Voting day for Sheffield budget cuts

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall
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A CONTROVERSIAL package of cuts worth £50 million is set to be voted through by Sheffield councillors today when next year’s budget is set.

Councillors were due to set next year’s budget for operating services across the city, with council bosses needing to save £50 million over the next 12 months.

In a proposed package of cuts revealed by the council’s ruling Labour in January, savings of £20 million were earmarked as coming from efficiency savings within the council, including a predicted 600 job losses, with the rest from a combination of service cuts and increases in fees.

Closure of Don Valley Stadium and libraries were put forward as suggestions for saving cash and were due to be voted on today.

If the budget gets approved motorists will have to pay more to park in the city centre and residents’ parking permits are set to go up from £20 to £36.

There will also be cuts for cultural activities and entertainment, with funding for Sheffield Theatres, Museums Sheffield and The Showroom set to be slashed.

Funding for early years and children’s services is also set to be cut.

Coun Bryan Lodge. cabinet finance member, said: “We are working to protect services as far as possible but the level of cuts we are now facing means these cuts are hitting front line services.

“We are doing many things that we would not want to do but feel that there is no alternative without making even further cuts to other services which I believe would have a greater impact.

“We have aimed as far as possible to protect services for the most vulnerable and the work we do to help get people into jobs. We will do everything we can to protect this city as much as possible in these extremely difficult times.”

Coun Joe Otten, Lib Dem spokesman for Culture and Sport, criticised the proposed closure of Don Valley.

He said: “The athletics community is united in saying not enough has been done to raise income from Don Valley.

“If we’re to preserve our legacy as a City of Sport and produce the next Jessica Ennis, we need to put politics aside and work together on a solution for the future.

“When you consider that delaying the closure will actually save taxpayers money, there seems little reason to rush ahead with the closure.”

Follow the council debate live on Twitter @sheffieldstar, log on to The Star for a full report and buy The Star tomorrow for all the reaction.