The last twelve months have meant public services have been stretched to the limited. The impact on Sheffield City Council has been huge and posed massive financial problems.
Despite the challenges, under Labour the council has managed to keep Sheffield safe – including helping 22,000 people through the community helpline, distributing hundreds of thousands of items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) every week, supporting schools to stay open (for children of key worker and vulnerable families), and assisting 4,700 businesses across the city to access grants totalling well over £100 million.
But as well as looking at the immediate challenges, Labour councillors are planning for a better future and a post-Covid Sheffield.
On Wednesday 3rd March financial plans for the next 12 months were ratified by councillors – ensuring that next year will see extra investment to stimulate the local economy, whilst supporting people’s needs and improving council services.
Speaking about Labour’s Budget plans for 2021/22, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance Terry Fox stated:
“The last year has been incredibly difficult, and I want to thank every council worker for the role they have played in keeping the city safe. Care workers, waste collectors, and indeed any Sheffield employee, have done an amazing job.
“Labour councillors will continue to support staff and services and we will continue our work alongside communities to keep people safe and well.
“I think everyone would agree that the government have been placed in an incredibly difficult position, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it when they fail to deliver. We acted to provide 6,000 laptops to school children during lockdown, to access home schooling, and we funded connectivity for families without.
“We also provided free school meal vouchers to over 22,000 children over school holidays, after the government initially refused to act, and we have provided additional support from council funds to residents struggling to pay for heating, utilities, or food, via unique Sheffield hardship schemes”.
“The city’s care workers have done so much this last year, and we are showing our support for them by committing an extra £4.2 million into the care sector, to help give carers a deserved pay rise.
“But this is also a forward-looking budget, addressing existing and new issues. We are investing £2million extra into for Youth Services, and an extra £1 million for Community Safety, to strengthen work with the police and communities to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Sustainability and tackling climate change is also at the heart of what we do, with millions of pounds within the Budget to help protect the environment and improve air quality.
“I’m delighted that on Wednesday Labour’s budget plan was agreed, and I look forward to implementing these big changes over the year”