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I am a Councillor on Sheffield City Council for Arbourthorne ward in Sheffield and a Labour Party activist.

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Star Cabinet Profile Piece – “My mission in life is to make Sheffield the best it can be”

Jack-2-59 pm 2 tea - croppedCabinet Member for Development & Transport: “My mission in life is to make Sheffield the best it can be”
“I couldn’t be a priest so I became a Councillor,” said Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and development at Sheffield City Council. “I always wanted to live a life of service and politics is a powerful way you can make the world a better place.”
Councillor Scott has boundless energy.
Councillor Scott has boundless energy. In a cafe in the Millennium Gallery he chats enthusiastically about climate change, trams, equality, family, the Peak District and how Sheffield is ‘the greatest city in the world’.
He leads on a wide range of issues in transport and development including creating more affordable homes, HS2, fracking, ensuring our rivers are ready to face climate change in 100 summer’s time and, most recently, plans for a controversial pollution charge.
Councillor Scott’s drive to become a politician came partly from experiencing inequality at a young age.He said: “We grew up in a council house in Northamptonshire. There was never any money and my mum got income support, which doesn’t exist anymore but that was all we had.

“I was the only child in my year to get a scholarship to our local private school which was very posh and tens of thousands of pounds. There was no way we could have ever afforded it but I was quite smart.

“The impact inequality has on people and how unfair things can be always really struck me. There were big Jaguars and Range Rovers coming up the drive to the quad and then us in our 20-year-old Volvo, and kids would say things. So I became quite competitive and driven.

“I would see people not working any harder than my mum was, in some cases working a lot less, and yet had a whole range of opportunities and breaks that we never had as a family.”

He joined the Labour Party at 16 and was ‘so radical, it made Jeremy Corbyn look quite moderate’.

After leaving school, he studied politics at the University of Sheffield at which point he started to ‘seriously consider’ becoming a Catholic priest. But after falling in love with his now wife, Councillor Scott re-evaluated and decided to run in his local elections in Arbourthorne.

He said: “It never occurred to me to go and earn a load of money in the private sector, in my professional life I’ve worked for a load of different charities as well. That’s always been what’s motivated me.

“I came to Sheffield in 2004, and on about my third day I decided I was going to live the rest of my life here. I think it’s amazing, the blend of things in Sheffield makes it so special and unique.”

Councillor Scott is a ‘well shuffled card’, having taken on cabinet roles for environment, recycling and streetscene, community services, transport and sustainability, and now development and transport in the space of six years.

“It’s great, because I’ve got to learn lots of different things about everything,” he said. “I really believe that when you look around this city you can see the impact the council has made for good.

“The libraries, museums, parks, outdoor spaces, schools and roads are there because they were delivered by a Labour council who got why they were important. That’s what I hold onto as my guiding star. My mission in life is to make Sheffield the best it can be and there is nothing I would rather be doing.” With his most recent portfolio, Councillor Scott’s five key focuses are: new homes, transport, development, climate change and air quality.

He recently worked on plans to distribute contested development money, from the Community Infrastructure Levy, to the most deprived areas of the city, which angered some opposition Councillors.

Councillor Scott is also passionate about tackling climate change and at a recent Star Cabinet event described it as the “biggest threat we have ever faced as a species” and branded it “as big a threat in the twenty-first century as war was in the twentieth.”

To tackle this, Councillor Scott has taken bold actions to reduce carbon including plans for a pollution charge in the city centre of up to £50 a day on buses, taxis, vans and lorries and a new fleet of green buses.

He said: “Increasingly, people are seeing the impact of climate change, we had one of the hottest summers ever, and there is going to be more intense and frequent weather patterns.

“In Sheffield the biggest impact we’ll have is flooding, so we are working on plans to make sure our rivers are ready, not just for next summer but, for 100 summer’s time. It’s quite exciting to be thinking about, some of these things probably won’t be built until I’m in the ground.”

Councillor Scott lives in the North West of the city with his two young daughters, Abigail and Lucy, and wife, Jenny.

The little time he has away from council duties, is spent with his family or running or cycling in the Peak District.

“Sheffield is the best place in the country to raise a family, there are always things going on for children.

“Council work is relentless, it’s a marathon rather than a sprint but you have to have the energy to be able to function in that way.

“The ability to decompress, unwind and just breathe is really important. Especially being on cabinet and having two young children. There are times when it’s really stressful and difficult but you just have to remember you have family and friends who will support you.”

Going forward, Councillor Scott aims to keep improving and promoting the city.

He said: “We need to shout more about Sheffield as a city and punch above our weight. The number of people who come to the city and stay, I sometimes think it’s a bit of a hidden gem. It has got a really great balance between being enterprising and dynamic and caring for everyone, which is like an elixir. We are a city that has huge potential and is really going places.”

The Star has been publishing profile pieces on each Cabinet Member at the Council. The online original is here

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Council Creates Development Investment Fund to Help Tackle Inequality

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Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet have agreed to change how money collected from the Community Investment Levy (CIL) is invested in local communities, creating a new pot of funding that will be spread fairly across all of Sheffield.

CIL is a tool for local authorities to deliver infrastructure to support improvements in an area. Since the Council began charging CIL in 2015, developers can be liable to pay a charge, or ‘levy’, when building in an area.

15% of this levy goes into a neighbourhood pot. This money is then used to support local infrastructure needs. The money agreed and collected in this portion currently stands at around £1.5 million and the Council wants to invest this to ensure that there is the right infrastructure to support the city’s continued development.

Labour, who has overall control of the Council, started a public consultation about spending the money in a fairer way across the city, to direct funds to the communities where they are actually needed. It was also argued by Labour councillors that land values are lower in many less affluent areas and therefore they receive very little in CIL funds, and sometimes none at all.

The approach agreed by the Council’s Labour Cabinet ensures that every area of the city receives investment, based on a fair and nationally agreed formula.

The Council led consultation ran for five weeks and had hundreds of respondents. There was backing for Labour’s proposal and many commented positively on prioritising areas of Sheffield in the greatest need through the Indices of Multiple Deprivation.

There were some objections to the plans, but in total just 30% disagreed with the new redistribution proposal.

Interestingly, there was significant support in areas like Dore and Totley (57% approval) and Fulwood (75% approval), despite the fact these areas have the highest land values are funds collected through CIL.

Commenting on why Labour is changing how these investments are made, Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Development and Transport, said:

“At present wealthy parts of the city receive far more Community Infrastructure Levy, but some of the city’s least affluent areas receive less or nothing at all, because land values are lower. In addition, developers are often not required to pay CIL if they are building in areas of greatest deprivation. This is a sensible way to kick-start much needed development, but it means some areas of our city lose out, whilst the wealthiest parts continue to acquire more, making inequality worse.

“Labour’s new approach will help in our ongoing efforts to tackle inequality so that our whole city can benefit from development, not just a few areas. This is by far the fairest way of investing in communities. You would hope that all opposition councillors would get behind these plans, but frustratingly they are not doing so. Thankfully Labour have a fairer, more prosperous vision for Sheffield”.

 

Councillor Jim Steinke, whose team will manage the Development Investment Fund gave his support for the Cabinet report:

“I am delighted that the public consultation has given us the backing to making these changes. Labour has argued that there is a strong moral, and economic, argument for implementing these changes and I am delighted that Sheffield agrees with us.

“I want to reiterate again that Communities that are directly affected by developments will still get what they deserve – new play equipment, green spaces or measures to tackle increased traffic – but we will be able to assess this need more thoroughly, across the whole city.

“It is a shame opposition councillors aren’t supporting this. The Greens are arguing for keeping the neighbourhood CIL money just for the wards with most development in, many of which just so happen to have Green councillors! For instance in City ward, where a lot of recent development has taken place, Green councillors want to keep the CIL money here rather than spend it where it may be more needed more. This is “pork-barrel” politics of the worst kind!”

“It cannot be right that places like Ringinglow and Totley get hundreds of times more than residents in Halfway and Westfield. This is why Labour sought public opinion and now we have their backing we can implement a funding plan for the whole city”.

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Video: Taking Action For Safer and Cleaner Parking

Our new camera car will automatically fine people who park on Zig-Zag lines.

Sheffield is also the largest city in the country to introduce “No Idling” zones outside schools.

The top 20 schools where air quality is a problem had signs put up over the summer and we are now enforcing this.

Sheffield’s Labour Council Condemns “Dangerous and Reckless” Fracking Approval in Nearby Community

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Sheffield City Council has reacted with anger and disappointment at today’s announcement that fracking will be allowed in North East Derbyshire, which borders Sheffield.
 
The Council has formally objected to the application and has led the way in opposing shale gas extraction.
 
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development at Sheffield City Council said:
 
“I am furious and dismayed at this decision. Let’s be clear here – fracking is dirty, dangerous and reckless and should not be happening in North East Derbyshire, Sheffield or anywhere else. It risks causing earthquakes, polluting our water and damaging our area’s beautiful countryside. I have asked our Planning Team to undertake an urgent assessment of the risks that will arise for Sheffield from today’s dangerous decision.
 
Even if fracking could be undertaken safely, which it can’t, it is still a grubby fossil fuel. These are causing catastrophic climate change and rapid global burning. We have already found more carbon than we can safely burn, so we certainly don’t want any more.
 
Instead, we need a revolution in renewable energy generation and a fair transition to a more sustainable way of living that protects our environment for future generations. The UK’s planning policies need to reflect this, not make it easier for a few big-boss fat cats to pile up even more money by raiding and pillaging our precious environment.”
 
Councillor Scott continued:
 
“It’s at times like this that the public look to elected representatives for clear leadership, not weasel words. I am disgusted with the actions of the local Tory MP, Lee Rowley, who isn’t anti-fracking and supports the Conservative government’s approach. North East Derbyshire deserves better. It’s clear we need a Labour government to ban fracking altogether and put in place the rules that will protect our environment for the many, not the few.”
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Sheffield Labour Council paints town red for safer streets

redlines.jpgSheffield City Council has begun announcing its red lines when it comes to road safety outside schools.

A new traffic regulation order for the city’s first red route – where double red lines replace the more common double yellow lines on busy main roads, outside schools and on bus routes – has now been advertised by the council.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development at Sheffield City Council said:

“Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our city’s children, so now that we have these powers, I am determined to use them quickly and firmly.

“It only takes a second to create a hazard around a school. Red Routes are a big step forward to stop people from parking dangerously.

“I want to be as clear as possible about parking on red lines: There is no waiting, no parking, no excuses and no second chances. If you do it, we will find you and we will fine you.

“The safety of children comes before anything else, so do not put this at risk.”


Sheffield is set to become one of the first cities outside of London to introduce “red routes”, following a change in the law last year.

Red routes have a tougher zero tolerance approach to traffic violations – no stopping or waiting is allowed for any length of time under any circumstances. Breaching this can lead to an immediate fixed penalty notice or fine.

The first red route is proposed to be on Baslow Road near Totley Primary School, which is being expanded to accommodate more pupils. The proposed scheme includes a signal controlled crossing on Baslow Road near Totley Grange Road.

Restrictions on parking are to be introduced along Baslow Road and Totley Grange Road to allow the safe operation of the crossing. Red Route restrictions will prevent stopping on Baslow Road and the junction of Totley Grange Road. This includes a prohibition on the picking up and setting down of passengers.

The introduction of more red routes is part of the council’s new parking strategy and can be found here: http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=1974

Sheffield Labour Council puts affordability at heart of development

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Planners at Sheffield City Council say that developers must take more time and look again at the amount of affordability they are offering the city.

At its meeting this afternoon, the planning and development committee at Sheffield City Council deferred a decision on a four-building new development on the Stokes Tiles site on Moore Street.

The Committee did not reject the application, but agreed that more time was needed to look at the detail of how many affordable units were being offered by the developer and whether this was sufficient.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Development and Transport said:

“I welcome the Committee’s decision today. Nobody is saying that the development is wrong or shouldn’t happen. Actually, the fact we have got something that could be so exciting is a real vote of confidence in our growing and vibrant city. There are lots of things about this development that are to be really welcomed.

“But there is also a housing crisis across the country and it’s vital that developers make a fair contribution towards addressing that.

“The Council has a very clear and robust approach to affordable housing, which is based on its vision for a fairer city.

“So it’s right that we go back and double check whenever developers say they aren’t able to meet our requirements. Sheffield deserves this clarity and assurance and it wouldn’t be right to approve a development without this.

“I’m looking forward to these discussions and I hope that we are then able to make progress.”