Families on low incomes, disabled people and women have been the hardest hit by budget cuts and changes to the welfare system.
Sheffield Council wants to make sure work already done on equality doesn’t “slide backwards” amid drastic funding cuts.
Sheffield, along with other cities nationwide, is struggling to tackle ”persistent inequality and challenges” in health, poverty, attainment of some pupil groups, hate crime plus domestic and sexual abuse.
Adele Robinson, social justice and inclusion manager at the council, says in a report: “Fairness and tackling inequality is at the heart of the council’s values, we believe that everyone should get a fair chance to succeed but recognise that some people and communities need extra help to reach their full potential, particularly when they face multiple layers of deprivation.
“However, the national austerity programme has resulted in significant cuts to the council’s budget since 2010. In that seven years, the council’s core funding has been reducing year on year.
“Grant reductions, plus demand and cost pressures, mean we will need to identify around £40m of savings, which is in addition to the £352m of savings already made over the past six years.
“This budget gap grows to £116m by 2022. These substantial funding cuts mean that our work on equality and fairness is much more focused on ensuring we do not slide backwards and lose ground in existing areas of inequality.”
The council says national issues such as welfare reform have also had a significant impact.
Ms Robinson adds: “These changes have impacted most on specific groups who already experience inequality such as people on a low income, disabled people and women.
“In times when resources are diminished, it’s feasible that equalities could be viewed as less of a priority issue. However we are determined to keep fairness and tackling inequality as a key area.
“There are areas of persistent inequality. These are not solely issues in Sheffield but examples are attainment of some pupil groups, health, poverty, hate crime, domestic and sexual abuse and workforce diversity.
“We have a major role in tackling inequality. We will do as much as we can but the council cannot do this alone and all partners in the city will play a part if we are to meet these challenges.”