Reading some of the disappointing yet largely predictable comments from the Labour administration and the leader of the council since they published their draft budget last week, I really must highlight the actual measureable improvements this Government has made for the people of Brighton and Hove and the South East. These are a far cry from the bleak picture painted by Labour to justify their cuts to frontline services, which merely provide a smokescreen for their lack of a proper coherent strategy after years of blocking the Conservative group’s reform proposals.
For instance, 327,000 more people are now employed in the South East compared to 2010, with unemployment falling by 40 per cent. This year there are now 167, 865 more small businesses in the South East than in 2010 – providing more people with the safety and security of work and a regular income.
Yet the Labour administration does not appear interested in supporting business after criticising the government’s cuts in Corporation Tax which are hugely beneficial in attracting new firms to the UK and will undoubtedly create jobs for this city’s residents.
It should be remembered that our connected neighbours, the Republic of Ireland will still have a much lower corporation tax rate and that is why so many international companies are based there.
In terms of education, thanks to the Government’s policies 221,000 more children are attending good or outstanding schools in the South East since 2010. 65,290 people in the South East were also able to start apprenticeships in the last year.
Both are continuing to help children and young people to gain the skills they need to get on in life. Going further, the government is providing over £287 million in education funding for disadvantaged children in the South East next year to ensure no child is left behind. This is a mere fraction of the good work going on which directly benefits our residents. Approaching next year’s budget, I would advise that Cllr. Morgan stops pointing fingers and instead concentrates on setting a responsible budget that will fill the £3 million black hole that still remains in his administration’s plans.
Geoffrey Theobald is the leader of the Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council