Sheffield Labour councillor opposes own decision

Sheffield City Hall - Some rights reserved by Welcome to SheffieldAngela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge has called on Sheffield City Council not to close Stocksbridge Leisure Centre. Stocksbridge is in the remote rural north of Sheffield and local people will not have the same access to alternatives that others in Sheffield might.

So who is making the proposal to close Stocksbridge Leisure Centre? Well it turns out that the cabinet advisor for leisure on Sheffield City Council is Smith’s husband, one Cllr Steve Wilson.

Might this be a topic to discuss at home before troubling the press?

But there’s more. Cllr Wilson is also employed in Angela Smith’s office as, wait for it, press officer. So his job is to issue a press release calling on himself to change his own decision.

Amid this farce the people of Stocksbridge stand to lose their leisure centre. While Sheffield faces a tough spending settlement, and is also under fire for the proposal to close Don Valley Stadium, where Jessica Ennis does part of her outdoor training, the council continues to spend large amounts of money on trade union officials, Park Hill flats – a vanity brutalist housing project, consultants and office refurbishments.

Meanwhile there is a £10m cash injection of government money into sporting facilities in Sheffield as part of an initiative to develop a centre of excellence in sports and exercise medicine as part of the Olympic legacy. If successful this would be a model for the rest of the country. It is not clear whether this might offer some relief to Jessica Ennis or the people of Stocksbridge, but perhaps Cllr Wilson could issue a press release to himself calling for more joined up thinking.

* Joe Otten is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Sheffield Central

Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url for Twitter and emails.


  • James Hardy 19th Jan '13 - 6:29pm

    Couldn’t help but be reminded of this:

    Sir Humphrey: It is so difficult for me you see, as I am wearing two hats.
    Jim: Yes, isn’t that rather awkward for you.
    Sir Humphrey: Not if one is in two minds.
    Bernard: Or has two faces.

  • Tony Dawson 19th Jan '13 - 8:54pm

    Surely, the headline does not match the story? It is the wife opposing the policies ‘advised’? by her husband. It is a bit unwise to assume that husband and wife agree on everything! Similarly, he might well issue his wife’ press release opposing the closure but that’s what he’s paid to do. Doesn’t mean he agrees with her.

    Having said all the above, it is still a farcical situation.

  • that old Yorkshire epithet springs to mind ” Bulls–t baffles brains” at least that`s what some of our politicians think.

  • Politics is a strange business which seems to put people in farcical situations. For instance in Feb 2012 a Lib Dem peer, Lord Lester, voted against his own amendment.

  • peter.tyzack 20th Jan ’13 – 11:00am
    .. and wasn’t there some rule about MPs not employing family members.?

    Yes Nick Clegg has gone very quiet on “cleaning up politics”

  • .. and wasn’t there some rule about MPs not employing family members.?

    As I recall any family member already employed was grandfathered in

  • Peter Davies 20th Jan '13 - 5:37pm

    Trade unions have to have 500 members at Sheffield City Council to get their fist rep released and they get another rep for every 1000 members after that. This is more than most private companies where recognition agreements exist. Surely consulting with a rep is less of a drain on resources than consulting with thousands of individuals. Stop jumping on the Tory union bashing band wagon with every story.

  • Tony Greaves 20th Jan '13 - 6:13pm

    A wonderful story.

    As for not employing family members, a completely daft rule.

    “Politics is a strange business which seems to put people in farcical situations. For instance in Feb 2012 a Lib Dem peer, Lord Lester, voted against his own amendment.”

    But enough of us voted for it to pass it!

    Tony Greaves

  • Peter,

    Sheffield has 19 full time reps costing £0.5m pa, representing 3 unions, and part timers on top. It is hard to see how this is necessary for the occasional consultation.

    At the very least, this should be considered a “back office” function to take cuts before the front line, and if you consider that union-bashing it is hard to see how any reasoned debate of the role of unions is going to be possible.

  • Peter Davies 21st Jan '13 - 9:24am

    Joe, it seems that there isn’t much understanding out there as to what level of consultation is required to make hundreds of people redundent, achieve structure changes in every department in the Council and consult about any reasonable alternative to cutting front line services. It is a huge piece of work and a failure by an employer to consult can result in a protective of up to 12 weeks wages for each person employed. The Council employs almost 8000 people excluding School staff (that would be almost 12,000). I need not tell you how big that bill could be if officers fail to carry out that consultation properly. This is the law and that is where the debate on consultation should be. I for 1 do not believe in weekening employees rights but that’s just me.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn McHugo 30th May - 11:14am
    There is something unpleasantly demagogic about the right-wing attacks on the Human Rights Act. The demagogue in chief is none other than Michael Gove. One...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 30th May - 11:09am
    So the most dangerous person in the UK, as far as Putin is concerned, is the MP for Ludlow, Phillip Dunne - number 18 on...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 30th May - 10:50am
    "The Human Rights Act is vital and we must fight to keep it" Don't be absurd, Tim, insomuch as it will be replaced by a...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 30th May - 10:34am
    "The Human Rights Act is a favourite target of the right wing press. They hate it because it is ‘European' ..." Tim Farron is right...
  • User AvatarTony Dawson 30th May - 10:33am
    David, your argument has some point but it is a little too absolute. One hell of a lot of people who are voting for Labour...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 30th May - 10:26am
    Charlie You say -- "..In Germany , the education system delivers what the country needs to produce an economy based upon high value manufacturing. "...
Sat 30th May 2015
Sun 31st May 2015
Mon 1st Jun 2015
Tue 2nd Jun 2015
Wed 3rd Jun 2015
Thu 4th Jun 2015
Fri 5th Jun 2015
Sat 6th Jun 2015
Mon 8th Jun 2015
Tue 9th Jun 2015
Wed 10th Jun 2015
Thu 11th Jun 2015
Fri 12th Jun 2015
Sat 13th Jun 2015
Wed 17th Jun 2015
Thu 18th Jun 2015
Sat 20th Jun 2015
Sun 21st Jun 2015
Thu 25th Jun 2015
Fri 26th Jun 2015
Sat 27th Jun 2015