Full Council has today (4 March) approved the 2019/20 council budget for Doncaster.
Through prudent financial planning, the council set out plans to meet the budget gap of £21 million in 2019/20. However, due to austerity measures from the government and uncertainty, more work needs to be done to prepare the 2020/21 budget which is currently forecasting a further gap of £13 million taking into account the impact of using one-off reserves in 2019/20.
Each year the council has seen government cuts to the revenue budget, rising demand for services and an increase in costs but still continues to support vulnerable people, to invest in the borough and protect jobs wherever possible.
Along with the budget proposals an increase in council tax of 2.99% in 2019/20 was approved and a further 2% increase through the government’s social care ‘precept’, which contributes towards the pressures in Adults Social Care. These will generate £5.3m to help meet the budget gap. The overall increase equates to an additional 82p per week for Band A and £1.23 per week for Band D. Doncaster will still have one of the lowest council taxes in councils of our size in the country (7th lowest in 2018/19) and the lowest in South Yorkshire.
Mayor Ros Jones said:
“The government continues to cut our funding with no plans for the future. Doncaster has been hard hit and it is beyond belief that there is no firm plan for the sustainability of local government finances post 2020. It’s all well and good having individual funding streams and one off pots of money that we can bid for but it’s no way to run public services.
“Despite this ever increasing tough financial climate, Doncaster has a promising future with many major projects underway that will help to grow Doncaster out of austerity and attract investors and visitors to the borough.”
Doncaster will see £323m of capital funding for projects over the next four years, to stimulate growth and prosperity for the whole borough. This includes major schemes to further improve education, housing, infrastructure, retail, leisure and culture.
The Herten Triangle development at Lakeside is one of the major capital projects and will create new jobs and improve Doncaster’s leisure offer. Five brand new restaurants and three drive-thru units will be available for residents and visitors to enjoy this spring. This bold innovative plan will allow the council, as land owners, to receive additional income from rents and business rates and will help to support the council financially for the future.
Other projects outlined in the capital budget report include the new library and museum located near Waterdale which will be Doncaster’s home for library, arts and museum services. This iconic new building will be completed in summer 2020 providing a popular destination to be enjoyed by residents, businesses and visitors.
The DN7 Hatfield link road will see £11.9 million of investment in 2019/20 and £12.7m across the four year programme. This 3km of new road from J5 M18 will support the Unity Project, a grand masterplan to transform brownfield land into a sustainable new community. New shops, green open spaces and a marina will be created along with delivering over 9,000 jobs and building up to 3,100 new homes.
In addition, the Housing Revenue Account has been approved which includes a 1% decrease in council house rents as part of a nationally agreed approach.
The budget reports are available to view at www.doncaster.gov.uk/budget
- Category: Council & democracy