Be clear over favoured areas

THE idea of closing a poverty gap is worthy. But we are not sure that it was being achieved under Labour's policy of favouring certain areas over others.

And in a day of restricted resources, we cannot afford to see money spent with no obvious long term improvements to show. That's why it is important Labour, who may very well seize power in May, are transparent with people on their intentions.

The Lib Dems were uncompromising over their dismantling of the favoured areas policy, instead redistributing money more widely across the city and targeting problems on a 'worst first' basis.

And there is no getting away from the fact that some problems in Sheffield are universal and should not be tackled depending on which side of the city they are to be found.

So we ought to be hearing now how Labour would deal with these issues, and whether some districts will come first over others.

Always a place for experts' opinions

SHEFFIELD schools are being urged to make the most of changes which will see them take control of the majority of funding targeted at education. But they won't be going it alone - the plan is for a devolution revolution which will set up 'families' of local primaries coupled with their parent secondary.

Some schools - such as Yewlands and its feeder primaries in Parson Cross - have been operating successfully in such a way for some time.

And as the blueprint is rolled out city-wide, the onus will be on schools to make sure every penny in these tricky times is spent wisely, on education services that really matter. And parents will be expected to play their part, helping governors identify priorities.

But we mustn't get carried away. Schools cannot and should not be expected to handle such a huge workload either alone or in families.

Some areas - special needs education is the prime example - are too important and complex to be tackled by anyone other by professionals experts in the field who can see the bigger picture across the city as a whole.

Education specialists at the city council will still have an important role giving vital support if things go wrong.

Cash in his attic

ANTIQUES dealer Mark Jepson was hoping to make a bob or two when he bought items at the Chatsworth attic clearance sale, intending to sell them on at a profit. But now he has found he has fallen in love with the 100 items he bought and can't bring himself to part with some of them. But he needn't worry. Even if he puts them in storage, he has already shown there is plenty of cash in the attic where these particular items are concerned.

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