Cuts to Sheffield funding ‘confirm worst’

Coun Ben Curran
Coun Ben Curran
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Every household in Sheffield will be more than £106 worse off in the next financial year following cuts to public services.

Sheffield Council’s spending power was reduced by 4.7 per cent – way above the national average of 2.9 per cent – in the Government’s mid-term finance settlement for 2014-2015 announced yesterday.

Sheffield will now suffer a £34.5 million reduction for next year and a £45 million reduction the year after.

That means that, for every home, the local authority has £2,124.72 of grants to spend on public services such as health and education - £105.93 less than in 2013-2014.

Sheffield is one of the worst-hit councils in the whole of Yorkshire, second only to Scarborough which faces a 5.3 per cent cut.

In Doncaster spending power will be cut by 4.2 per cent, while the figure in Barnsley is 3.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent for Rotherham.

For city bosses, the statement confirmed their worst fears that they will lose over 50 per cent of central Government funding by 2015-16.

Coun Ben Curran, Sheffield Council cabinet member for finance, said: “We had planned for the worst and that is exactly what the Government have announced.

“We have been prudently making our budget preparations to the worst possible outcome, and that’s what the Government have delivered.

“For the past three years we have had £180 million of cuts, while at the same time some of the wealthiest areas of the country receive almost no cuts at all.

“What we needed from this settlement was a charge of direction, but instead we are just seeing more of the same.”

But opposition leaders the Liberal Democrats say Sheffield has fared better compared with councils in richer parts of the country.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “It is better than many Labour politicians in the Town Hall had been planning for.

“Quite rightly Sheffield will continue to receive much greater support than other more affluent areas in the south.”