.6 million project increasing capacity at the College Road roundabout, still known by many as the old B&Q site.

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Council reserves stood at £57 million last March - mostly ring-fenced to services like housing - and the budget allowed for £10.45 million to be used this year.

Another £6 million could be taken out in 2018/19 - after which the plan is to replenish reserves by £3 million per annum.

The budget proposals will be presented to Cabinet members on February 19.