Fresh research on £173m Sheffield benefit cuts impact

Coun Harry Harpham
Coun Harry Harpham
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Every adult in Sheffield will be £471 worse off on average after the full effect of benefit cuts are felt, a council report claims.

Sheffield Council’s Impact of Welfare Reform on Sheffield’s Residents report says changes such as the new bedroom tax rules will take £173million out of the city’s economy.

A study by Sheffield Hallam University produced the figure and the council has already approved a follow-up study which will conduct a ward-by-ward analysis to work out which areas have been most affected, delivering results in Autumn.

The authority’s deputy leader and cabinet member for housing Coun Harry Harpham said: “Taking £173million out of the local economy means there is less to spend in local businesses. That means less for businesses to invest, which means fewer jobs. It hits the whole economy at a time Sheffield is still struggling from the financial crash in 2008.

“When you take that money out of the economy at a time when central government have forced council cuts of something like £250million, that obviously had a massive impact on the city when the council is doing everything it can to get investment in Sheffield.

“We have a Sheffield MP in Nick Clegg who is content to sit on his hands and watch it happen. Nick Clegg has done nothing to help Sheffield since day one.

“He has said he would transform the bedroom tax, but the bedroom tax needs scrapping, not transforming.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “We all know the benefit bill has to be tackled but the best way of doing this is getting people back into work, which is what has happened in Sheffield.

“Since the last general election the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits has gone down 22 per cent, a reduction of over 3,500 people.

“There are also about 20,000 more people with a job in Sheffield. If we had listened to Labour thousands of people would still be out of work and even greater spending cuts would be required.”