Sheffield parish councils to be hit by cuts

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Parish and town councils could be forced to raise precepts in the wake of huge budget cuts.

Residents of Ecclesfield, Bradfield and Stocksbridge will take the hit when Sheffield Council takes away £85,000 in funding.

Sheffield Council has blamed the Government’s abolition of council tax benefit for the cut, put forward as part of its financial plan for 2014/2015.

The announcement came as a shock to parish councils in Ecclesfield and Stocksbridge, which both stand to lose at least 20 per cent of their annual budget.

Stocksbridge Town Council had planned a precept rise of around 24p per week based on figures from last year.

The further cut means councillors could be forced to increase it further, or turn down funding grants for local groups.

Coun Jack Clarkson said: “It is disappointing. With city council cuts, more and more local people are coming to us for funding. Sheffield Council is asking us to do more and more, yet cutting our funding at the same time. I know we’ve all got to tighten our belts but this is just going to starve us of oxygen.

“We’ve already lost our swimming pool and had subsidy withdrawn from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.”

In Ecclesfield, 14,000 households are also facing a hike in the tax charged on their property.

Coun Garry Weatherall, who represents East Ecclesfield on Sheffield Council and sits on the parish council, said: “The Government have abolished the grant which compensates the parish council for a loss of income.”