DCSIMG

North suffers more cuts

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editorial image

Sheffield Council is among the authorities hardest hit by Government budget cuts, according to a new report.

The Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute said councils in the north, and most deprived areas, are ‘disproportionately’ affected by spending cuts.

It said that in Sheffield, cuts total £198.47 per person , while in the south east it is £74.08.

The Sheffield University-based institute also found Labour-controlled councils, such as Sheffield, had been most affected and Conservative councils least.

But Dr Craig Berry, a co-author of the report, said it was ‘impossible’ to say the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government had focused spending cuts – even though there was a clear pattern.

He said: “Rather, they have failed to protect deprivation-related local spending, meaning councils which had higher budgets due to higher levels of deprivation have seen the largest cuts.”

Analysis of Sheffield Council said it had experienced a reduction in spending power ‘significantly above the average’.

The report said: “Sheffield is a divided city. In general, it is not among the most deprived councils.

“Yet it has many socio-economic problems associated with deprivation – and local authority budgets connected to these have been significantly cut.”

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For:

Coun Julie Dore, Labour leader of Sheffield Council, says: “Since it came to power in 2010, the coalition Government has targeted Sheffield for drastic cuts of £240 million.

“This report from Sheffield University effectively demonstrates the cuts they are imposing are politically motivated.

“While Sheffield is facing deep funding cuts, the wealthiest parts of the country receive almost no cuts at all. For example, Sheffield has received a reduction of £198.47 for every person in the city, while Guildford receives a cut of just £24.14, Wokingham £26.53 and North Dorset £28.10.

“By next year, the Government will have taken away half of our funding.

“We have made significant savings through reducing staff in corporate services, cutting management and accommodation costs.

“However, any organisation facing a 50 per cent reduction in funding cannot maintain the status quo.

“It is not possible to carry on as usual with that level of cuts being imposed. We have had no option but to do many things we would not have done otherwise.

“Every year the cuts become harder and have a deeper impact on the city. And the impact will get worse if we don’t have a change of direction from this Government.

“Last year, more than 10,000 people signed a petition calling on the Government to give us a fair funding deal. “Sadly, the pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

“Sheffield is not getting a fair deal from this Government and particularly Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield MP Nick Clegg who is supposed to represent our city.

“This report is the latest evidence proving it.”

Against:

Coun Colin Ross, leader of Sheffield Council’s opposition Liberal Democrat group, says: “I am always trying to highlight the good news stories about our city.

“As it happens, Sheffield has got lots to shout about.

“A record number of people in Sheffield are in work.

“There are more apprentices in Sheffield than any other major city.

“And the number of young people in Sheffield not in education or employment is at its lowest ever level.

“So it is a shame that a skewed pamphlet from left-wing academics attempts to paint Sheffield on the wrong end of a raw deal.

“It’s no surprise to see what this report chooses not to mention. As a percentage of total grants, Sheffield Council has seen smaller reductions this year than some of their so-called wealthier colleagues in the south.

“And while some southern councils receive grants of a few hundred pounds per household, Sheffield continues to get £1,200 per household – that is well above the national average.

“The report also ignores projects like Streets Ahead, which is rejuvenating Sheffield’s road network and is backed by £1.2 billion of Government investment.

“It also ignores the Growth Deal for Sheffield that was unveiled last week.

“That has secured a £320 million cash boost for the Sheffield City Region.

“And it will also create more than 28,000 jobs and training for 40,000 people in the future.

“As a city, we need to learn how to stand on our own two feet and concentrate on how we use the funds that we do have to build a strong economy and a fairer society in our region.”

Your views:

“Is the subtext to this article that the councils which received the most money lose the most money, because the same percentage is applied across all local authorities?”

Mark Joyce - “Sheffield Council has wasted millions – karma has come to bite.”

Angela Lane - “The Tories have always made the North/South divide worse.”

 

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