Labour councillors have unveiled full details of a balanced budget for Sheffield City Council, as well as a string of new spending commitments.
Since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government formed in 2010 Sheffield City Council has faced cuts and financial pressures amounting £475 million. This is a huge 50% of the council’s budget.
There is rising demand in social care services nationally, and councils across the country are struggling to cope. Sheffield is no different, but due to well managed financial planning the Council has a balanced budget – meaning reserves do not have to be used.
As well as providing a balanced budget Labour councillors have put forward urgent and new spending plans to help the city through some of the biggest issues it has faced for years – the social care crisis, community safety and the climate emergency.
The Council is committed to funding for social care with funding increases of £53 million from £198 million in 2017/18 to £251 million in 2020/21, enhancing the major principle of Labour councillors of looking after the most vulnerable in our city.
Thousands of people who live and work in Sheffield have also recently told the council what they think about the city, and what needs to improve, through the Big City Conversation and Labour councillors have responded with urgent new spending commitments.
Some of the new measures outlined included 2.5 million for an enhanced neighbourhood service to tackle fly-tipping, graffit and dealing with anti-social behaviour. This will see community wardens to give a visible presence to our communities and to help the police.
The city’s roads are also set to become safer with an extra £4 million into road safety measures.
Speaking about the Sheffield City council’s budget, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Terry Fox said:
“Sheffield has borne the brunt of austerity for the last ten years, and it’s certainly not over. The impact on all public services has been huge, but local councils have faced the deepest and most sustained cuts. We have seen significant structural underfunding of our core work, in particular adult social care, for a decade. We have been forced to make many difficult choices.
“Despite all this, we are determined to set a Sheffield budget that fits with our values and supports preventative interventions to keep people healthy, and have identified a further £53 million to invest in social care.
“It’s also a budget which puts the climate emergency at its core – with nearly £27 million to keep the city safe from flooding, and £15 million spent on greening the city’s transport with more walking routes, segregated cycle lanes and bus lanes. Sadly we have no direct control over the city’s buses but we can help them get moving by trying to free up congestion.
“We have also been speaking with Sheffield residents throughout the city during the Big City Conversation, and it is clear that communities are concerned about safety and how clean their streets are. This is why we have announced an extra £2.5 million for an enhanced neighbourhood service to tackle things like fly-tipping and dealing with anti-social behaviour. This will see community wardens to give a visible presence to our communities and to help the police.
“But our budget is not just about tackling the effects of crime but working proactively to stop it at its source – by investing £2 million extra for Young People’s services.
“I’m also pleased to announce that all of the city’s community libraries will get a funding boost, as well as increased efforts to boost our local high streets.
“Despite government cutting us to the bone we’ve shown it’s possible to make a bold budget which helps the city grapple with some of the biggest issues it has ever faced”.