We have been setting out budget for the coming year, and in doing so I have reflected on the many challenges we have faced as a Labour council and on our achievements so far.
We have also started to debate new ideas we have for the city. So at Budget council I talked about the principle of “business for good”, and what that might mean in a city like ours.
We are all agreed business should have broad social benefits, and so these are two “business for good” aspirations I have. The first is very specific to vulnerable people in Brighton and Hove. We have a housing crisis in the city and one unacceptable consequence is the number of people sleeping rough on our streets. As a Labour Administration we have worked hard to prioritise help for rough sleepers, but we want to do more and a Labour council elected in 2019 would look to develop social enterprises, in partnership with local employers and the voluntary sector, that would support employment opportunities for homeless people, giving them a route out of poverty, rough sleeping and hopelessness. This is what Labour means by “business for good”.
The second is an aspiration that would benefit the whole city. A Labour Administration elected in 2019 would pursue the community wealth model pioneered in the UK by Preston’s co-operative council, championed by the Co-operative Party and supported by John McDonnell at an event this month, ensuring a greater proportion of local spend stays in the local economy. The approach in Preston has resulted in six large public bodies committing to buying local goods and services. These spent £38m in Preston in 2013; by 2017 the amount had increased to £111m, despite a reduction in the council’s budget. Overall, more than £200m returned to the local economy and supported 1,600 jobs. Securing the economic future of our city, creating good jobs to our residents, growing business for good, building a Brighton and Hove where everyone benefits from growth; this is the task of the city council – to help deliver the strong economic future the city deserves.