Delivering vital services, investing in the future and prudently managing the council’s finances are the driving forces behind Mayor Ros Jones’ latest budget proposals, which aim to make Doncaster a better place to live, learn, work and invest in.
Building on the solid foundations created over the last three years, the budget outlines how the council intends to support a growing economy, create new jobs, improve education and deliver new housing. It also continues the drive to deliver modern and efficient council services for children, older and vulnerable people, and in local communities.
Doncaster Council has ambitious plans for the future, with many initiatives and horizon changing projects already underway. Investing in the borough over the next four years to build upon the progress made is critical in Mayor Ros Jones’ proposals.
Major place changing projects include the masterplan to transform the town centre and national ground-breaking initiatives such as the National College for High Speed Rail, due to open this September.
Phase two of the Great Yorkshire Way to improve travel links will press ahead later this year and work is also expected to start on a similar link road scheme at Hatfield and Stainforth, to deliver regeneration in the east of the borough.
Ros said: “Doncaster’s skyline is changing and will continue to do so as we become the place to be for business and opportunity. We cannot take our eye off the future and the place we want to be so the right paced investment is critical.
“We’ve come a long way as a council and have delivered some impressive schemes and projects for local people without losing our strong financial grip and ensuring we are well run.
“It has not been easy and there have been tough decisions but at its heart is the foundation that this council lives within its means and does the best it can for local people, communities and businesses.
“I am determined to see this council grasp the exciting opportunities that we have ahead of us and harness our skills, experience, determination and ambition so Doncaster thrives. Despite the tough financial climate we are in, Doncaster has amazing initiatives and future that others envy.
“We are - through the consistent hard work of local people, businesses and partners - a borough that is going places with a strong voice to be heard.
“The council is continuing to change and we are thinking differently and encouraging everyone to play their part in our borough’s story.
“I am optimistic that these proposals will continue the positive start we have made although the financial pain of more government cuts will not go away, I am clear that this council deals with those effectively and we are in a strong position going forward.”
Mayor Ros Jones has also outlined how the council would meet the challenges of less money and more financial pressures when she set out her budget proposals for 2017/18.
Her approach to this was outlined last November when her proposals to balance the budget were unveiled.
The proposals are based upon bringing in reasonable income where the council can and sustained and realistic reductions to services whilst trying to protect frontline services where possible.
And in her proposals, the mayor has also made it clear that the ongoing challenges to reduce spending will continue up until 2021 with a further £43.3m needed to be found in reductions and efficiencies.
The proposals also include a 1% reduction in council house rents from April 2017 which is part of a national agreement.
The mayor’s proposals will be discussed at council on 2 March 2017.