Give us the tools to build Sheffield back stronger - our plea to the Chancellor
Sheffield has ambitious plans to build back stronger after a uniquely tough and tragic year - we just need Rishi Sunak, in today’s Budget, to give us the tools for the job.
Many months after talk of ‘levelling up’ created real hope in the North, it is time for action - on jobs, businesses, public services and transport.
The city has suffered greatly in a pandemic that has damaged prospects, closed businesses and cost lives. Redundancy rates are rising faster than in the 2008 economic crash, while unemployment is set to surge to levels not seen since the closure of the pits. And all this on top of a decade of deep, austerity-driven cuts.
But much groundwork for a new future has already been done. The region drew up a Renewal Action Plan last year, setting out ways to support 55,000 people into work or training, boost 25,000 businesses and support the transition to ‘net zero’.
And the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and Olympic Legacy Park, among many others, show we can achieve great things – when given a fighting chance. Meanwhile, there are new leaders in the town hall and the city has rarely been more united.
As the lockdown lifts and the pandemic starts to recede, we stand ready for the big challenges of restoring and reopening businesses and slowly and safely winding down support. Then we have to build a new, green economy to combat climate change, based on a long-term plan.
But it needs the Chancellor – starting today - to follow through on government promises to unleash our potential and show he believes in Sheffield.