When you hear of local services being cut who is responsible? Responsibility rests firmly with the current Conservative government and their Liberal Democrat partners in the previous coalition.
Let’s be clear, the Liberal Democrats have been no friends of this city. They were jointly
responsible for eye-watering cuts amounting to £300 million a year in Sheffield City Council’s budget.
These are the same Lib Dems who protest about cuts in local services, but put forward no credible plans to protect those services.
Over the past five years Sheffield City Council has a better record for protecting, and in some cases improving, local services than many comparable large cities.
The challenge is hard when year on year central government keeps cutting away council budgets, and councils in the North are suffering more than those in Tory heartlands in the South
But even in these hard times, our Labour Council has protected our vital adult social care provision and child protection services. It has led the way in pressing for social care workers to be paid the living wage and is working to end the practice of 15 minute social care visits.
It has pressed ahead with tackling the desperate need for social housing in our city and has an exemplary record in the creation of high quality apprenticeships to provide a future for our young people.
Over the past year, it has defended the funding for the Streets Ahead Programme, which is renewing our roads, pavements and street lighting.
But this is all under attack as this Conservative government implements even further cuts in local council funding, intending to take another £50 million
a year from our city.
Conservative-run councils in the South are receiving the lion’s share of £300 million “transitional funding” to protect them from spending cuts much smaller in scale than Sheffield has had to bear.
Sheffield Labour MP, Louise Haigh, has accused the Government of abandoning councils across Yorkshire. She says: “It is clear the Tories have given up any pretence of putting the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ on an equal footing with their heartlands.”
Meanwhile our own MP, Nick Clegg, has done little to stand up for our city.
Labour is working to protect vital local services and is making an effective challenge to this Government’s ideology-driven attack on the public funding which makes those services possible.
A vote for Labour on 5 May is a vote for the services which knit our community together.