Rotherham to raise taxes in bid to plug funding gap

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ROTHERHAM council tax payers are likely to see the first rise in their bills for four years as the authority faces a £23m funding gap in its finances for the coming year.

Budget plans to be considered by senior councillors next week include proposals to cut £7m from the authority’s neighbourhoods and adult services budget and £3m from spending on children and young people.

Rotherham Council’s cabinet will also be recommended to put a 1.9 per cent increase in the council tax to the full council for its approval.

If agreed, it would take Rotherham’s share of the bill for a band D property in the town to £1,253.54.

Rotherham is the latest council to unveil tax rises and spending cut as authorities across the region set out plans to cope with falling Government grants.

Doncaster Council yesterday approved executive mayor Ros Jones’s budget plans which will see spending cut by £38m this year and by £109m over three years.

She said: “The council has taken some of the toughest decisions in its 40-year history. We have been put in this difficult financial position by the Government’s austerity measures. The stark reality is that this will be felt by the people of Doncaster.

“I asked council to support my plans to strategically tackle the financial challenges we face. This three year plan will give us some stability in what are rocky times for local councils, particularly those in the North.”

The council is expected to approve a 1.95 per cent increase in its council tax bills at a meeting next month.

Conservative councillors in Wakefield have published proposals to freeze the council tax at current levels through a range of measures including cuts to council scrutiny committees, neighbourhood funds and culture grants.

The Labour-run council is proposing a two per cent increase alongside savings worth £23m.

Bradford Council was last night considering budget plans to save £38m in the coming year and proposals to raise the council tax by 1.6 per cent in each of the next two years.