Brighton and Hove households facing another council tax rise

Council tax bills look likely to go up by 3.99 per cent – or an average of £75 a year – in Brighton and Hove from April.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:22 am
Hove Town Hall

Just over half the increase – two per cent – is to go towards the rising cost of adult social care as Brighton and Hove City Council prepares to set its budget for 2020-21.

The council is receiving extra funding from the government for adult social care too – but £400,000 less than had been expected.

The extra money raised from the council tax will contribute towards an overall budget of more than £750 million.

Despite this, rising demand for services and cost pressures such as wage increases mean that the council is aiming to make savings of just over £9 million.

As a result about 50 jobs are expected to go, with some posts to be made redundant.

A report going before councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee this week said that most of the posts were already vacant or would become vacant through normal turnover.

Any new recruitment would have to have a “clear business case” and the focus would be on redeploying people when possible.

The £9 million savings target includes almost £1.5 million from the council’s community care budget for adults.

The council’s budget papers flag up a proposed “review of the funding source of transport arrangements for clients aged between 18 to 25 attending education provision”.

The proposal follows a money-saving shake up of home to school transport in the past year which – instead of cutting costs – is forecast to end the financial year more than £700,000 over budget.

Some of the £1.5 million savings are expected to come from the Move On project which has involved moving adults with learning difficulties away from high-cost placements.

The council also hopes to save about £250,000 on administering housing benefit as more people are switched to universal credit although the switch brings costs of its own.

The council’s spending plans include £100,000 extra for the Royal Pavilion Estates to help cover the cost of improvement works after the collapse of the main contractor.

And £2.4 million looks like being set aside for work on the Madeira Terraces as plans are drawn up to restore the first three arches at the western end.

The report to councillors said: “The government’s announcement of a one-year spending review leaves considerable uncertainty over local government funding beyond 2020-21 and therefore presents difficulties in planning for investment in longer-term priorities and commitments.

The Policy and Resources Committee is due to meet at 4pm on Thursday (February 13). The meeting, at Hove Town Hall, should be open to the public.