Police and health cash cuts debate

GOVERNMENT cuts will be the big issue for debate at tomorrow’s full meeting of Sheffield Council.

Ruling Labour councillors have put forward several motions criticising reductions in funding for house building, the police and NHS.

The meeting is the first full council meeting since July, after a break during August.

One motion, which slams a decision to cut 20 per cent from police budgets, echoes concern from the Police Federation and South Yorkshire Police Authority.

Budget cuts will result in 400 fewer police officers and 1,100 fewer police staff in South Yorkshire.

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “I hope that the rioting we have seen elsewhere in the country will awaken the Government of the need to maintain a strong police presence and reassure the public that the police can respond effectively.”

A Labour motion also criticises the way the NHS is funded, which means Sheffield Primary Care Trust will lose £14.2 million it has received for being a ‘deprived’ area.

Labour councillors are also attacking Government policies affecting young people, from tripling student fees to cutting youth services and funding for house building.

But opposition Lib Dems said the coalition Government is increasing overall funding for NHS Sheffield, which runs primary health care, despite loss of the extra funding for deprivation. This year’s total is up by £26m, equivalent to 2.7 per cent on last year.

Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “It’s unfair and irresponsible for Labour to be scaremongering in this way.

“Labour have made quite clear that had they been in Government they too would have made cuts to policing.

“Labour councillors should stop trying to pick a fight and instead look at the reasons why, while other cities rioted, Sheffield was peaceful.”