Two years ago this week I was elected to lead the city council, alongside an excellent team of councillors who are working hard like me to make a difference.
We’ve worked quietly and persistently to get the basics right. This week new communal bins are appearing on our streets, joining the smart compactor bins introduced last year. Garden waste brown bins have been hugely popular. Soon new wheeled recycling bins, already well received in Portslade and Hangleton, will arrive on doorsteps to further boost our recycling rates.
We are investing £7m in better street lighting. We are halfway to building 500 new council homes, and work on 1,000 affordable homes begins soon. We’ve protected our Royal Pavilion from cuts and will save the Madeira Terraces. Our libraries have remained open and for longer hours. Our family of schools continues to improve.
We are protecting the vulnerable in the city, with a new ethical care charter, with millions more being spent on care for children, older people, people with disabilities and those tackling chronic health issues. We’ve stopped cuts to domestic violence services. We’ve prioritised tackling mental health stigma and rough sleeping. We’ve invested in our credit union, and last week abolished child funeral charges and council tax for care leavers.
Our city economy has to benefit everyone, not just a few. Last month I launched the Southern Accelerator to win investment in infrastructure. We hit our target of 1,000 new apprenticeships two years early. We are drawing in billions of pounds of investment into our seafront and elsewhere. We have made significant improvements to our planning service. Despite the huge challenges of cuts to our funding, the spiralling costs of social care, and Brexit, we are delivering. Our auditors say we are delivering good value for money, and the recent Local Government Association review said all the building blocks are in place so we can progress.
These are just some of the 100 positive things we’ve achieved in two years. We won’t let up in the next two, there is much more to do. I hope that after that time you will put your trust in us again to keep getting the basics right, protecting the vulnerable and growing our economy for everyone.
Warren Morgan is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.