A tumultuous time but we are staying focused
Oh what a long time a week is in politics – even local politics! I
n the fortnight since I last wrote there have been so many changes that it is difficult to know where to start.
My Labour minority administration has seen the loss of two long-standing councillors (one to the Tories if you can believe that…), Labour has committed itself to supporting a vote on any final Brexit deal, and Theresa May has finally recognised that the threat of a no-deal Brexit causes more instability than even the loss of three Tory MPs to the newly formed Independent Group in Westminster.
Finally, emboldened by gaining an additional councillor, our local Tory opposition first stated publicly that it is in no rush to try to take over the council.
Then the following day they u-turned by announcing that they were planning to do exactly this. Given the challenges our communities and city face at the moment, for the Tories to be focussing on a short-term power grab that will last less than two months - due to the city-wide local elections this May - is quite frankly bizarre, and likely to be seen as wholly unnecessary by the majority of residents.
In contrast, I have three priorities over the next two months. None of these are about game-playing and they are all focussed on the delivery of, and the protection of, our valued public services.
Firstly I will have been pushing this week for the Labour budget to be agreed and implemented. This is our prime role as an administration. Many months of work have delivered a lower council tax rise than the last two years and increased investment into key priority services such a children’s services, adult social care and refuse and recycling services.
Second I will continue to try to make the city a great place to live, while recognising that we must strive to do things better every day.
Thirdly I will campaign to ensure that Labour councillors are able to take full majority control of the city council in May, to deliver a radical manifesto that ensures the city can flourish, and addresses the triple threat of Tory austerity, Tory Brexit and climate change.
Councillor Daniel Yates is the leader of the Labour Group on Brighton & Hove City Council.