£1.2m for 100 apprenticeships

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EXTRA funding totalling £1.2 million is to be made available by Sheffield Council to create 100 more apprenticeships and help struggling businesses as part of its budget for the coming year.

Labour councillors have received the additional funding from a reduction in the budget for South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and are proposing the measures alongside £55m of cuts and the loss of 550 jobs.

The budget, to be approved today, also includes a move to fortnightly bin collections, closure of care homes and reduction of spending on transport services for elderly and disabled, plus higher fees for sports teams, loss of bowling greens, and increased residents’ parking permit charges.

Council’s deputy leader Coun Bryan Lodge said: “Alongside the bad news due to Government cuts we have an extra £500,000 which we plan to spend on creating 100 additional apprenticeships on top of our current two-year programme to create apprenticeships.

“We are also proposing to set aside £400,000 for a new fighting fund to help local businesses and entrepreneurs, and put some of the remaining money back into the parks budget.”

Labour’s plans are expected to be passed at a meeting today because the party has a 16-seat majority in the Town Hall chamber.

The Lib Dem opposition’s alternative budget includes plans to preserve weekly black bin collections, free city-wide garden waste collections and dementia care homes under threat of closure.

They would set aside money from the council budget to cover weekly bin collections and also apply for a share of the £250m Government fund to help preserve the service - while reducing the pay of the highest-earning 25 per cent of council workers.

There would also be a five per cent reduction in salary for Town Hall managers earning more than £39,000 a year and a smaller two-and-a-half per cent reduction for council workers’ salaries between £30,000 and £39,000.