Sheffield Council agrees the “toughest budget” ever
Sheffield Council has agreed its budget – with Labour calling it “the toughest it has ever set”.
Full council agreed a budget for 2019/20 which will see council tax rise by just under three per cent. Band A properties will see an increase of 58p per week, a rise from £1,009 a year to £1,039.
Amendments by the Liberal Democrats, Green Party and UKIP were voted out by Labour.
Deputy Council Leader Olivia Blake said it was arguably the most difficult financial circumstances the council had ever faced as Government austerity has resulted in £460m cuts over the past nine years.
Coun Blake said: “Knowing this would be the toughest budget we have ever set, I wanted to be transparent and clear about the challenge we face.
“Sheffield has borne the brunt of austerity and it’s certainly not over yet. We all know that the impact on all public services has been huge, but local councils have faced the deepest and most sustained cuts.
“We have seen significant structural underfunding of our core work, in particular social care, for almost a decade. An entire generation in this city have known very little but austerity. We have been forced to make many difficult choices.
“I doubt any of us here wanted to be councillor to enact cuts to services. Communities are bearing the brunt of austerity – and because of deliberate government action since 2010 this has been disproportionality targeted against communities who are are the least well off.”
The Liberal Democrats said Labour had made wrong choices on how to spend money.
Lib Dem Leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed told the meeting: “Despite the financial challenges that are faced by Sheffield Council, Labour still had choices about how and where to spend our city’s money.
“Taxpayers are not just paying for the cost of poor decision-making by local Labour politicians for the last nine years, they are still footing the bill for decisions made decades earlier, at a time when I was still at secondary school.
“Decisions made by Labour councillors around hosting the financially disastrous World Students Games. Taxpayers continue to pay almost £20 millions each year to repay debts linked to major sporting facilities for years to come.”