The conscious underfunding of councils from the Conservative Government means they are really struggling.
There can be no question that the macabre project to cut councils to the bone is failing. Cuts are perpetuating inequality leaving our communities exposed to uncertainty while the most powerful continue to prosper.
Under these circumstances, Brighton and Hove City Council now has to set the budget for the services it provides to you.
To manage this, sadly the Labour leadership of the council have decided to cut essential services.
Plans include removing all of the city’s community youth service, reducing home support for the elderly and cutting help for pre-school children with special needs. If successful, this way of managing money will see the burden of reducing budgets fall on the young, the elderly and vulnerable. This is not only unfair, it comes with a hefty long-term financial cost to society.
Many of Labour’s budget proposals strip services back to the legal minimum.
That leaves people in crisis with two unacceptable options – suffer in silence, or wait until an issue is so bad it can finally qualify for emergency support.
There is a reason the expression ‘prevention is better than cure’ persists: preventative services work, and reduce demand for high cost services. This could be by keeping our older residents more active, or keeping a young person safe.
The Labour leadership sets the budget and we have to be clear that as an opposition party we can only tweak it.
We can not save everything we want to. Instead, Greens want to approach the budget differently: guided by principles of prevention and protection.
We will put some of our city’s most marginalised communities at the very heart of our suggestions. This will save money longer term for the city.
Rather than comply with a Tory agenda that strikes at the least powerful in our society, we will try to push for bold alternatives, that centre around fairness, to protect those most at risk.
We are inviting other parties to work with us to protect services in Brighton and Hove.
Phelim Mac Cafferty is the convenor of the Green Group on Brighton & Hove City Council.