Sheffield’s Green Councillors have called for the Council to bring its building repair and maintenance (currently contracted with Kier) back in-house when the current contract ends in 2014. Their call comes in an amendment to a Labour motion at the meeting of the Full Council on November 7th. It criticises the cost and inflexible nature of long term private contracts.
Green Cllr Rob Murphy comments : “The recent revelation that large companies made £9m profit on contracts for public services with the City Council is very worrying. Our City Council should be protecting Sheffield’s most vulnerable during government cuts, not lining the pockets of shareholders and top executives.’
He added ‘We want a return to the flexibility, accountability and value for money of council-run public services, and keeping money and much needed jobs in the local economy. The Council should begin this process with the end of the Kier contract in 2014.”
1 – Kier LLP’s partnership with Sheffield City Council for the maintenance and repair of council buildings (including council housing) ends in 2014.
2 – The Green amendment to council motion 9 reads :
by the addition of :
(l) believes the Council’s ability to manage changes to its budget has been severely restricted by the number of large, long-term contracts entered into with private companies for the provision of public services
(m) believes that the estimated £9m profit made last year by the largest contractors would have been better spent on protecting the most vulnerable from central government cuts
(n) also believes that the loss of £9m from the local economy has a significant effect on local businesses and jobs
(o) will take action to bring services supplied in the Council buildings repair and maintenance contract back ‘in house’ in 2014
3 – The Labour motion wording follows :
9. NOTICE OF MOTION GIVEN BY COUNCILLOR BRYAN LODGE
That this Council:-
(a) notes the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2013/14 to 2017/18 presented to Cabinet last month outlining the financial position of Sheffield City Council over the next five years;
(b) expresses its anger and dismay at the Council’s budget position which is now significantly worse than was previously estimated because the Government are making additional unfair cuts to Sheffield as a result of their failure to grow the economy and notes that even without the additional cuts the Council was already facing an impossible budget position which will have a massive impact on Council services in Sheffield;
(c) notes that this is in addition to the £140 million that has been reduced from the Council’s budget over the past two years meaning that future cuts will unavoidably have a bigger impact on Council services that are valued by local people;
(d) further notes that the £50 million of cuts to next year’s budget followed by £35 million the following year means that the cuts will now total £225 million over four years;
(e) deplores this Government’s continued attack on Sheffield and believes that they have no understanding of the lives of normal hardworking families and the fact that they are making additional cuts to local government at the same time as giving income tax cuts to millionaires indicates the values of this Government;
(f) is shocked at the irresponsibility of the Government who will not confirm the final settlement until the Autumn Statement in December, when the Council has to set the budget in March;
(g) continues to oppose the unfairness of the cuts which see councils with the highest levels of deprivation receiving the majority of the cuts whilst some of the wealthiest areas in the country receive almost no cuts at all;
(h) deplores the continued broken promises of the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam, who earlier this month stated that he would ensure that future cuts are targeted at the wealthiest, whilst at the same time being the Deputy Prime Minister in a Government which is making additional unfair cuts to Sheffield and reneging on its promise that 100% of Sheffield’s business rates would be localised to spend on local services by now reducing this to 50% of business rates;
(i) welcomes that the present Administration have identified protecting services for the most vulnerable as a key priority in addition to the significant work that the present Administration are undertaking to support the development of the local economy;
(j) further welcomes that the present Administration are standing up for Sheffield, taking action to bring attention to the damaging impact of the reckless and unfair cuts that this Government are making to Sheffield and to be honest with local people by making clear the impact it will have on Sheffield; and
(k) resolves to continue to stand up for Sheffield, focus on jobs, be business friendly and support and protect communities, however, regrets that given the level of cuts that the Government are imposing on the Council there will be significant changes to council services in the future which is unavoidable due to the Government’s reckless and irresponsible actions.