More cuts and job losses are on the way as Sheffield Council confirms five per cent tax hike

Town Hall bosses have had to cut 350m since 2010
Town Hall bosses have had to cut 350m since 2010
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Sheffield Council is facing a further £40 million of cuts – and could be forced to axe 225 job.

Local authority bosses have officially confirmed a 4.99 per cent council tax rise - three per cent of which is ring fenced to pay for adult social care. The new rate will start in April.

But the precept - expected to raise £5.4 million - doesn't even go halfway to meeting the £12 million bill the council will shell out for adult social care.

Grants from central Government are being slowly phased out and by 2020, authorities like Sheffield will be expected to raise all of their income through business rates and council tax hikes. Over £23 million of Government cash which was made available to Sheffield Council last year is included in the £40 million cut.

However, on initial calculations it was feared 600 jobs would be lost but this has fallen to 225.

Speaking to The Star, Coun Ben Curran, cabinet member for finance and resources at Sheffield Council said: "There is a crisis across the country where adult social care is being massively underfunded and the NHS not being given the funding it needs which has added to that pressure.

Sheffield faces a further 40m cut to its budget

Sheffield faces a further 40m cut to its budget

"The Government has said it's down to councils increase the precept to make some of that up.

"We've been clear that the adult social care precept doesn't go as far as we need it to and we're calling on Government to have a proper settlement for this and give us the funding not just for Sheffield but other councils across the country that they're crying out for to meet the demands of an ageing population.

Coun Curran said decisions to close vital services were done with a 'heavy heart' and cited a change to fortnightly bin collections and the closure of Don Valley Stadium and Stocksbridge Leisure Centre were as a result of continued cuts.

"Those have been tough decisions, no one took them lightly," Coun Curran said.

Coun Ben Curran, cabinet member for finance and resources at Sheffield Council

Coun Ben Curran, cabinet member for finance and resources at Sheffield Council

"It's the symptom of a Government and it's austerity drive and they have tried to shift the cost of adult social care to Sheffield tax payers.

"If the Government don't give us the money then we have limited ways to raise funds so we do the best we can. Austerity is the Government's choice and its them who are driving it and it's councils like us unfortunately have to try and deal with it the best we can."

"We’ve called on the Government to properly fund social care. It’s fallen on deaf ears so we’ve had to continue making difficult decisions in order to balance the books again.”

The Local Government Association has estimated that local authorities across England and Wales will have a social care funding shortfall of £2.6 billion by 2020.

It reckons that some local authorities could be challenged in courts over their failure to provide a minimum standard of care. People may not even receive help to get out of bed, wash and dress.

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