Sheffield Council passes '˜amibtious' budget with Â£40m of savings despite Town Hall protest
With anti-austerity campaigners protesting outside the Town Hall, city councillors today approved a 4.99 per cent tax increase.
After a highly-politicised debate during which all three smaller parties presented their alternative budgets, a majority of councillors eventually voted in favour of a budget that hopes to save £40 million over the next year.
Labour members took every opportunity to highlight the impact of ongoing Government cuts.
Council leader Julie Dore talked about increasing demand on social care and health services. She said: “This is a budget that is economically successful and ambitious, but also protects our public services and supports the most vulnerable under difficult circumstances created by Governments past and current.”
Emphasising that the council will have to rely on income from tax and business rates by 2020, cabinet members spoke about the importance of major projects such as the new retail quarter and deals to bring companies such as McLaren and Boeing to Sheffield.
Liberal Democrat members questioned the level of borrowing in the budget. They made a commitment to devolve decision making on things such as roads and the environment to neighbourhoods.
The Lib Dems also proposed a tax break for foster carers, and said they would save Hurlfield View, a dementia respite centre due to close this month. This was echoed by the Greens and UKIP.
Coun Adam Hanrahan, for the Lib Dems, said: “What we are talking about is trusting the people of this city, because they know what’s best in their area.”
The Green budget included money for energy efficiency schemes in schools, reversing cuts to library staff and broadcasting council meetings online.
Coun Rob Murphy said the Greens wanted a future where people’s concerns were listened to.
And UKIP proposed cuts to councillor allowances and officer salaries, extra money to target fly-tipping and a 10 per cent cut to the translation budget.
Coun Jack Clarkson said: “We believe that within the budget there is a capability to look after local people and the environment.”
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