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Council faces seventh year of budget cuts

 7 February 2017

The ongoing underfunding of adult social care services across the country has led to Sheffield City Council proposing a three per cent precept on next year’s council tax bills.

Sheffield City Council is also proposing a council tax increase of 1.99 per cent with an extra three per cent precept to fund adult social care, meaning most Sheffield properties will pay an extra 87p a week on their bills from April 2017.

Sheffield City Council spends a significant proportion of its budget on adult social care this year and faces pressures of an ageing population, increased demands for services and increased costs.

These pressures add up to £12m in extra demands which is why the council is proposing to add the three per cent social care precept to council tax bills.

Sheffield has less money to spend on services because Government is giving it less money in its budgets every year. The Council’s main source of Government funding is reducing by £23m in 2017/2018. Grant reductions, plus demand and cost pressures mean it needs to identify savings of around £40m of savings in 2017/2018.

Councillor Ben Curran, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources at Sheffield City Council, said: “The 2017/18 budget will see an additional £5.4m spent in supporting adult social care, helping to protect our most vulnerable people. It doesn’t go far enough to meeting the demands. We’ve called on the government to properly fund social care. It’s fallen on deaf ears so we’ve had to continue making difficult decisions in order to balance the books again.”

The Council has had to find £350m savings in total over the past six years, with a further £40m needing to be saved in 2017/18.

In 2017/18, the additional £5.4m raised through the social care precept still leaves the Council needing to find a further £35m, which includes a revenue support grant (RSG) cut of £23m.

The Council could also lose up to 225 jobs this year – it has to tell the Government how many job losses it may make in its annual HR1 form. As in previous years, the Council will take steps to minimise redundancies, such as offering Voluntary Severance and Voluntary Early Retirement schemes.

The next stage of the budget setting process will be to put the proposed 2017/18 budget before Cabinet in February, before a final version is agreed at Full Council in March.