VIEW POINT: Government cuts are real culprit

Views of Don Valley Stadium
Views of Don Valley Stadium
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Judging by the respondents to your online article about the proposed budget cuts a mass outpouring of bile threatens to overwhelm the streets of Sheffield.

It is sad to see a once proud city tear itself to pieces in this way – blame has become essential, the staple diet of the massively deluded.

The city council deserve a portion of the blame for being ostrich-like and for displaying such crass insensitivity in the way they have handled the closure of Don Valley Stadium.

As someone who has attended many seminars and events at the town hall over the last decade and seen the grand opulence in those rooms I have to say there are no credible reasons for spending a six-figure sum on “essential repairs” at the same time as closing leisure facilities and care homes.

These cuts have been a ticking timebomb for some considerable time. In 2010 the Con-Dems made their five-year plan for austerity cuts well known.

Sheffield Council knew like any other big authority that hard times were gathering around the corner and chose to put off making tough decisions or looking for ways to be innovative or creative.

SIV, who run most of the leisure event destinations, have proven to be guilty of complacency and procrastination.

Don Valley Stadium has been allowed to fade into the background.

When was the last time a major athletics event pitched up there? In recent times have management even tried to promote this once flagship stadium? It would appear not.

The online forums make a case for Jessica Ennis paying to keep the stadium open singlehandedly out of her own pocket, as if it is her moral obligation as the recipient of such good fortune in having first-class amenities at her disposal.

From golden girl heroine to a drain on the council coffers in less than eight months.

Hang your heads in shame all who even dare to suggest this.

Neither should Seb Coe be handed a portion of the blame. He long since removed himself to London, vacating Sheffield’s heady mix of bloated pride and outrageous expectation.

His biggest crime is to be a crony of the main protagonists in the demise of Sheffield and most other northern working-class cities, namely the Conservative party and their subservient chums the Liberal Democrats.

It is their cuts that are to blame – that and their ideology of reducing an overblown welfare state and their steadfast refusal to consider any alternatives.

Their refusal to claw back the £15 billion per year owed in tax by big business or to implement a mansion tax while enthusiastically levying a bedroom tax on the poorest paid members of society is a national disgrace. This is where the blame really lies.

All councils in the north have seen their grants cut year on year since the last election.

In the south some councils have undergone the same, but a few have actually seen a small grant increase.

Herein lies the problem. The grant is mainly used by northern councils to offset a deficit of council tax receipts due to the number of unemployed people on benefits.

In the more affluent south, where they have full employment and full receipt of council tax money, the grant can be used to pay for leisure facilities we in the north can only dream of.

That is the desperate reality of the situation.

Harry Bird