‘We’re at breaking point’ Sheffield Council leaders hit out at budget 

Sheffield Labour councillors holding up 'breaking point' signs in the Town Hall calling for an end to austerity
Sheffield Labour councillors holding up 'breaking point' signs in the Town Hall calling for an end to austerity

Leaders of Sheffield City Council have hit out at the Government’s recent budget, saying there is not enough money to deliver services. 

Labour councillors Julie Dore, leader of the council, and Olivia Blake, cabinet member for finance, said funding from Government was not enough after Chancellor Philip Hammond annouced the budget for 2018/19.

Mr Hammond said austerity was ‘coming to an end’ after eight years in his speach on the budget last week. But Labour councillors said they are still at ‘breaking point’.

Coun Dore said: “Since 2010 the council’s budget has been slashed by £430 million.

“But this only tells half the story, as rising demand for social care and children’s services has meant that resources have become increasingly stretched. Quite simply there is not enough money to deliver the council services we would expect.

“We really are at breaking point and Labour will continue to fight for a fair and proper funding settlement for Sheffield. Labour would end austerity responsibly and fairly, properly funding our public services by ensuring the rich are taxed effectively, clamping down on tax dodging and increasing income taxes on the top 5% and big business.”

Part of the budget included £400 million extra for schools, £420 million for pot holes, £60 million for planting more trees and £675 million for high streets, as well as more funding for mental health and a rise in the threshold at which people start paying tax.

But coun Blake said the funding was ‘meaningless’. Speaking about the economic position of the last eight years she said: “We are calling for a needs-based settlement and an end to austerity with real investment to provide a sustainable way of funding our public services. All we got from the recent budget was more sleight-of-hand from the Treasury but no meaningful funding.

“A Labour government would end austerity and invest across the whole country to boost productivity and create 400,000 well-paid green jobs. Now more than ever we need a Labour government to rebuild the country, as under the Tories local services are reaching breaking point”.

A Government spokesperson said: “Sheffield City Council will receive £427m in 2018-19, and they should use this to meet the needs of their residents.

“We are investing in Britain’s future, and in the Budget we announced extra funding which will go to local government to address pressures on social care services and to carry out road repairs.

“On top of this, we are giving councils the power to retain the growth in business rates income.

“Our finance settlement strikes the right balance between relieving growing pressure on local government and ensuring hard-pressed taxpayers do not face excessive bills.”