Letter to the Sheffield Star
It seems Star letter writers Paul Birch and Howard Greaves are unaware of the significant changes that have been made at Sheffield Council this year. Thanks to the tremendous work of “It’s our City”, who secured a referendum to change how our city is governed, there is no longer a cabinet or a strong leader model in the Council. A committee system has replaced it. All councillors, from all parties, represented on the council, now take responsibility for decision-making as members of citywide Policy Committees. The Council is currently made up of 39 Labour, 29 Liberal Democrat, 14 Green, 1 Conservative and 1 Independent Councillor. Each committee is made up of Councillors in roughly the same proportion as the totals. As no party has more than half the seats, the Councillors need to work together to pass new policies.
So, much as Green Party Councillors would love to introduce Active Travel Schemes throughout the city, they are only able to with the support of other parties. Funding for these comes from central Government grants, so, it is not paid out of Council Tax. Active Travel Schemes are successful in encouraging more people to walk and cycle and leave their cars at home, reducing air pollution and emissions. The Council have declared a climate emergency and has committed to net zero by 2030. We have to get serious about this and Active Travel schemes are one tool the Council has to move things in the right direction.
Meanwhile, the Government’s austerity continues. Between 2010 and 2020 Government cuts have resulted in the Council’s spending being reduced by £211m (29%) representing a fall of £828 for every household in Sheffield. Very difficult decisions will have to be made again this year.
Ecclesall Green Party