Labour fight back over budget cuts

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LABOUR councillors have hit back after criticism for not revealing how they would make £80 million cuts if the party ran Sheffield Council.

Ruling Liberal Democrats have told what services they plan to protect, how many jobs they will axe and said they will save £10m by freezing incremental pay rises. Full details of their budget will be revealed next week.

But Labour could defeat the Lib Dems - the largest party but without a majority - and have their own budget approved next month if they obtain support from the three minority party councillors.

Leader Coun Paul Scriven has criticised Labour for not revealing their alternative policies and challenged them over whether they would support the increment freeze which he claims will save up to 300 jobs.

A total of 731 jobs are being axed - 300 voluntary redundancies have been made with a further 270 redundancies to come in 2011/12 and 161 posts have been left unfilled.

Labour leader Coun Julie Dore said: “Instead of focusing their attention on setting a responsible budget for Sheffield people, the Lib Dems are focusing on spinning stories. That’s an appalling way to behave.

“It’s absolutely vital that the Lib Dems stop playing politics with the budget and start behaving like a responsible administration.

“Labour can’t put forward our amendment to the budget until the Lib Dems publish their proposals. Until then we do not have access to all the facts.

“The Lib Dems must stop their outrageous scaremongering and stop playing politics with people’s jobs and the services local people rely on.”

Coun Dore said “protecting jobs and services” will be Labour’s priority.

Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “Sheffield is an example of how make cuts responsibly and with care.

“Paul Scriven and his colleagues have done incredibly well in difficult circumstances to keep job losses down and protect vital services.

“It is in stark contrast to Labour-run councils like Manchester and Liverpool, where they have laid off huge numbers of workers and cut key services to score political points.”