Today I condemned the Government’s announcement of a £13 million Levelling Up grant to the city as ‘paltry’, and challenged Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove to restore the funding taken from the Council by successive Conservative Governments.
Mr Gove announced at the weekend that Sheffield would receive £13 million from the Government’s £1.5 billion brownfield fund earmarked for development, which will be given to the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.
Today I confronted him in the Commons this afternoon, with the amounts cut from the Council by successive Conservative Governments, saying:
“Since 2010 Conservative Governments have cut £2.1 billion funding to Sheffield Council. Our annual grant is £288 million lower in real terms. The Secretary of State’s announcement highlights Sheffield with a grant of £13 million which his press release described as “transformational”.
“If that’s transformational how would he describe the money we’ve lost? And when will he restore the funding we need?”
In his reply Michael Gove provided no further information on additional funding.
In real terms, £3 billion has been stolen from Sheffield City Council through cuts made by Conservative Governments since 2010 – and today they’re giving us a paltry £13 million back via the city region. It’s just dishonest.
The Government are taking us for fools. It’s a kick in the teeth. Any money is welcome but it’s a long long way from the ‘transformational’ change promised. It’s small change from the funding announced in last year’s budget.
Ministers are failing to deliver on promises in the Brexit referendum of replacing the £900 million regeneration funds that South Yorkshire would have received from the EU, and they continue to pile the pressure on stretched councils with reduced central Government funding.
Today’s announcement is a pathetic attempt at distracting people from the continuing mess surrounding the Prime Minister, in trying to persuade the public that the Government is working – but people see through it.