Last week a petition was handed in at 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister.
This of course is hardly news, as many groups hand in petitions to both this city council and the government over many issues each year.
However this #breakingpoint petition came from over 5,000 elected Labour representatives across the UK, calling for a genuine end to Tory-imposed austerity. I am proud that many of these names, including my own, were Brighton and Hove city councillors. By the end of 2020 the city council will have seen almost £100m of central government funding cut from what it spends each year to provide the services that local people elect us to deliver.
As a Labour administration since 2015, the city council has worked hard to protect the services that residents tell us they value most, like services for older people, libraries, homelessness services and investment in redeveloping our city’s economy. But the challenges have been tough, and only continue to get tougher each year that passes. We have already seen Northamptonshire Council go bust – threatening even the most vital services. There’s no way I want to see residents here put in such a terrible position.
The #breakingpoint campaign has three very simple aims that the Chancellor could deliver in next week’s budget: using the Budget to reverse next year’s planned £1.3bn cut to council budgets; immediately investing £2bn in children’s services and £2bn in adult social care to stop these vital emergency services from collapsing; and pledging to use the Spending Review to restore council funding to 2010 levels over the next four years.
This would at least give some certainty for councils, who are facing an even more significant round of cuts this year. We would be able to plan effectively how to: support those who are suffering the impact of government imposed Universal Credit; ramp up significantly the funding available for building truly affordable housing; create a stronger safety net of support services for those adults and children who are among our most vulnerable citizens invest in the future of our city and our children.
Cllr Daniel Yates is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.