The pandemic has placed an enormous strain on Sheffield’s budget, but a decade of sustained funding cuts has also resulted in a £211m (29%) reduction in core spending power in Sheffield – working out as a £828 reduction per dwelling. This has made it harder and harder to balance the council’s finances.
However, at tomorrow’ s Council meeting, the Co-operative Executive will be submitting proposals for a balanced budget
Speaking about the challenges Cllr Leader Terry Fox said:
“Setting this year’s budget has been immensely hard and has meant some tough choices being made none of us would want to make. But we will always look after vulnerable people in this city, and over the last twelve months we have continued to maintain essential services that meet the needs of our city, whilst rising to the massive increased demand.
“Throughout our city-wide fight against Covid-19 we have closely supported the NHS with the vaccine roll-out and gone above and beyond to provide personal protective equipment.
“The Labour-led Co-Operative Executive has continued to support residents and businesses that are struggling because of the pandemic – through initiatives such as free food vouchers during school holidays, extra support for the care sector and their employees, and self-isolations grants and extra funding for businesses”
“But above all we are committed to getting the day-to-day basics right and delivering a proper service from the council for Sheffield residents”.
As well as putting forward a balanced budget for 2022/23, Labour councillors will propose a series of amendments using unspent funds from various projects.
These funds are largely from capital projects, meaning they can only be used for one-off spending commitments rather than long-term revenue pressures.
Speaking about the Labour amendment Cllr Terry Fox said:
“It’s clear that the city is facing a cost of living crisis. It’s also clear that as a council we need to respond in a way that roots support in our communities.
“We’re also facing a climate crisis, but the two are interlinked and we can’t pursue policies that hit people the pockets when they’re already struggling. Climate polices need to also be about positive change for people – and what we’re proposing will do just that, by investing in more renewable energy for community hubs and council homes. Which will keep bills down as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions.
“We’re also proposing another £2 million into our district centres. This was a Labour Manifesto commitment last year and it has delivered funded schemes throughout the city. We want to go again next year and cover even more ground.
“We also want to put extra funding into tackling social isolation, food poverty, and extra funds to support a greater focus on street cleaning.
The full Labour amendment is as follows and it will be voted on at the Budget Council Meeting on Wednesday 02 February.
District/Local Centres – £2m
£2 million to support the city’s district and local centres’ economic recovery. This will build on the programme delivered last year through the Covid-19: Economic Recovery Plan.
This will be earmarked for outside of the city centre.
Intervention and prevention – £1 m
Direct funding support for specific projects to help community organisations to tackle social isolation.
Street Clean Enforcement £500k
Street clean environmental enforcement one-off funding directed specifically to the areas of most need, to deal with issue around litter, vermin and street cleaning.
Extend Household Waste Recycling Centres openings to 7 days a week – £281,000
All sites open 7 days per week from Apr 1st to Sep 22 (Summer hours 9:30 to 17:30)
This would see the sites operate the same opening hours as seen during the same period in 2021 and will help to mitigate against the increased risk of queuing issues seen during the Summer months.
Local renewable energy for community and council buildings £3.5 million
Help to tackle Sheffield fuel poverty and drive forward our Clean Growth Agenda
Sheffield has declared a Climate Emergency and set a target for the city to be net zero carbon by 2030. The Pathways to Decarbonisation for Sheffield report produced by ARUP acknowledges the important role that small scale renewables will have in Sheffield meeting its decarbonisation targets.
To lead by example and to decarbonise appropriate buildings utilised by our communities, a proposal of £3.5m capital investment is sought to install renewable energy along with the required energy efficiency measures to support the installation of renewable energy on our estate, especially community hubs, such as schools, libraries, community centres and review council housing stock that may also be potential.
These schemes will not only support the decarbonisation of the council’s estate but will also instigate supply chain and low carbon business and skills opportunities in the local economy. Any schemes will be subject to full feasibility and business case.
As part of this funding, we will also look at how we keep the excess energy from the district heating network and explore options around an energy storage facility.
The funding will also be used to help lever in additional external grant funding such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme through which the Council has previously secured £1.0m for the decarbonisation of 4 council buildings. As the funding requirements become tighter, any capital from the Council can help increase the amount of grant funding.
Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – £100k
After the last two years, the very least Sheffielders deserve is a party. The four-day bank holiday weekend in June presents an ideal opportunity, with the city coming together to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to mark her historic 70-year reign.
There will be no charge to residents to close roads for street parties and Council led events will be put on, together with extra funding for communities to deliver street parties and local pageants.
£100k for defibrillators for community centres
Working with community groups and charities to help match-fund their bids to install Public Access Defibrillators (cPADs). Specific consideration for match-funding will be directed to areas without much current coverage.
£200k for Food Access Plan
Extra support to help develop further and strengthen the food access plan, including increasing food sustainability and supporting luncheon clubs