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Green Budget to cut fuel bills and make roads safer.

 20140307190227(1) 20140307190227(2)    Sheffield Green Party Councillors will propose a balanced budget at the Council meeting on 7th March.

Their budget provides for investing in solar panels on council housing which would reduce fuel bills for tenants, create jobs in the renewable energy sector and set up a long term income stream for more investment and services in the future.The Green budget will also use an underspend in public health to implement a 20mph speed limit in the city centre, which suffers from the worst road traffic accident rates in Sheffield. This should be combined with a clear plan to roll out 20mph limits across all residential streets in the city rather than the current piece-meal “zone” approach.

The Green Councillors have already shown how a small rise in council tax can prevent all the library closures, support disabled and elderly people in need of social care and double the hardship fund for the city’s poorest households hit by the loss of council tax benefit. The Greens have been listening to concerns raised by those receiving and working in care services. Care workers are worried that the standard of care is falling dangerously as council managers are put under pressure to cut budgets fast.

Cllr Creasy said,

“Our budget reverses some of the immediate threats to community facilities and services for the most vulnerable people. But there are also longer term investments to improve health, create jobs and protect the environment.”


A 2.95% increase in Council Tax would mean a rise of about 48p per week for the majority of Sheffield households – and less for single-person households.

The Green Group budget amendment text follows.




3. Amendment to be moved by Councillor Jillian Creasy, seconded by Councillor Robert Murphy

That the recommendations of the Cabinet held on 19th February, 2014, as relates to the City Council’s Revenue Budget and Capital Programme 2014/15, be replaced by the following resolution:-

RESOLVED: That this Council:
(1) deplores the cuts to local authority funding being imposed by central government and applauds the efforts of politicians and campaigners calling for an alternative to austerity;
(2) recognises that none of the major parties have promised to reverse these cuts;
(3) believes that however difficult the crisis we face, this Council has a responsibility to do the best it can for the people of Sheffield, prioritising the available resources to protect communities and the most vulnerable and working towards a more equitable and resilient city;
(4) accepts the projections from the Local Government Association that the revenue support grant will continue to dwindle and that, although the Coalition government favours freezing council tax, this is not sustainable;
(5) believes that a majority of Sheffield people are willing to pay tax in order to support services for the common good and is willing to test this in a referendum;
(6) therefore proposes to raise council tax by 2.95% (48p a week for the majority of households) in order to:
(i)         save the city-wide library service for another year, allowing time for a complete rethink of how voluntary efforts can be used to enhance the work of professional librarians;
(ii)        reduce cuts to services for the elderly and disabled and help ensure decent pay and conditions for care staff, putting an extra £1m into adult social care; and
(iii)       double the hardship fund available to the 30,000 households affected by the loss of council tax benefit;
(7) if the referendum succeeds, will use the proposed funding earmarked for independent libraries to fund a 20mph speed limit in the city centre, which suffers the highest level of road traffic accidents in Sheffield, and develop a strategy for rolling out a city wide 20mph limit on all residential roads (excluding main routes);
(8) will cut political spin emanating from the Town Hall by cutting the posts of political advisors and requiring politicians to do their own press work;
(9) will close the gap between the highest and lowest paid Council officers by reducing the pay of those on the highest salaries, tapering the cuts for those on middle grades and protecting those on less than £35k;
(10) will encourage the reoccupation of empty properties by cutting the council tax subsidy;
(11) will reduce the price of permits in parking permit zones to 2010 levels, which more closely reflects the true cost of running the schemes and means that people living in some of the most congested and polluted areas of the city are not subsidising other parking services;
(12) will ensure that funding reserved to cover consequential costs of a referendum is used to support voluntary sector advice services, provided the referendum is carried;
(13) will invest £1m of the New Homes Bonus and use £4m of prudential borrowing within the Housing Revenue Account to install solar panels on over 1000 suitable Council homes, thereby reducing fuel bills for the occupants and creating jobs in the renewable energy sector;
(14) awaits discussions between group leaders about the level of Members’ Allowances for 2014/15 and, in the event of agreeing to continue the pay freeze, will contribute the freed up resource to the Voluntary Sector Grant Aid budget;
(15) therefore instructs the Executive Director, Resources to implement the City Council’s Revenue Budget and Capital Programme 2014/2015 in accordance with the details set out in the reports on the Revenue Budget and Capital Programme now submitted, but with the following amendments:-
  Substantive budget proposal
  Council tax proposals (£’000) Spending proposals (£’000)
  2.95% Council Tax increase £4,720 Loss of freeze grant £1,968
  No need for Independent Libraries fund 262 Libraries cut deferred for 2014/5 with plans put in place for a sustainable staffed service across all libraries (p598 B1) £900
  Council tax hardship fund increased to compensate for Council Tax increase plus additional support £500
  Additional revenue from changes to Empty Homes Discount scheme [para 46] 200 Supporting the review of individual care packages to maintain quality of care across Communities £1,208
  Prevent cuts in hourly rates for home care services and erosion of wages in re-tendering (p577, B9) £200
  20’s Plenty City Centre scheme £262
  Hold Referendum – spend on local people and businesses £144
  Council tax sub-total £5,182   Council tax spending sub-total £5,182
  Plan B (if referendum rejects substantive proposal)
  Savings proposals (£’000) Spending proposals (£’000)
  Permanent reduction in spending:     Permanent additions to budget:
  Cut political assistants and group administrative support (p659 A8) £68 Parking Permit fees reduced to 2010 levels £298
  Reduce pay on employees paid over £50,000 by 15% (assume 6 month saving) £324
  Reduce pay on employees paid over £40,000 by 5% (assume 6 month saving) £271 Reserve for rebilling costs if referendum lost and/or use in making additional contribution to voluntary sector Grant Aid £500
  Reduce pay on employees paid over £35,000 by 2% (assume 6 month saving) £79
  Additional revenue from changes to Empty Homes Discount scheme [para 46] £200 Hold Referendum – spend on local people and businesses £144
  Savings sub-total £942   Spending sub-total £942
  Financing of Capital proposals Capital spending proposal

Topics: Budget, City Wide, Council, Cuts, General, Health, Jillian Creasy, Libraries, Road safety, Rob Murphy, Transport