Following eight years of government funding cuts, Sheffield City Council has set out the further financial challenges and rising pressures it faces, and how it will manage these demands.
The scale of these cuts has resulted in councils losing 60p in every £1 of core Government funding and since 2010 Sheffield City Council has already had to find hundreds of millions of pounds in savings.
The Government’s austerity programme is impacting on the people of Sheffield, across all public sector providers. Schools will also be worse off by £12.1m this year, a cut equivalent to £170 per pupil.
The financial challenge is not just about cuts as councils face significant increase in demand for some of the most critical services, including social care for adults and children. Sheffield City Council must balance those demands with meeting the need for investment, to continue on the current path of economic growth.
There is a growing black hole in Local Government finances nationally. Councils across the country are buckling under the pressures of funding cuts with Northamptonshire the first council unable to balance their books.
In the face of unprecedented cuts to funding, Sheffield City Council has, as far as possible, prioritised protecting frontline services and those for the most vulnerable in the city. This is becoming increasingly difficult and the Council must now bridge a further funding gap estimated at around £40 million over the next four years.
Councillor Olivia Blake, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance, said:
The scale of funding cuts across the country is devastating local government and having a huge impact on the services that citizens expect and deserve.
In Sheffield we still have to bridge a further £40 million gap over the next four years, on top of the £430 million we’ve already cut from services.
Pressure is being felt across the public sector and we are being forced to pick up the cost that austerity is having on our city through increased poverty, and the impacts for children in care. As pressures on health services rise nationally this also increases pressure on our social care services.
We will always prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable in Sheffield and our Medium Term Financial Strategy sets out how we plan to deliver the best possible services across all council areas, but something has to change. We continue to press the Government to deliver a fair and sustainable funding system to allow us to deliver the highest quality services the people of Sheffield deserve.
The Council’s financial strategy sets out how it will continue to deliver quality essential services by focusing on
- good financial management – continuing to prudently manage the Council’s finances, protecting services and making bold investments to drive change
- high quality preventative services – adult social care services working with the NHS and partners, focusing on prevention to improve quality of outcomes for people
- a stronger economy that makes the city fairer with better employment opportunities, better incomes, more businesses, a transformed city centre and good quality affordable homes.
The Medium Term Financial Strategy was approved today with the decision and full report now available at http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=2108