OPINION: No winners as cuts bite

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Another day, another council cut. It might be St Valentine’s Day, but many residents could be forgiven for feeling unloved following The Star’s revelation Sheffield Council is proposing to axe a night-time care service designed to give vulnerable and sick people extra support.

Delving in to budget proposals for the next financial year makes for grim reading - a £6million cut for adult social care, hundreds of potential job losses, handing over precious libraries to untrained volunteers.

The cabinet says it has engaged openly with the public extensively on this programme of cuts. But the pages of The Star are filled on a daily basis with people who feel ignored by city leaders.

Public consultation is increasingly viewed as an expensive formality designed to temporarily pacify the masses when a decision has already been made.

And each time the city council shifts the blame for its unpopular choices on the Government in politically-motivated rants.

It is no wonder people are losing faith in local democracy. At the minute, Sheffield Council chamber contains more broken records than a vinyl shop in the aftermath of an earthquake.

It was a sad day indeed when an 11-year-old Broomhill schoolgirl stood up and spoke out in defence of her local library and was subsequently forced to witness the petty squabbling between councillors which ensued. The irony that this child had left the playground behind, only to find herself in an even bigger one was seemingly lost on them.

Yes, Sheffield has been hit particularly hard with budget cuts. But this is the hand we have been dealt and after four years under the coalition we’ve had enough of our public services being used for political point-scoring.

Cuts are inevitable. We all know that.

But what consolation is the blame game to the children who face a lengthy journey to their nearest library, or the old lady suddenly without someone to help her wash or make a meal come the evening?