Vulnerable people in Sheffield bear brunt of budget cuts

Councillors have once again highlighted the immense pressure of looking after Sheffield’s most vulnerable people amid swingeing budget cuts.

Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 6:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 6:32 pm
Coun Olivia Blake

There are more adults and children in need of social care and demand for services has risen but the council is struggling with nine years of Government austerity.

Both adult and children’s social care remain the biggest pressures. The council has had to invest an extra £35m over the last two years in these services alone.

Over the next financial year, the council will make use of £11 million of reserves – its savings – to sustain social care amid cuts from Government funding and rising pressures on the services.

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Deputy Council Leader Olivia Blake lambasted the Government at a Cabinet meeting. She said: “I thought last year’s budget was hard but this one has been much more difficult.

“We do need to recognise that we are spending over 50 per cent of our budget on social care.

“I’m pleased we have been able to put an extra £35m into children’s and adult social care but it’s very concerning how little the Government has considered the issue of social care going forward. I am waiting for sense to reign again at Whitehall.

“This has put a lot of pressure on our services. We are doing the right thing to protect the most vulnerable in society but that means we have to use reserves. Other services have been stripped back and we are really having to push the boundaries of what we can achieve.

“Public health is another concern. We have seen a decline in funding from the Government which is really unfair because all the public health work is on prevention.

“We have tried to be as ambitious as we can but austerity is having a huge impact and we need to make our voices heard.”

Councillors and officers have set out a four year financial plan. Coun Blake added: “We should be able to get on top of the challenges but it remains to be seen if the Government ends austerity as they have said they will.”

There will be a further debate on the budget at full council in March.