Sheffield budget reveals no unplanned cuts to services

Sheffield City Council has set a balanced budget for 2020/2021 and for the for the first time in ten years will not have to make unplanned cuts to services.

Despite a decade of cuts from central government, prudent planning and financial management means the authority should not have to rely on the use of reserves to balance its budget and to continue delivering essential city wide services.

In last year’s budget £11.2 million of reserves was used to fund the 2019/20 budget gap, but the planned savings for the coming budget have prevented this unsustainable position and there is no planned use of reserves to balance the 2020/21 budget. The total level of service savings proposed for 2020/21 is £14.7 million and covers categories such as service effectiveness, cost reduction and staff savings.

A predicted funding gap of £35 million will be met from an additional £15 million of service savings, an additional £9 million from Business Rates and an additional £11 million from Council Tax. Subject to council approval, the Council Tax rate will increase by 3.99 per cent, including 1.99 per cent for the Core Council Tax and two per cent for the Adult Social Care Precept.

Terry Fox, deputy leader at Sheffield City Council said: “Brexit and the 2019 General Election have dominated the national political agenda and provide a challenging backdrop to our 2020/21 budget. There has been little central government focus on the domestic issues that matter to the people of Sheffield, such as the continuing and increasing pressures on our health and social care services, the climate emergency, and air quality issues.

“The council has seen nine years of cuts to central government funding for local services, so the announcement in the September 2019 Spending Review that, for the first time in ten years, additional funding would made available for 2020/21, was welcome. This additional funding means we don’t have to make unplanned cuts to services in 2020/21. However, like the rest of local government, we continue to call for additional resources. The additional 2020/21 funding addresses in-year cost pressures, but does nothing to reverse the cuts of the previous nine years. This one year settlement gives us no certainty beyond 2020/21 so we hope that a further settlement covering 2021/22 to 2024/25 will be announced in the summer, to allow us to plan for services over the medium term rather than year-to-year.”