SHEFFIELD Council’s new Labour leader Julie Dore today set out her jobs-boosting vision for the city after winning a landslide victory.
Her party now has a 14-seat majority over the opposition parties after gaining nine seats from the Lib Dems.
She said her victory, which included taking previously safe Lib Dem wards, had ‘exceeded expectations’.
Coun Dore was helped to settle in at the Town Hall with a visit from Labour’s Deputy Leader Harriet Harman, who hailed the party’s ‘resounding victory’ in Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s backyard.
Elated Coun Dore said her administration would begin the task of making good promises to create apprenticeships, restore funding for Police Community Support Officers, and retain the council’s business-friendly reputation.
She said: “Our majority gives us a hell of a mandate. The people of Sheffield haven’t just spoken - they’ve shouted loud and clear..”
Coun Dore, who was only elected Labour group leader last Autumn, said she would be focusing on getting Sheffield’s economy going.
She said: “We want to make it clear that we will be working with businesses to stimulate the economy, focusing on creating jobs.
“We will be making good our promise to use funding to create apprenticeships and we also want to work with companies to find out how the council can best help them.”
Coun Dore said her aim was to create enough jobs to cover the 873 posts lost at Sheffield Council due to the cuts and also work with voluntary, community and faith groups.
“We also want to protect and support communities – and to that end we will be reintroduce funding to pay for the 25 PCSOs which were axed by the Lib Dems,” she said.
Coun Dore responded to criticism from the Lib Dems that funding to pay for the apprenticeships, PCSOs and also reinstate axed portions of the budget for Sure Start children’s centres would run out after a year.
She said: “Much of their budget plan was short term for the current year only. What we now plan to do is open the books and have a full look at the council’s budget, so we can see what the cuts mean in the long term.”
Sheffield Labour Party chairman Paul Wood added: “People across Sheffield have taken the opportunity to demonstrate who they trust most to take them through the difficult times ahead. I am not at all surprised that the majority have chosen to elect Labour councillors.
“Local people know that it is only Labour who will stand up for Sheffield.
“Former council leader Paul Scriven and his Lib Dem colleagues have shown, time and time again, that they choose to stand up for Nick Clegg and his broken promises rather than the interests of Sheffield and its citizens.”
“Labour councillors now have a difficult time ahead. We all know that the Liberal Democrats passed a city council budget for this year which has front-loaded the use of balances, left the reserves dangerously low, and balanced only by making big cuts in services to take effect after the election.
“These cuts include £1.4 million in library services and 15 per cent cuts in grants to local voluntary organisations.”
Defeated Lib Dem leader Paul Scriven said: “We have left the council in very good shape. There are £39 million of reserves and we made savings very carefully, without closing a single library or children’s centre.”