Clive Betts MP accused Sheffield Council Leader Paul Scriven of failing to stand up for Sheffield in the national debate about the extent of the cuts being imposed on local councils.
He said: “I cannot remember any previous leader of Sheffield City Council – Labour, Liberal Democrat or Conservative – being afraid of speaking up for Sheffield, even when this might be an embarrassment for their own political party nationally.
It is now clear that Councillor Scriven has just become an apologist for the Conservative-led coalition.
Further evidence came today when Councillor Scriven’s name was notably absent from the signatories of a letter in The Times by Liberal Democrat council leaders. I know he was approached to sign, but refused.
Whilst the Liberal Democrat council leaders of Newcastle, Hull, Warrington and many others had the guts to tell it like it is and stand up for their communities, Councillor Scriven simply demonstrates his lack of commitment to our city.. I know that a number of Liberal Democrat councillors in Sheffield will be dismayed by his failure to stand up for Sheffield people.”
In the House of Commons debate on the Local Government Finance settlement yesterday (9 February 2010), Clive Betts also accused Councillor Scriven and Nick Clegg MP of simply misleading people about the extent of the impact on jobs and services of the cuts to Sheffield City Council and getting Tory Ministers to support them.
Clive Betts said: “The figures (on job and service losses) on Sheffield are misleading. The figures that have been quoted are for those redundancies that have been announced so far.
Many vacancies in Sheffield are being held unfilled, and they are going to affect services. We know of several hundred posts that will not be filled by one means or other, and we also suspect that the Lib-Dem administration there is trying to delay and avoid decisions, waiting to pass them on to the new Labour administration that will take office in May.
The budget has not yet been finalised, however, so no one can quote a figure of 250. Several hundred jobs are likely to be lost as a result of the budget-many times the figure given today.”
Clive Betts added today: “We are now watching the outcome of an unholy deal where Councillor Scriven doesn’t criticise the Secretary of State for his unfair treatment of the city and the Secretary of State praises a Liberal Democrat Council on the basis of a false analysis.”