Today Sheffield City Council’s Finance Sub-Committee will be considering the latest report on the current budget position.
The quarterly review highlights the extraordinary difficulties the council is in following a decade of government cuts which has seen the council’s spending power reduced by nearly £250m (30% of its overall budget).
Making matters considerably worse for the city’s finances is the on-going cost of living crisis and inflationary pressures.
The council is currently hung – with no one political party having control – meaning that unlike in previous years it will not just be Labour councillors who will have to make difficult budget cuts.
In response to these pressures Labour Councillor Bryan Lodge has called on the council to freeze recruitment to vacant posts with a salary over £100k.
Councillor Bryan Lodge, Co-Chair of Finance sub-committee:
“After 12 years of government cuts the council’s finances have been decimated. But right now, it has never been as serious as the cost-of-living crisis and inflation is bringing the city’s finances to the brink.
“It’s a hung council – with no party in overall control – making it even harder for Labour to take the strong action needed to get on top of the finances.
“We’ve already seen Lib Dem and Green councillors misleading the public with their constant references to the Council being a Labour run administration – they need to be honest with the public and recognise their own responsibilities.
“But we won’t shy from our responsibilities and will work hard to get this right and to put Sheffield first. The council’s finance committee are meeting and Labour are proposing that the council should suspend any high-wage appointments whilst we stabilise the council finances.
“There are a number of positions that the council have recruited to over the past year, and there are a number of posts where we have Interim Directors appointed.
“We aren’t proposing that senior posts aren’t filled – but that we have staff here already who can take on these additional responsibilities. It would be irresponsible to be engaging in an expensive recruitment process at this time and focus needs to be on the budget rather than distractions around recruitment.
“Many difficult decisions are coming down the line and this is the first year of the new council structure with committees responsible for overseeing the delivery of services and control of their budgets. Labour councillors will hold all these committees to account”.