This week, we heard from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond on the state of the country’s finances and locally, the Leader of the Council Warren Morgan announced Labour’s plans for the city’s budget. But when it comes to both budgets, both have buried the bad news in the small print.
The Government offered no end to the crisis facing our local services.
Between cuts and rising demand for adult social care and children’s services, vital care for our community is threatened.
A recent survey on local schools destroys the often repeated lie that school cuts are being prevented – up to 82 per cent have been forced to cut staff.
The budget failed to give our council the finance and powers we desperately need to build genuinely affordable homes once again.
For all their claims of environmental credentials, the Conservative budget re-invested in fossil fuels, fracking and North Sea oil.
It made it easier to travel by air even though three-quarters of air travellers are the richest people in society.
All this while rail fares are up 27 per cent since 2010- twice the rate of wages. Cuts are perpetuating inequality in our society.
No sooner had Phillip Hammond finished his speech at the despatch box than Warren Morgan was privately briefing the press about the city’s finances.
Locally Labour has been quick to claim there are ‘no frontline cuts’ when in fact £13m of cuts will hit Brighton and Hove in the next year.
On top of huge cuts made last year, more staff redundancies and additional ‘savings’, many key council services are reduced to no more than bleeding stumps.
We will lose housing staff, despite our homelessness crisis.
Face huge cuts to sexual health services despite some of the highest numbers of sexually transmitted infections; cuts to support foster carers to adopt children despite the high number of kids in care.
Greens campaigned last year for the council to save preventative services that stop problems getting more complex – but the lesson hasn’t been learnt. Brighton and Hove deserves better than these budget smoke and mirrors.
Phelim MacCafferty is the Convenor of Brighton & Hove Green
Group of Councillors