Cashpot helps make Sheffield fair

Sheffield Fairness Commission report launch back in January
Sheffield Fairness Commission report launch back in January
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Funding has been announced for projects to help make Sheffield a fairer city - including increasing apprentices’ pay.

Other schemes include a study looking at how to improve access to affordable credit and reduce dependency on high-cost payday lenders.

The projects aim to help address concerns raised by a Fairness Commission set up by Sheffield Council to look at ways to bridge the divide between rich and poor residents, which gave its recommendations in January.

Ideas included a city-wide minimum Living Wage of £7.45 an hour, introduction of 20mph speed limits on residential roads, tackling the causes of ill health in poor communities, fair access to benefits and credit, and better crime prevention.

Projects announced by the council will use £250,000 of a £1m cashpot allocated to help implement the commission’s recommendations.

But no decision has been made on how to use the remaining £750,000.

Calls have been made by Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach Tony Minichiello for the unspent cash to be used to give Don Valley Stadium another year, while time is spent looking at how to reduce the venue’s subsidy.

Sheffield Council leader, Coun Julie Dore, said: “We are putting our money where our mouth is and giving a full commitment to help change people’s lives for the better.”

Sheffield Council has now announced £200,000 will be spent on increasing the pay of apprentices on council-funded schemes by 15 per cent.

A further £36,000 will be used to change advice services so neighbourhood centres are reorganised to be run by a ‘single streamlined provider’ - meaning improved advice and service.

The council is also spending £25,000 on communication with the public about changes to the welfare system and benefits.

And a further £5,000 will be used for a study to look at the size and type of the market for affordable credit.

Professor Alan Walker, chairman of the Fairness Commission, said: “On behalf of the commission, I am delighted to welcome, in the warmest terms, the fantastic response made by the city council.”

Mr Minichiello said: “The unspent money could keep Don Valley Stadium open for another year while Richard Caborn works out plans for the Don Valley sports facilities. It could also fund further improvements to Woodbourn Road athletics track.”