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 3 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 Rd 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 defame and deride tree campaigners with many unsubstantiated and untruthful claims. In October, a judge rejected the Council’s attempt to send Cllr Alison Teal to jail. The court found she had not broken the injunction and the council were wrong. A Freedom of Information request has since uncovered e-mails showing that council officers conspired to spin the case dismissal as “on a technicality.”
Greens will put a similar proposal to be voted on at the Sheffield City Council budget meeting on March 7th. The cost of 3 Group Policy Officers in 2018/19 is £112,000. For comparison, the cutting of 3 ½ full time equivalent library staff saved £98,000 in this financial
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% increase in bills cannot continue to fund political spin while vital services are cut. Councillors must do the right thing on March 7th.
Sheffield Green Party