Council tax rise and jobs axed at Brighton and Hove City Council

Council Tax
Council Tax

Seventy jobs are expected to go as Brighton and Hove City Council makes savings to its budget.

Moving people into vacant positions, not filling vacancies and asking people to volunteer for redundancy are the first options listed in the budget.

This year the council has made savings and reinvestments of £14.8 million to cover increased demands and above-inflation costs in adults and children’s social care and environmental services

In children’s social care cuts of £140,000 are planned for respite care which gives families of children with disabilities a break.

The report before councillors ahead of the budget meeting on Thursday 28 February says the authority plans to offer a range of options including day, evening and weekend activities.

It confirms it will put extra pressure on families but states overnight care would still be available for those most in need.

A further £1.6 million in savings is expected by reducing the number of expensive agency placements for looked after children.

This would involve increasing the number of in-house foster carers and moving children already in care to less expensive placements.

The council currently provides long-term care services for 3,535 adults.

On the adult social care sector savings of £1.2 million are planned by reviewing the more expensive care packages and make sure all new care offers value for money.

The economy, environment and culture directorate faces £1.8 million in savings.

This department covers transport, refuse and recycling, planning and regeneration, culture, tourism and sport and property.

Income from new residents parking zones contributes to this amount.

The council also plans to auction off old Cityclean vehicles.

During the past four years the council has faced a £40 million reduction in the revenue support grant, the money it receives from central government, which has resulted in the need for cuts.

The grant has halved from £14 million last year to £6.5 million this year.

Council tax bills are expected to increase by just over 4 per cent including the amounts that go towards funding East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and Sussex Police.

The biggest increase was set by the Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne. The bill for policing is going up by 14.5 per cent, adding £24 a year to the average band D property’s bill, taking the policing element to £189.91.

Brighton and Hove is increasing its share by 2.99 per cent or £46.38 for a band D property.

The fire authority is putting its bill up by 2.94 per cent or £2.67 for band D homes.

The overall council tax bill for a band D property will go up to £1,879.03 if the budget goes through.

Council tax is expected to raise £144 million with business rates bringing in £65 million towards the £760 million budget.

There will be no additional council tax bill for adult social care this year as the council has extra one-off funding from central government which may continue.

This is £1.2 million for adult social care winter pressure, a £2.1 million grant for adults and children’s social care, £6.2 million for the Better Care Fund which also has an extra £1.7 million.

The council must set its council tax by Sunday March 10.

Any changes put forward by the Conservatives and Greens must be approved by the council’s finance officers before the debate at the full council meeting on Thursday 28 February.

If the council fails to agree the budget next week, then a second meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 5.

The annual budget meeting is due to start at 4.30pm at Hove Town Hall and is open to the public.