Warren Morgan: Getting the basics right in the face of cuts

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This week we have continued to focus on getting the basics right and delivering the services you need locally, whilst preparing to face the setting of a very difficult budget next Thursday.

You may have seen the new parking meters appearing on our streets this week, making it even easier and more convenient for you to pay. As well as the option to pay by phone, you can now pay by debit card through chip and pin or contactless. Soon you will see new communal bins replacing those that have worn out or been damaged. Our investment in basic services is showing results, with customer satisfaction up 20 per cent since Labour began to run the council.

Work begins this week on the Dome and Pavilion estate, using lottery funding to improve the heart of our arts and tourism offer. New figures have shown fantastic feedback from tourists visiting Brighton and Hove, which is vital if we are to continue to grow jobs in our visitor economy through investment in a new conference and concert arena. Six months of work on the hardest Budget our city has ever faced goes to a vote next Thursday. I’ve pledged to look positively at ideas and proposals from the opposition parties on how it can be improved, but I’m pleased that despite £21 million pounds in savings proposals we have been forced to bring forward, we have been able to protect nurseries, children’s centres and libraries from closure or privatisation. Like most top-tier councils, the rapidly rising costs of social care are the biggest challenge we face, with all of the money the council raises from council tax being swallowed by care costs for older people, vulnerable children and people with disabilities or long term conditions. 

I spoke out last week about the apparent behind-the-scenes deal between the Government and Surrey County Council. I wrote to the Prime Minister asking that all councils be given a fair deal, and will be meeting with council leaders from across the country on tackling the social care crisis.

So whether it is bins or parking, tourism or social care, the local or national financial picture, your council is working hard for you week in, week out, getting the basics right, protecting the most vulnerable and growing an economy that helps everyone in Brighton and Hove.

Warren Morgan is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.