Council cuts and tax rises in Brighton and Hove

Hove Town Hall
Hove Town Hall

Taxpayers in Brighton and Hove can expect a five per cent rise on their council tax bill, but they will see further cuts to local authority services.

That’s if Labour’s budget for 2017/18 is passed at a meeting of the council next week.

The council said ‘increasing demand and reducing government grant funding’ was to blame for the £21m cuts in the next financial year.

The proposed 4.99 per cent rise on the yearly council tax bill will mean a £69.47 rise for an average Band D taxpayer – with three per cent of that earmarked for the ever-expanding adult social care budget.

The headline cut throughout the process has been the proposed 80 per cent cut to a £450,000 pot that supports 11 youth charities in the city. Young people have protested outside council meetings, and spoken movingly about the services currently offered in the city.

Other cuts include axing the PlayBus service, moving the Royal Pavilion and Museums into a Trust, and making further cuts to the City Parks budget. On top of that, 140 council workers will lose their jobs over the next financial year – and that figure will rise to 300 by 2020.

The good news is this year children’s centres, learning disability and child protection services are set to be protected, and no libraries are set to close.

But the 2017/18 budget follows heavy cuts of £25m in the current financial year (2016/17), and it’s estimated that a further £27m will need to be saved over 2018/19 and 2019/20.

The Budget Council meeting takes place on Thursday, February 23, from 4pm at Hove Town Hall.

For a comment piece on the budget by Labour’s Warren Morgan, click here, and for an article by the Green Party’s Phelim Mac Cafferty, click here.