AS A Lib Dem member for many years, I was delighted when Sheffield was chosen to be this year’s conference venue. I’ve always wanted to attend but the added cost of travel to another city, plus accommodation, prevented me from doing so. I am sure it’s the same for many more Sheffield residents.
I also thought it a fantastic opportunity for all Sheffield businesses, a real chance to improve revenue during this time of recession and a way to put Sheffield firmly on the map as a major city. Imagine my dismay at reading that it could cost up to £2 million to police the event, potentially negating potential benefits.
While fully agreeing with people’s rights to peacefully demonstrate, I do object to the potential disruption that would be caused, not by the genuine peaceful demonstrators but by the usual ‘rent-a-mob’ element.
These people should remember that all the delegates will have paid their hard-earned (and, in some cases, ill-afforded) money to attend, in the hope that they too can democratically discuss how to help the country and Sheffield move out of recession.
Let us hope that common sense prevails and that all the visitors can experience what a great and diverse place it is.
Mrs LJ, Sheffield
lib Dem Leader and local Sheffield MP Nick Clegg said: “I am proud that it will be the Liberal Democrats who will hold the first political conference of this scale in Sheffield.
“Approximately 1,500 delegates are expected. I know my colleagues will also enjoy discovering the city’s wonderful shops, bars and restaurants.
“The total value to the local economy is predicted to be in excess of £1 million.”
Coun Paul Scriven Lib Dem Leader of Sheffield City Council, added: “This is fantastic news for Sheffield. The conference will provide an immediate economic boost.”
So far so good, However!
As well as absorbing cuts, up to £2m will be spent policing the conference. A police spokesman said: “It was ‘ironic’ the force would have to pay for the service for the party who had a hand in devising the cuts. It could cost up to £2m...money that we can’t spend on policing.”
The force must save £40m by 2015. More than 1,100 police staff may be lost, including 100 police officers next year.
The police authority tried to create a balanced budget but it’s inevitable this emergency service would be affected.
Thanks to Lib Dem economics we have £1m coming in for the businesses of Sheffield at a cost of £2m to the council tax payers of the city and the region.
Once again the people of South Yorkshire are being Con/Dem-ed by Nick Clegg.
RM, Sheffield 20
Isn’t Clegg ashamed that he has to be surrounded at his conference by a cage? Have the decency to face up to the people of Sheffield and explain why you lied to us all.
Janey Ann Morris, Hallam