How much more cutting can our councils take? If you listen to our leaders, the answer is no more.
In Sheffield the impact of the spending review will mean that a further £25m in real terms will be cut from the budget, taking the swingeing reductions over a five-year period to £250m. Last year council leader Julie Dore predicted that round of cuts would herald “the end of the council as we know it”. The cupboard would be left bare. Today, she predicts that council spending will be limited to only the services they have to deliver by law. That would mean massive cuts to theatres, sports arenas, leisure facilities, libraries, recycling, you name it, it will be affected. And that is not even taking into consideration voluntary organisations. That leaves us wondering just where the idea of the Big Society has gone. It was believed that the voluntary sector would be able to fill the gap in a rebirth of community spirit in this country. But if the cuts will be as widespread as Cllr Dore is predicting then the capacity to provide that support will be badly affected. There will be accusations that Labour are scaremongering. Cllr Dore’s credibility will be on the line if that is the case. The alternative, however, is equally unpalatable.
City is home of football
We all know Sheffield is the true home of football and a festival is now under way which celebrates that fact. Tv historian Michael Wood presented medals at the event at Hallam FC’s Sandygate ground which officially launched the Home of Football inititaive. It is long overdue because the modern game is rooted in Sheffield. We have the world’s oldest team and the rules of the game were fashioned here. It is important the world knows this, particularly as this is the 125th anniversary of the Football League. So it is appropriate for lottery money to be used to fund the initiative because Sheffield deserves more for having given the world its most popular game.