7 February 2018
Sheffield City Council has today published proposals that will meet the challenge of a £44 million funding gap next year due to rising demand for essential council services and further government austerity cuts.
Proposals brought forward to meet the budget gap include £3 million of savings through renegotiations on the Veolia waste contract, an increase to the council tax of 2.99% following the government’s decision to lift the cap from 1.99% and a further increase to the social care precept introduced by the government in 2015. Sheffield council tax payers will see an average £1.10 per week increase to their council tax bills, from April 2018.
Next year the council will invest an additional £15 million on services to provide care for adults and children, due to the high increases in demand for these services. However, despite this, these services have still had to make significant savings due to the scale of increases in need for these services in the city.
Councillor Olivia Blake, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance said: “We are seeing, across the country, the impact that continued austerity and increased cuts are having on council services.
“Last week this reached a tipping point for one council which had to stop all spending because they have fallen over the cliff edge. In Sheffield, we have had to bridge another £44 million gap this year in addition to the £390 million over the previous seven years.
“Whilst we have robust plans in place to address these issues, the position nationally is quite frankly unsustainable into the longer term.
“Sometimes the reality of the cuts can get lost in the numbers, but this means reductions in services across the board.
“At the same time as we have seen repeated cuts, there are also unprecedented cost pressures on our services due to the national social care crisis. We are being forced to pick up the human cost that austerity is having on our city through increased poverty, and the impacts for children in care.
“As a council we will always prioritise the services for those in greatest need but we also have a responsibility to maintain the core services that the people of Sheffield use. From our budget consultation we know that this is what people want to see and we have also been able to invest in infrastructure through our capital programme in flood defences, building new homes and transforming the city centre through the retail quarter.”
The council’s 2018/19 draft budget will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on 14 February. The final budget will be approved at a full council meeting on 7 March.
The budget report is available at, http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=123&MId=6626&Ver=4