Green Party calls for more investment to tackle climate crisis in Sheffield Council budget

Green Party councillors submitted their proposals for the forthcoming Sheffield Council budget with a focus on tackling the climate crisis and inequality.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 4:45 pm

Councillor Douglas Johnson, leader of the party, said they will be speaking about their proposals in the virtual council chamber at the same time the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be speaking on the national budget in the House of Commons.

He said: “Sheffield Greens are serious about doing what we can to address the climate emergency and to protect the poorest in society.

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Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson

“The climate crisis needs government spending on the scale of what was available for the Covid pandemic. At a local level, our budget proposals focus on what is achievable here and now.

“These proposals will make people’s lives better, especially for the poorest households and small businesses who have been worst affected by Covid.

“As well as a major investment in climate jobs, we offer real help for low-income families with substantial extra funding for advice work, a big boost to the council tax hardship scheme and lower heating bills in warmer homes.

“I don’t expect the chancellor to recognise the reality of low-paid work or applying for universal credit but our budget shows these go hand-in-hand with tackling the climate crisis.”

Their proposals include recruiting a number of new officers covering sustainability, heritage, cycling, planning and parking enforcement, community liaison, ecology, substance misuse, empty homes and police community safety.

Other ideas include free bus and tram travel on the six Sundays before Christmas, a fund for music lessons for children from low-income households, an increase in the council tax hardship fund to £2 million and investment in parks including maintenance of drinking fountains and gym equipment.

Savings they said should come from increasing pre-application fees for big planning developers, removing group policy officers, cutting the pay of council employees who earn more than £50,000 and cutting eight jobs in human resources.

They also proposed changes to parking including: removing elected members’ parking claims, scrapping free parking in the city centre at Christmas and increasing the street parking charge by 40p and the fees in parks from 50p to £1 per hour.

The ruling Labour group said they had managed to balance the budget and were in a stronger position than other councils thanks to consistent prudence.

Their plans include a council tax increase of 1.99 percent with a three percent adult social care precept.

Coun Terry Fox, cabinet member for finance, said: “We have again managed to reach a balanced financial position for the year ahead, but this relies on us making millions in savings, and with so many unforeseen demands and changes the road ahead is very uncertain.

“We’ll see additional support for the most vulnerable and our businesses, further commitment to tackling inequalities, and more empowered and safer communities so that we can focus on recovery and growth together.”

Full council will be publicly broadcast live and will start from 2pm on Wednesday, March 3.

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