Deputy PM’s claim is ‘in realms of fantasy’

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Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has accused Deputy Prime Minister and fellow Sheffield MP Nick Clegg of ‘carrying himself into the realms of fantasy’ by claiming the coalition Government has been good for the city.

Mr Clegg, Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, claimed he was ‘championing Sheffield’s corner’ in an interview with The Star about three years of the Coalition Government.

However Mr Blunkett, Labour MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, said: “I do hope that one day Mr Clegg will be able to claim credit for something that he has done.”

Mr Blunkett accused Mr Clegg of ‘trying to hijack previous government policy’ and ‘hiding the enormity of the government cutbacks’.

He said: “Not least the £220 million that is being reduced over four years from the Sheffield Council budget.

“That funding is about caring for older people, about libraries and leisure facilities, about basic community services, and neighbourhood funding.

“Mr Clegg claims the Coalition Government gave the go -ahead for the massive multimillion-pound program to restore our roads, draining and lighting system.

“In fact, this was given the go-ahead by the-then Labour Transport Secretary, prior to the General Election held in 2010.

“I am in favour of the pupil premium of extra funding for youngsters in school from deprived backgrounds.

“However, the pupil premium, so lauded by Mr Clegg, has been funded by cutting the rest of the schools budget.

“Mr Clegg also claims credit for high-speed rail, which is more than 20 years away, and electrification of the Midland Main Line.

“That has not yet happened.”