Full Council has today (5 March) approved the 2020/21 council budget which outlines how the council plans to cover the costs for growing demands for services as well as providing investment in areas which need improvement.
The plans are ambitious and indicate how the council will meet an overall budget gap of £17.7 million over a three year period. A contribution towards the gap includes a council tax increase from April 2020 of 1.99% and a further 2% increase through the government’s social care precept. The adult social care precept will generate £2.2 million towards the pressures for adults, health and wellbeing. The overall increase equates to an additional 69p per week for Band A properties and £1.04 per week for Band D properties.
Doncaster will still have one of the lowest council tax rates in the country (11th lowest in 2019/20) and the lowest in South Yorkshire.
Mayor Ros Jones said: “We are still feeling the effects of a decade of austerity and in light of the economic, social and climate challenges we continue to face, it doesn’t get any easier to prepare a budget which invests in our future, protects the most vulnerable and maintains the services that matter most to our residents. I am disappointed that there is still so much uncertainty over future government funding and that we have been left with no choice but to apply the government’s 2% adult social care precept.
“This budget continues our ambitious approach to delivering services and supporting our borough and this year includes investment in street cleansing, grounds maintenance and enforcement services. This is in response to our recent community engagement exercise where people identified being a cleaner and greener borough as a key priority.
Despite challenging times, it is important that we remain focused on our borough’s ambitions. The capital budget that has been approved today includes over £300million of investment over the next four years for schemes that will further improve education, housing, infrastructure, retail, leisure and culture, as well as attracting investors and visitors to this great borough This investment includes completion of our new library and museum and the six screen cinema, both of which are set to open later this year. It also includes millions of pounds of investment in the council’s social housing stock which is the largest investment in housing in Doncaster for many years.”
The budget proposals are estimated to result in a reduction of full time equivalent posts in some services. This is estimated to be 86 for the council and 15 for the Children’s Trust over a three year period (58 in 2020/21, 19 in 2021/22 and 24 in 2022/23). To achieve the savings, the council will initially look to delete vacant posts, then seek volunteers, then redeployment with compulsory redundancy being the last resort. The budget also includes a total of £22.2 million of additional investment in services in 2020/21 and is therefore, likely to mean post reductions in some services are offset by additional posts in other areas.
The first council house rent increase in five years was also approved at the full council meeting. The 2.7% increase will equate to an average of £1.88 per week and is in line with the government’s policy on rents for social housing
The full budget reports including the housing revenue account budget are available to view at www.doncaster.gov.uk/budget
- Category: Council & democracy