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Lincolnshire PCC: Force cuts mean come 2016 all bets are off

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, Alan Hardwick, says the forces budget settlement for next year is worse than he feared, and that the force may have to make severe job cuts.

He says figures released today will mean a £3 million cut in real terms.

In the coming year we're going to have to ride out the storm, which we can do. We're still working out the full implications of the cuts, but I am optimistic that over the next year we will be able to police with the thin blue line not being made any thinner, but after that, I'm afraid from 2016 onwards, all bets are off.

– Alan Hardwick

The Home Secretary, Theresa May has agreed to meet with Mr Hardwick and his Chief Constable to discuss their concerns over the way Lincolnshire Police is funded in the future.

Lincolnshire currently has the lowest number of officers and staff per head of population in the country, and Mr Hardwick's statement comes after warnings of severe job cuts if changes are not made to the way budgets are allocated.

Meanwhile, The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCCs) warned that "maintaining a strong front line presence will inevitably become much more challenging".

John Prescott's son to contest Gainsborough seat

The son of former Labour Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has been selected to contest the Tory- held seat of Gainsborough in next May's general election.

David Prescott Credit: @davidprescott

44 year-old David Prescott has previously failed to be selected as Labour candidate in Greenwich and Woolwich and his father's constituency of Hull East.

Gainsborough has been represented since 1984 by Conservative Sir Edward Leigh, who had a majority of more than ten thousand at the last election.

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Social supermarket pilot in South Yorkshire to be rolled out nationally, say experts

Social supermarkets are likely to become a more common sight following the success of a pilot scheme in Goldthorpe.

Community stores could become more common place, says reseach Credit: PA

They are for shoppers on income support and also offer training courses to improve job prospects. A fifth of those who completed the training in Goldthorpe are now in work.

Fire protest in Haworth

There will be a march from the Haworth Fire Station at 1pm today, as campaigners aim to prevent its closure.

It was originally due to close two years ago but is now due to shut on New Year's Eve.

"We continue to work with representatives from Haworth Parish Council and other potential partners to identify if it's feasible for the fire station to be used as a community facility."

– Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Steve Beckley

Blunkett: No clarity in 'devolution deal'

Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP, David Blunkett, gave a cautious welcome to the Government’s 'devolution deal':

This “deal” is neither historic nor transformational. There is no new funding over and above existing plans, no new powers to raise money and no clarity about how the people of the City Region will either be engaged in decision making nor see any immediate improvement in their wellbeing.

It will be incumbent on an incoming government to put real flesh on the bones and genuine power rather than the responsibility for making difficult decisions with diminished resources.

– David Blunkett MP

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Council: 'Devolution deal' will help Sheffield to fulfil potential

Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said:

We welcome this next stage in the devolution of power to Sheffield, giving the city region more control over the vital areas of skills, housing, transport, and business support – a step towards allowing Sheffield to shape its own future and to fulfil its huge potential.

We have been fighting for this for years on behalf of the people of Sheffield and this is an important step in our journey towards devolution of the local powers we need to enable Sheffield to fulfil its huge potential.

Today’s deal will give Sheffield major control over the local skills and employment system – allowing us to ensure that young people and the unemployed are given the skills and training to get the jobs that our economy needs. This is a hugely significant step, as currently the skills system is largely determined in London, taking no account of the needs of Sheffield’s local economy. Although we welcome today’s announcement, it is one that the Government should have made years ago.

We also welcome the announcements that the Government is making giving us more influence over transport projects, providing more locally appropriate forms of business support, giving us more control over buses (including working towards Oyster-style smart ticketing), and beginning discussions about giving us more say over initiatives to get people back to work, including the Work Programme

However, this is only the start of the conversation with Government and we will continue to push Whitehall to go much further. £4.5 billion of public money is spent in Sheffield, but Sheffield only has a say over how a small proportion of how this is used. England continues to be one of the most centralised states in the world. We refuse to accept the second class economic performance of our city that results from policies developed in London, and for London, being applied here in Sheffield and will continue to push Government to give us more say over our own future.

We have a proven track record of delivering results where we have the freedom to make decisions that work for local people. As a result of the City Deal money we received in 2012 we are in the process of creating 4,000 new apprenticeships in the City Region. We can do this because we put businesses in the driving seat, and enabled them to develop the skills in the city that we need.

Sheffield was recently given a vote of confidence by Jim O’Neill and the RSA Growth Commission, which made it clear that Sheffield and other Core Cities with a Combined Authority are at the front of the queue when it comes to being ready for increased local powers. I am pleased that Government has acted on that vote of confidence, but Sheffield must be allowed to go further to ensure the city succeeds, and I am therefore calling on them to continue the process of devolution we have started today.

– Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council

Chamber of Commerce: Devolution Deal is good first step, but not far enough

Commenting on the New City Devolution deal for Sheffield, Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said:

As a Chamber we support the overall trend towards devolution because we back ourselves, as a region, to do a better job in growing the economy if we can have more control.

This is a good first step but we know a number of people are disappointed by the fact that we do not appear to have as much devolved responsibility as Manchester.

However we would urge caution. We live in a time of severe financial pressure so we have to ask whether the Chancellor is devolving spending power - or the responsibility for making cuts."

– Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

'Devolution deal' agreed to bring more powers to Sheffield

Nick Clegg is in Sheffield to confirm a city devolution deal which will shift power to the city, which he says will give the city greater control over transport, skills, housing and business support.

Sheffield's skyline Credit: Press Association

The deal for Sheffield will allow the city to introduce “oyster-style” travel cards, and local councils and businesses will have control over the majority of the skills budget for the area for the first time.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

It’s a historic moment for the great city of Sheffield, and I’m pleased to be bringing more power to the people of Sheffield today, after I’ve pushed for greater devolution to the North through my Northern Futures programme for so long.

Today’s deal will give council leaders clout to push forward local plans that strengthen the economy and the running of the city themselves, without waiting for Whitehall.

?Putting the people of Sheffield in control of our city’s destiny will ensure local plans are in line with what local people want. From transforming travel across the city, to improving access to skills training, the deal will mean changes in the city are shaped by those who live there.

Gone are the days of central government controlling all local decisions, and I’m proud to be at the forefront of these forward-thinking changes that see cities like Sheffield able to grow as they see fit.

– Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
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