Sheffield Council staff asked to consider voluntary redundancy as budget cuts bite
Voluntary redundancy is underway at Sheffield Council as the Leader criticised the Government for leaving the authority strapped for cash.
The council is predicting an overspend on its revenue budget of almost £44m of which £30.9m – 71 per cent – is in adult and children’s social care.
The Government is currently conducting a comprehensive spending review, but it is not clear what this will mean for Sheffield. Details are not expected until early December – at which point it will be too late to manage the situation.
Council chiefs say they must take action now in order to plan and prepare for the difficult time ahead.
Voluntary early retirement and voluntary severance schemes are already underway, with the hope of achieving a more manageable starting point for the coming year.
Council Leader Terry Fox said despite the recent Government announcement of additional health and social care investment, it’s 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.
He said: “We have faced challenges in the last 18 months like we’ve never seen before, and it’s not over because we’ve now got the financial consequences to deal with and the ongoing needs of our residents.
“I’ve raised this before and I’ll continue to raise this – over the past decade we have faced cuts to our budget.
“Since 2010/11, Sheffield has had its spending power reduced by £215m – 31 per cent. This is the equivalent of £383 for every Sheffield resident, above average for the rest of England.
“It’s hard-working people who continue to shoulder this shortfall of funding. Enough is enough, the Government has to take responsibility.”
Coun Fox said the council was left in a very uncertain position without more details from the Government.
“That’s why we can’t wait. We’re doing everything we can now to reduce our overspend, prepare for the year ahead and limit the impact on the services people rely on.
“Changes and compromises will have to be made, but we will make sure essential services are prioritised.”