MPs clash over Sheffield’s funding cuts

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg has been accused of ‘dodging’ the question of why Sheffield Council has lost almost a quarter of its funding - when other councils received an increase.

The Deputy PM and Sheffield Hallam MP was quizzed in Parliament by Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central . Mr Blomfield said he had spoken to hundreds of people and a main concern was cuts.

He asked: “Will he explain why, on the Government’s own measure, Sheffield Council will have had a 22 per cent reduction in spending power over this Parliament, while areas of lesser need, such as Wokingham, had an increase? Does he think that is fair?”

Mr Clegg told Deputy Prime Minister’s questions that reductions had been spread across the country as fairly as possible based on greatest need - and expressed ‘dismay’ at Sheffield Council relinquishing control of libraries when other councils had not.

But speaking afterwards Mr Blomfield said: “Nick Clegg didn’t answer my question and completely dodged the issue. Sheffield and our big cities are being unfairly targeted by his Government - he has supported unfair funding cuts for Sheffield and let down our city.”

A spokesman for Mr Clegg said Sheffield had one of the highest allocations - £287 more per household than Wokingham this year - and would ‘continue to’.

He added: “If Paul Blomfield wants to see the council receive more money he should chastise local Labour councillors for allowing £38m in owed council tax to remain unpaid. That is the real scandal.”