Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Rotherham Council to get £5m children's services grant

Rotherham Town Hall Image copyright Google
Image caption It was revealed on Tuesday up to 300 jobs are to go at Rotherham council

Scandal-hit Rotherham council has been awarded a one-off £5m government grant for its children's services.

The money is to be spent on measures including more social workers from the new financial year.

Chris Read, council leader and Labour councillor, said: "It's a vote of confidence in the measures we are taking to improve services."

The budget for children's services is £42m from a current council budget of about £200m.

Sir Derek Myers, lead commissioner at the council, said the council's finances were "dire" and "squaring the circle" was difficult when the government was reducing its main grant.

He said the council needed to spend more on children's services and there were also pressures on adult social services.

'Devastating news'

The council has cut budgets by £117m since 2011-12 with a further £41m savings due to be made by 2019.

Mick Stowe, of Unison the union, said news of the extra grant to children's services was "more than welcome".

However, the further cuts would have a "major impact and is devastating news for public services and the individuals involved", he added.

It was revealed on Tuesday that up to 300 jobs are to go at the council.

Five commissioners have run the council since February after it was declared "not fit for purpose" in the wake of the town's child exploitation scandal.

They took control following the Casey Report's criticism of the council's response to child exploitation.

Sir Derek said the annual cost of the commissioners was about £200,000.

Rotherham was the centre of an abuse ring and last year the Jay Report found 1,400 children had been subjected to abuse.

The commissioners are due to remain in control of Rotherham Council until the end of March 2019.

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