Letters: Taxpayers facing rising bills fund ‘spin doctors’ while services are cut

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The Green group budget amendment for 2017-18 included this: “Cut political spin from the Town Hall and will cut the posts of Group Policy Officers”. These officers are paid by the council but do research and press work for the Labour and Lib Dem groups. That amendment was rejected by the majority vote of Labour councillors.

Since the pre-dawn raid on Rustlings Road in November 2016 we have seen the Labour spin doctors go into overdrive. “Trees are only replaced as a last resort” is trotted out again and again despite clear evidence to the contrary. We see more and more attempts to deride tree campaigners with many unsubstantiated and untruthful claims. In October, a judge rejected the council’s attempt to send Coun Alison Teal to jail. The court found she had not broken the injunction and the council were wrong.

Greens will put a similar proposal to be voted on at the Sheffield Council budget meeting on March 7. The cost of three group policy officers in 2018-19 is £112,000. For comparison, the cutting of three and a half full time equivalent library staff saved £98,000 this financial year.

The last 15 months has seen a dysfunctional and dictatorial council increasingly use spin doctors to try and cover up their failings. One truth outlined by the Labour-run council is that council budgets are under pressure as never before. Council taxpayers facing a 5.99 per cent increase in bills cannot continue to fund political spin while vital services are cut.

Eamonn Ward

Sheffield Green Party