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Public consultation opens on challenging budget for 2022/23

Sheffield Town Hall  with the Peace Gardens fountains below and a blue sky

Consultation on our budget proposals for 2022/23 is open and we want to hear from as many local people as possible by January 17.

The council is facing a challenging financial position this coming year following the enormous demands placed on services during the Covid pandemic but remains ambitious for the city’s future. 

In the coming year the council is facing a budget gap of £98million before savings are made and actions are taken. So far, the council has declared £35.7million in savings leaving a remaining net budget gap of £62.3million. 

Since the pandemic, there have been unprecedented demands on health and social care services which the council has not hesitated to provide but now faces the challenge of achieving a balanced financial position for the coming year. 

The authority is currently working to find areas of additional savings and income to balance the budget. Schemes such as Voluntary Early Retirement and Voluntary Severance are already underway to look at ways to reduce spend this year, with the hope to achieve a more manageable starting point for the coming year.

This year’s Government Spending Review highlighted there will be no additional funding given to local authorities to tackle the ongoing impact of Covid. Instead, local authorities can expect a share of the £1.6billion funding for councils for 2022/23 but how this money will be distributed is not yet known. Sheffield City Council anticipates it will receive £15million, which is not sufficient to close the budget gap and does not compensate Sheffield, and other local authorities, sufficiently for spiralling costs or mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Our budget proposals include an increase in Council Tax, in line with the Government’s Spending Review. This allows councils to increase Council Tax by up to 1.99% with an additional 1% precept to help cover adult social care costs. This will see a total increase of 2.99% applied, raising an extra £6.711million. 

Our consultation asks people to think about how we spend and collect money and what areas we should spend more, less or the same on in order to balance the budget, including: 

  • Revenue - covers the day-to-day running costs of our services, such as schools, adult and children’s social care services, planning and leisure
  • Capital - pays for buildings, roads and housing and for major repairs to them
  • Fees and charges - collected for a number of different services such as social care, building control, parking, bereavement, hire of facilities, licensing, sport and leisure, libraries, waste services, planning and more

Cllr Cate McDonald, Executive Member for Finance and Resources, said: 

“Since the pandemic began we have faced challenges like we have never seen before and it’s not over because we are now dealing with the financial consequences all the while still meeting the ongoing needs of our residents. 

“While we are met with one of the toughest budget gaps in recent years, due to Government cuts and the pressures of Covid, we as a council have managed our finances prudently and will ensure we balance the budget, continue to provide much needed services to residents and put Sheffield first. 

“Over the past decade we have faced cuts to our budget, and since 2010/11, Sheffield has had its spending power reduced by £215m (31%) – the equivalent of £383 for every Sheffield resident. This is above average for the rest of England.

“As a result, hard-working people continue to shoulder this shortfall of funding. The situation is not sustainable and we need the Government to provide the relevant funding to help Sheffield recover.

“We are prioritising the vulnerable and remain ambitious for the city and the aims of our One Year Plan but acknowledge that some difficult choices will have to be made. We want local people to tell us what they think through the consultation and help us shape these decisions.”

Have your say by completing the online consultation by January 17.