OPPOSITION Lib Dem Deputy Leader Coun Colin Ross:
“I’m not pretending we wouldn’t have to make the bulk of the reductions in spending proposed if we were in power, but we would do things a little differently.
“When Labour took control, they put £3 million of spending commitments back into the system, reversing some changes we proposed last year, such as on PCSOs and funding for external organisations.
“There are changes Labour is proposing, such as reducing bin collections from weekly to fortnightly, which won’t make much of a difference over the coming year - the predicted saving is now £1.6m, down from £2.44m, because they are not making the change straight away.
“There could be a bill of up to £1m to Veolia for contractual changes, while they are talking about spending £400,000 on communication to residents about the change.
“Areas I would like to protect would include the weekly black bin collection, and parks where they are cutting the number of staff and rangers’ posts.
“We would also like to see something done about the massive £400,000 annual cost of supporting full-time trade union reps within the council. If they are doing a job for the unions, their members should pay.
“There is the £300,000 support for Castle Market traders’ rent discount and the number of legal and administration support staff could be looked at again in more detail. Their numbers are not being cut by Labour to any great extent.”
Rob Murphy, Central ward Green Party councillor:
“There are a couple of areas of the budget I am particularly interested in. The increase in parking permit prices is a concern - even those who do not have a car are seeing the cost of visitors’ passes quadruple. It is a tax on people living in the inner city.
“The decision to end the funding for the affordable warmth scheme is another area I think should have been protected.
“The scheme has only just started in central ward and I’m worried how many households will be able to take advantage before it is finished.”
Sheffield Council deputy leader Coun Bryan Lodge:
“We have had our grant support cut by the Government and face rising costs, so do not have the income to continue running the council as we have done - but we are trying to manage the best we can.
“We have had to look at reductions across the board. We are reviewing the amount of money allocated to full-time trade union officials - although those posts have been necessary as the council went through the equal pay dispute and then to cope with redundancies.
“We have reduced some management posts and are carrying out a wider review. We are not planning to protect a management structure for when things change and money starts to come back in.
“We have not made a major management cut because sometimes if you cut them too fast you do not have enough people to oversee the process of change.
“Increases in parking permit charges take them back to around the same levels as in 2006.
“The Lib Dems reduced the cost, subsidising running costs from other areas. There are benefits to the schemes, in ensuring residents can park outside their homes and deterring commuters from residential streets.
“There are other anomalies - a book of visitor permits costs £4 to produce but residents pay only £2.50 at present.
“We are also reducing the subsidy to allotments.
“The affordable warmth scheme to provide insulation is being finished by the Government in its current form.”