Blunkett: Job will be harder than 1980s

Heading for victory: Labour councillor Harry Harpham with David Blunkett.
Heading for victory: Labour councillor Harry Harpham with David Blunkett.
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SENIOR Labour figures have warned their party colleagues have a massive challenge ahead, as they prepare to take control of Sheffield Council.

Labour Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett said Coun Julie Dore would have to make worse cuts in the coming weeks than he did as council leader in the dark days of the 1980s Thatcher government.

He said: “They will be celebrating tonight but they will be having to make some very tough decisions in the morning.

“They will be much worse than the decisions we had to make in the 1980s.

“I think they will have to hold an emergency budget.”

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield accused the Liberal Democrats of putting off the most severe spending cuts with an eye on the election.

He told The Star today: “I’m delighted that the people of Sheffield have put their confidence in Labour and sent a message to Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats.

“But we must remember there are big challenges ahead.

“Sheffield, along with other northern cities, have received far larger cuts in comparison to councils like Dorset.

“In addition, the Liberal Democrats have put off many of the big decisions, on the assumption Labour would win and would have to make them later.”

And he dismissed as “outrageous” Lib Dem leader Paul Scriven’s claims that Labour had run a “negative campaign” which focused on “vilifying” party leader Nick Clegg.

Coun Scriven said: “Labour have run a very negative campaign that had vilified the leader of our party. What I’m not clear about is what Labour are going to do for this city.

“Sheffield people will look back and think, ‘we judged the Liberal Democrats too harshly in 2011’.”