Warren Morgan: A brief glimpse into the week of a city council leader

Cllr Morgan at the British Airways i360 announcement
Cllr Morgan at the British Airways i360 announcement

What Brighton and Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan has been up to this week.

Last Thursday, I donned hard hat and high-vis jacket to attend the launch of the British Airways i360, where I was able to speak to the media about new investment coming in to the city and how it will change over the coming years.

Cllr Morgan on Sunday Politics

Cllr Morgan on Sunday Politics

Later that day I went to speak to staff from Survivors Network and RISE about the work they do with women who have experienced domestic violence at the “Living Library” event, always one of the most worthwhile things I go to each year.

On Friday, I went to Tunbridge Wells to film the South East segment of the Sunday Politics programme, where I met and debated devolution, council funding and planning powers with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark. It’s still on iPlayer if you want to see how I got on with a member of the Cabinet.

After a cold but enjoyable afternoon watching the Albion restore their status as Championship leaders on Saturday, on Sunday I went to an event in Whitehawk in memory of Alex Jackson, who died in a car crash last year and who donated his organs for transplant. It was encouraging to join so many others in signing up again as an organ donor. You can too at www.organdonation.nhs.uk

As is the case most weeks, Monday was filled with meetings with council colleagues and officers in preparation for the week ahead, this week mostly concerned with the budget. My Group in its weekly Monday evening meeting decided that despite the impact on household finances, the crisis in social care funding means we have to consider taking up the chancellor’s additional 2% council tax increase proposal to fund care for older people, vulnerable adults and children.

Tuesday saw me at the event in New Steine Gardens to mark World Aids Day, where I read out the names of some of those lost to AIDS here in Brighton and Hove, whilst colleagues attended the city’s Employment and Skills Plan event and Women’s Centre AGM. From there I went to meet some local Labour members in Hove at an evening event.

Wednesday was reserved for committee preparation time, along with an evening meeting to update some of my senior party colleagues on the budget proposals we have been forced to bring forward. Thursday began early with a visit to the BBC Sussex studios, then a meeting with some of my fellow council leaders from across the Greater Brighton city region about our devolution bid.

Thursday afternoon brought the final policy and resources committee (PandR) meeting of the year. Here we noted the draft budget proposals we will be consulting on, voted on our plans to share support services across Sussex and Surrey, and looked at proposals for a major redevelopment next to New England House. PandR almost always runs to just under three hours which is a long meeting to chair!

Today I am attending our first Rough Sleepers Summit, bringing together agencies in the city trying to support the homeless and get people off the streets and into safe accommodation, something in he forefront of people’s minds as the winter worsens. Tonight I will round off the week meeting with more Labour Party members as a guest speaker on a national discussion tour.