Enough is enough says Sheffield councillor, accusing Government of “cutting public services to the bone”
The single biggest financial drain on Sheffield Council’s budget is social care which has reached crisis point, says a senior councillor.
The council is facing an overspend of nearly £44m and while the pandemic caused unplanned spending, the worst pressure is caring for vulnerable adults and children.
Out of the total overspend, £30.9m – 71 per cent – is in adult and children’s social care.
And council officers say the Government’s £86 billion funding of adult social care is not a “winning lottery ticket” for the council as the investment will go to the NHS.
Coun Cate McDonald, Executive member for finance, says “enough is enough” and will put a motion before full council next week.
She said: “Despite the recent announcement from the Government to increase taxes to – in the words of the Prime Minister, fix the crisis in social care – it is far from clear how the Government’s plan will deliver on this.
“Despite the promise of additional health and social care investment, it is not expected that this money will be allocated locally, or that councils will be sufficiently compensated for the spiralling costs they have faced in the last 18 months.”
Coun McDonald said for more than a decade, the council has had to absorb Government funding cuts amounting to £475m.
She added: “For all the Government’s talk of levelling up, Sheffield continues to suffer austere cuts above the national average with government cutting public services to the bone.
“Since 2011, everything possible has been done to challenge government to provide a better funding settlement for Sheffield, but successive governments have failed to deliver.
“Enough is enough. The Government has to take responsibility and give a fair financial settlement to local authorities. For all their posturing, their levelling-up agenda is empty rhetoric which spectacularly fails to deliver what is required.
“The council must make tough decisions across all portfolios, including in core services, in order to ensure the council remains financially viable.”
Voluntary early retirement and voluntary severance schemes are already underway, with the hope of achieving a more manageable starting point for the coming year.