We have the zest to tackle the challenges ahead

Phelim MacCafferty, convener of the Green Group on Brighton & Hove City Council
Phelim MacCafferty, convener of the Green Group on Brighton & Hove City Council

The city council held its annual meeting on Wednesday night to determine the roles of all councillors and this is my first column as the newly elected leader of the official opposition.

I was immensely proud to officially welcome my 12 new Green councillor colleagues to Brighton Town Hall. With our city facing the triple challenge of a climate emergency, the homelessness crisis and the fallout from a decade of brutal Conservative Government cuts, our Green team of 19 councillors are determined, more than ever, to deliver positive change for our city.

As the council elections made clear, residents support many of the bold ideas in our Green manifesto. With Labour running the council and Greens as the official opposition, as in the past four years, we will continue to scrutinise and hold the Labour council to the high standards our city deserves. Our city’s housing crisis continues unabated and we want to see action to deliver new council homes, and investment in homeless schemes that work, like Housing First, and will work with Labour where we can to do just that.

We welcome the opportunity to work with Labour councillors on our shared vision of a citizen’s assembly on the climate crisis, while Greens continue to push for our city to have a zero carbon footprint by 2030.

To achieve truly transformative politics, we also need to involve our diverse communities in the conversation about how to tackle these issues.

Our city is inclusive and welcoming, it’s bursting with positive ideas and with two universities, small businesses and a raffish spirit that stems back to the Prince Regent – we have the creativity and zest to tackle the challenges ahead. That’s why last week we unveiled our pledge to residents in our city: that we will work with our community and voluntary sector, our small businesses as well as the other political parties to deliver urgent action on the key issues facing our city.

Being elected as a councillor in the best city in the country is a privilege. Now the real work continues: representing you.