The Green councillors have set out their proposals to amend the council budget, which will be debated and voted on at the council meeting on 3rd March.

The full text of the amendment is below:

Amendment to be moved by Councillor Douglas Johnson, seconded by Councillor Alison Teal

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

  1. recalls the Director of Public Health’s briefing to this council, at the March 2020 budget-setting meeting, where it was advised that coronavirus was a developing situation and changing rapidly but there were no cases in Sheffield;
  2. notes how the global and local situation changed so dramatically so soon after that, in ways that were then unimaginable; and believes that the global pandemic has changed all of our lives for ever;
  3. reminds itself of another global issue with local impacts, namely climate change, and notes the need to address it as the emergency it is;
  4. believes that central Government has failed to manage the coronavirus pandemic well and that too many premature deaths have resulted from inadequate and ineffective testing and tracing at a national level;
  5. therefore has little confidence that central government will rise to the challenge of tackling climate change;
  6. believes it is therefore vital for councils to take a lead on acting locally; and that cities, in particular, are uniquely placed to respond to climate change;
  7. notes the shifting burden of local government funding from central government (through national redistribution of wealth) to greater taxation on Sheffield residents;
  8. acknowledges the very substantial need for care of older and disabled people and in children’s services and that, even passing on extra costs through council tax increases, the sum raised is still wholly inadequate to meet the cost of social care;
  9. nevertheless, supports the necessary increase in council tax rates, whilst remembering the need to protect the poorest households;
  10. notes, however, that long-term, outsourced contracts with big private businesses have not taken an equivalent share of the cuts to council services over the last ten years; and that long-term costs of finance stretch into Sheffield’s future until 2057;
  11. believes that Elected Members in Sheffield, however difficult the crisis we face, have a responsibility to do the best we can for the people of Sheffield, prioritising the available resources to protect communities and the most vulnerable and working towards a more equitable and resilient city;
  12. thanks staff in the Council, voluntary and private sectors for the way they have responded to austerity, worked through the pandemic and made sacrifices;
  13. welcomes the progress now being made on issues in previous amendments submitted by the Green Group, including:-
    1. webcasting of council meetings;
    2. mental health resilience work in schools;
    3. steps towards re-opening the Don Valley Railway;
    4. supporting the least well-off with council tax bills;
    5. funding to prepare brownfield sites for development, in order to save greenfield locations;
    6. The recruitment of safer neighbourhoods co-ordinators with a focus on young people;
    7. Bolstering the work of the private sector housing team to take enforcement action on substandard rented housing in the private sector;
    8. Putting greater resources into working in local areas
    9. Recognising climate change as a priority for the housing service
    10. Commitment not to hold any direct investments in fossil fuels or companies involved in tax evasion or grave misconduct
    11. More resources into cycling and walking infrastructure
    12. A scheme to provide e-cargo bikes
    13. Electric vehicles charging points in and around the city centre
  14. believes that the city’s resilience will be tested by the climate crisis and is therefore disappointed that, despite declaring a “climate emergency” in 2019, no substantial proposals appear in the Administration’s revenue budget to address the climate emergency;
  15. will therefore provide funding to recruit an entire team of environmental sustainability officers to address the need for warmer homes; locally-owned, clean energy production, such as solar farms; increased walking, cycling and public transport; and to support businesses and householders to make carbon-reducing changes in response to the climate emergency;
  16. will support this with funds specifically to investigate a large-scale solar farm;
  17. will support this further by the creation of a Carbon Reduction Investment Fund of £3 million, setting aside funds to complete new sustainability projects that reduce carbon consumption in order to avoid unnecessary delay in achieving a 2030 net carbon zero targets;
  18. regrets the lost opportunity of jobs in the renewable energy industry and thousands of cheaper energy bills for council tenants when proposed by Green Councillors in 2014;
  19. will, however, still promote energy efficiency schemes in maintained schools by using £500,000 of unallocated Community Infrastructure Levy receipts;
  20. will go further and set aside £1 million of unallocated New Homes Bonus to introduce solar panels on council housing, to generate energy and to reduce tenants’ bills;
  21. will build climate resilience into the city’s housing stock by ensuring that all funding for new-build council housing is only used for housing designed at high standards of thermal efficiency, so that future tenants do not risk fuel poverty;
  22. will earmark £1 million for walking and cycling, offering people riding bikes the protection of segregated cycle lanes and secure bike storage, thereby increasing the numbers of Sheffield citizens cycling to work and contributing towards improved physical and mental health and better air quality;
  23. will recognise the failure to build this city’s cycling infrastructure and will therefore appoint a cycling officer to promote the ability of Sheffield residents to choose this form of transport;
  24. welcomes the take-up of the e-cargo bikes promoted in the Green Group’s 2020 budget proposals; and will develop this idea further through working up ideas to create a zero-emission last-mile distribution hub, to allow the Council, businesses and organisations to deliver goods around the city in a cleaner, quieter, more sustainable way;
  25. will ensure that all future Local Transport Plan spending is used only on sustainable modes of transport that do not have any adverse impact on air quality;
  26. in line with this principle, will encourage use of public transport by providing free bus and tram travel on the six Sundays before Christmas, in place of the current subsidy for free car parking in the city centre;
  27. will take steps to reduce the demand for individual car ownership by investing in a new scheme to develop car-sharing in line with the “liftshare” scheme;
  28. believes the public is becoming more aware and concerned at the dangers of illegal levels of air pollution and will therefore invest in public-facing visual displays on the city’s air quality monitoring stations, to ensure the public can see and monitor the measure of air pollution affecting them in real time;
  29. will stop reimbursing car-parking claims for Elected Members who do not have a blue badge;
  30. will tackle dangerous and irresponsible parking, by creating 6 new jobs for parking enforcement officers, to be provided with e-bikes instead of patrol cars, where possible;
  31. will develop proposals to introduce a workplace parking levy for larger employers, in order to generate additional long-term revenue to invest in the city’s public transport, whilst improving air quality and encouraging more active forms of travel to work;
  32. will reduce the price of residents’ parking permits to 2010 levels and dissuade commuters from driving into the city centre by increasing on-street parking by 40p, meaning that people living in some of the most congested and polluted areas of the city are not subsidising other transport services;
  33. will re-introduce the FreeBee bus service in the city centre, operating every 10 minutes, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, by investing in 3 new electric buses owned directly by the local authority;
  34. will take steps to increase the potential for more affordable housing in the city by funding a pilot project of a small number of energy-efficient “container homes”, such as those already being pioneered at Heeley City Farm;
  35. will create an additional officer post to bring empty homes back into use, in order to tackle the blight and waste of empty houses and increase housing supply with far less energy consumption than new buildings;
  36. will reduce the cost to low-income households for bulky waste collections, reversing the Administration’s previous cut imposed on the poorest households and reducing fly-tipping and the burden on volunteer litter-pickers;
  37. notes the growing demand for food waste collections and better recycling and will therefore examine a wider recycling offer, including food waste and further plastics collection, as well as repair and reuse models;
  38. recognises the cultural and economic importance of the city’s heritage and will therefore expand skills in the Planning Service with funding for a dedicated heritage officer;
  39. asserts that in a properly regulated planning system, it is essential that developers comply with planning conditions and will therefore fund an additional planning enforcement officer to maintain high standards for the benefit of the public;
  40. will maximise the expertise of our planning officers and bring fees for pre-application planning advice for larger property developers into line with other major cities;
  41. will improve transparency by separately publishing the accounts of the licensing service, which are still not made available, despite statements to the contrary by the Leader of the council;
  42. will cut political spin from the Town Hall and will remove the posts of Group Policy Officers from the Council payroll, requiring politicians to do their own research and press work;
  43. will support the voluntary sector with a substantial increase of £142,000 for anti-poverty work in advice centres, which was previously cut by this Administration, thus protecting jobs and helping people facing the real difficulties of universal credit and other issues arising from the Covid pandemic;
  44. and, recognising the number of people in serious financial hardship, will increase the council tax hardship fund to £2 million, to protect the poorest families in the city;
  45. will recognise the expertise of the voluntary sector in obtaining external funding by providing money for a post in a voluntary sector organisation to assist the council in monitoring and applying for funding from central government and elsewhere, thus maximising future revenue to the city;
  46. recognises the particular difficulties faced by young people leaving care setting up their own homes for the first time and will therefore set aside funds to meet council tax bills paid until the age of 25;
  47. recognises the ongoing value of the city’s library service and rewards the hard work of volunteers who have supported their local branch libraries by providing funding to ensure a paid, professional librarian in every branch library;
  48. will pilot the development of a “Library of Things” in a staffed library to reduce individual consumption of occasionally-used household items;
  49. will continue funding for music lessons for children from low-income households, who experience significant barriers to culture and learning;
  50. notes that Green councillors first proposed the council adopt a Living Wage in 2008 to address low pay and will now tackle the principle of income inequality head-on by reducing the pay of senior officers on salaries over £50,000 a year, narrowing the gap between the highest and lowest paid in the Council to within a 10:1 ratio;
  51. will further reduce eight posts in the HR function to protect frontline services;
  52. notes that the proposals in this amendment will provide over £1 million in every future year for social care;
  53. will promote health, activity and fun by funding outdoor gym equipment in the city’s parks and developing the network of park runs throughout the whole city, working alongside community organisations;
  54. will commemorate the very origins of a municipal authority for public health by providing the public with clean, fresh water through the provision of new drinking fountains in major parks, thereby reducing waste and litter from single-use disposable plastics;
  55. will also support community environmental activism through Friends of Parks groups;
  56. recognises the benefits of community growing schemes and will therefore fund initial work on urban food production;
  57. remembering that parks are for people, not cars, will support these further improvements in the city’s parks by increasing car parking charges for those who choose to drive to them;
  58. will also invest in planting trees bearing edible fruit in open spaces and parks, to be decided and distributed fairly on a Ward basis;
  59. will promote the city’s economic opportunity of specialist tourism by engaging two part-time ecologists to market and lead specialist nature tours on Sheffield’s nearby and unique moorland, thereby generating further income for the Council and for the city’s economy;
  60. will fund an extra four Police Community Safety Officers (PCSOs);
  61. will support the many voluntary, business and public sector agencies trying to address homelessness, substance misuse, anti-social behaviour and aggressive begging in the city centre, by providing funds for a new worker under the Help Us Help umbrella;
  62. will put further resource into prevention work by supporting an additional substance misuse worker;
  63. will extend the contracts of the business advisers to the end of 2021 to support local businesses with recovery from lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic;
  64. notes that these proposals will result in over 50 new jobs, in addition to the increased employment from capital investment;
  65. recognises the hard work of Sheffield citizens who have highlighted the economic risks attached to fossil fuels and the need for Sheffield City Council to do business ethically, and welcomes the inclusion, in its Treasury Management Strategy, of commitments not to hold any direct investments in fossil fuels or companies involved in tax evasion or grave misconduct;
  66. approves the updating of the statutory Regulation 123 list to include the spending of unallocated Community Infrastructure Levy within the limits set out above;
  67. therefore requests the Executive Director, Resources, to implement the City Council’s Revenue Budget and Capital Programme 2021/22 in accordance with the details set out in the reports on the Revenue Budget and Capital Programme now submitted, but with the following amendments:-

 

Revenue budget spending proposals:

  2021/22
Spending proposals (£’000)
   
Recruitment of a 6 person sustainability team (1xG10, 4xG8 and 1xG5 – 9 months allowing for recruitment of full team) 212
Cycling officer (grade 8) 48
Free Christmas bus / tram travel on 6 Sundays before Christmas 66
Recruitment of 6 extra parking enforcement officers at net £4k each 24
Reduce Parking Permit Fees to 2010 levels 322
Re-introduce the Free Bee Bus – low emission vehicle at 10 minute frequency, 12 hrs/ day , 6 days / week 427
Additional Empty Homes Officer to bring empty properties back into use (grade 7) 42
Reinstate reduced-cost bulky waste collection for low-income households 25
Heritage officer (grade 8) 48
Extra Planning enforcement officer (grade 7) 42
Publish licensing accounts 10
Increase funding to voluntary sector for advice work 142
Increase Council Tax hardship fund to £2 million 200
Fund voluntary sector (SYFAB) to work on external grant funding for SCC including green grants 40
Provide Young Care Leavers with a fund to cover Council Tax bills 30
Staff for branch libraries (based on 16 PT members of staff) 336
Fund for music lessons for children from low-income households (to replace lost grant) 17
Investment in parks, including maintenance of drinking fountains (8k) & gym equipment (4k), & developing park runs in all areas of the city 50
Community liaison officers for parks (G6) 36
Ecology officers to promote nature tourism (2 half-time G8 posts) 48
Four extra Police Community Safety Officers 138
Help Us Help worker (grade 5) to assist DACT with admin work, liaison and co-ordination with relevant agencies. 32
Additional substance misuse worker in DACT 48
Sub-total 2,383
Feasibility study on a Warrington-style solar farm 25
Feasibility study on a zero-emission last-mile delivery hub 25
Promote car-sharing with “Liftshare” scheme 100
Workplace Parking Levy Study (Grade 8 post to develop work) 48
Feasibility study in to a wider recycling offer, including food waste and further plastics collection, repair and reuse 50
Library of Things pilot 30
Feasibility study in to urban food production 25
Continue team of business advisers (2.3 FTE) to support local businesses for a further 6 months 95
398
 Spending – subtotal 2,781

 

Revenue budget saving proposals:

  2021/22
Savings proposals (£’000)
   
Recurrent  
   
Remove Elected Members’ car parking claims 2
Additional 40p on street parking charge 772
Increase fees for pre-application planning advice for larger property developers 74
Remove Group Policy Officers (half year saving) 51
Reduce pay on employees paid over £150,000 by 20% (assume 6 month saving) 67
Reduce pay on employees paid over £100,000 by 15% (assume 6 month saving) 57
Reduce pay on employees paid over £50,000 by 10% (assume 6 month saving) 1,033
Remove 8 posts in HR (assume half-year saving) 162
Increase parking fees in parks from 50p to £1 per hour 82
Remove  free city centre parking at Christmas 83
2,383
 
Non-recurrent
Use of New Homes Bonus 398
Savings – subtotal 2,781

Capital budget spending proposals:

  2021/22
  (£’000)
Introduce further Solar Panels on the HRA Estate 1,000
Creation of a Carbon Reduction Investment Fund 3,000
Purchase of 3 x Electric Freebee buses 1,080
Fund to establish low-energy “container homes” pilot 250
Improved transport infrastructure, including segregated cycle lanes & bike storage 1,000
Air Quality Monitoring Digital Displays 54
Energy efficiency for schools fund 500
Outdoor gym equipment in parks 40
Provision of fruit trees on a ward basis 100
Drinking Fountains for City Centre & parks 24
Capital spending total 7,048

 

Capital budget saving proposals:

  2021/22
Savings proposals (£’000)
Use of unallocated New Homes Bonus 1,000
Use of unallocated New Homes Bonus 3,000
Use of unallocated New Homes Bonus 1,080
Reprioritise funding for acquiring new council homes 250
Use of unallocated Local Transport Plan spending if available (figure not confirmed yet) – if not use CIL 1,000
Use of unallocated Local Transport Plan spending if available (figure not confirmed yet) – if not use CIL 54
   
Use of unallocated CIL 500
Use of unallocated CIL 40
Use of unallocated CIL 100
Use of unallocated CIL 24
Financing of capital proposals total 7,048

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