Local elections: Liberal Democrats launch campaign to tackle ‘ticking time bomb’ budget

Sheffield Liberal Democrats has launched its local election campaign promising to tackle Sheffield Council’s “ticking time bomb” budget.

Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 1:54 pm

The party, which currently makes up around 35 percent of council seats, has representatives running in all of the 28 wards and none of its councillors are stepping down this year.

It declared itself the “only real opposition” to the Labour and Green coalition currently running the council.

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Councillors Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, and Joe Otten, candidate for the South Yorkshire Mayor, on the campaign trail.

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats who is up for re-election this year, outlined a number of key manifesto points.

These include: supporting local families, cleaning up litter and fly tipping, getting decent new energy efficient homes on brownfield sites, tackling climate change, improving recycling with bigger blue bins and glass bins, improving housing repair waiting times, giving millions of pounds to local communities through local area committees, developing cultural and leisure venues that are accessible to all and improving the conditions and pay for the city’s care workforce.

Coun Mohammed said: “It has never been more crucial to vote as the city council tries to balance the books going forward and get on top of the dire financial situation that [our city is in].

“We need fresh leadership at the council in order to get on top of the situation and to make the real changes the people of Sheffield want to see.

“The council is set to run out of money as early as next year. We want to work for the people of Sheffield to get Sheffield back on track.”

From May the council will operate under a modern committee system which aims to give all councillors more say in decisions.

“Under the new committee system, we will see all councillors making decisions rather than the current cabinet model and therefore there has never been a more important time to have your say on who runs Sheffield,” Coun Mohammed said. “Voting for Lib Dem candidates will lead to city councillors who will actually listen to residents.”

South Yorkshire mayoral elections

Alongside the council elections there is a South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority election to replace Labour’s Dan Jarvis.

Liberal Democrat councillor Joe Otten, who is standing for Mayor of South Yorkshire, said local people had been failed at a council level and by the regional mayor too.

He said: “We are demanding better buses and fighting to improve the entirety of South Yorkshire.

“For too long we’ve put public money into the bus network, only for bus operators to reduce investment and cut services. When we bring in franchising, that money will go to improving the reliability and frequency of the service and we will simplify ticketing with tapping on and daily and weekly caps.”

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 5.

If you have not already, register to vote by 11:59pm on April 14 here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote