Sheffield Council budget cuts revealed

Protest outside Sheffield Town Hall against the cuts.
Protest outside Sheffield Town Hall against the cuts.
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SHEFFIELD Council has approved £50 million of cuts over the coming year - and warned of further cuts until 2018.

The ruling Labour group made no last-minute changes to its proposals, which were voted through this afternoon.

Alternative ideas proposed by the opposition - including a staff pay cut, more management job losses, a reduction in trade union posts, and a rise in council tax - were all dismissed.

The full story is in The Star tomorrow - but councillors confirmed council tax will be frozen.

And the number of council redundancies is likely to be much lower than feared - 400 instead of 600 - due to people taking voluntary redundancy, early retirement, or non-replacement of staff who have left.

The budget includes withdrawing the £700,000 annual subsidy for Don Valley Stadium, despite protests from Jessica Ennis’ coach Tony Miniciello, and the £400,000 subsidy for Stocksbridge Leisure Centre.

The council plans to reopen and upgrade Woodbourn athletics track as an alternative to Don Valley Stadium.

Council cabinet member for finance, Coun Bryan Lodge, said: “We have to make proposals which are sustainable in the long term.”

Coun Lodge dismissed opposition plans as ‘raising false hopes and expectations’.

Austerity measures have already seen £140m axed from the council’s annual budget over the last two years, and 1,400 jobs lost.

Worried Sheffield Council staff fear redundancy and freezes to pay and increments will leave them ‘on the breadline’.

Stocksbridge residents meanwhile called on the council to give their leisure centre a stay of execution.

Emma Gregory, chairman of campaign group 4SLC, pleaded: “The leisure centre is a lifeline for elderly and young people who have no other facilities. Closure will have an impact on health and will cost more because young people will have nothing to do so could end up on the streets in trouble.”

Allotment holders fear a 60 per cent increase in fees, and the council admitted up to 14 of 27 libraries could close - but it hopes to avoid any closures by inviting third parties to bid to run them.

Today’s budget at a glance:

* 600 jobs axed

* Don Valley Stadium and Stocksbridge Leisure Centre set to close

* Cuts of £3.5m to children’s centres

* Motorists will pay to park in the city centre on Sundays and Bank Holidays for first time, with a rise in on-street parking charges outside city centre

* Parking permits to rise from £20 to £36 for residents, and from £40 to £72 for businesses

* Library budget to be cut by £1.6m, putting 14 of 27 community libraries at risk of closure

* Budgets cut to Sheffield Theatres, Museums Sheffield, Showroom Cinema, Tramlines, Off The Shelf, Cliffhanger, Children’s Festival, Fright Night.

* Community Assemblies axed

* Allotment rents up 60 per cent and charges reintroduced for rat catching.

* £10.5m to be saved by reducing fees to private care home operators, removing some discounts for adult social care and reducing some home support.

* Closure of Bole Hills dementia care home