Greens reveal amendments to Brighton & Hove City Council budget

Councillor MacCafferty
Councillor MacCafferty

The Green Party is set to ‘call for urgent action on climate change, housing and city cleanliness, while challenging public service cuts’ in its amendments to Labour’s budget.

On Thursday, city councillors will meet to set the local authority’s budget for 2019/20.

A 2.99 per cent council tax rise and £14.8 million in savings are proposed by the Labour administration.

Related stories: Council tax rise and jobs axed at Brighton and Hove City Council

Conservatives unveil amendments to Labour’s budget for Brighton and Hove City Council

The Conservatives, which now have the most councillors after a political shake-up last week, have also tabled amendments to the budget.

And today (February 27), the Greens revealed their amendments.

The Green Group said it will challenge cuts to support for people with learning disabilities, sexual health services, substance misuse work and short breaks for carers.

It would pay for this through challenging value for money in private contracts, removing parking perks for councillors and reviewing unspent budgets.

Greens also want to see £8m put back into housing budgets in order to establish council-owned emergency accommodation. Greens say that bringing it ‘in-house’ would save the council money and create a more stable, supportive service for vulnerable residents currently housed in the private sector.

Councillor Ollie Sykes, Green finance lead, said: “Austerity continues to hack away at our communities and our residents are hammered year on year by cuts.

“The budget put forward by the Labour Council lacks the new ideas, energy or effort our city’s residents deserve. Green opposition proposals made within the constraints of Budget Council show the direction of travel for a new Green-led council for Brighton and Hove. Without making new cuts we have found resources to protect public health, day services, respite care and assisted travel for the elderly. We have found significant resources to protect our libraries and improve and enhance homeless accommodation, while reducing cost.

“Our budget ideas are affordable, protect essential services for people and the environment and enhance the city. And in a week when winter temperatures have gone above 20 degrees for the first time in recorded history – our proposals respond to the urgency and scale of the catastrophic damage being done to our environment. These are humane, affordable, forward-looking proposals in pursuit of Green values, that boost the financial resilience of the council and offer positive change to our residents.”

Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, convenor of the Green Group, added: “A divided Labour has failed to do the best for our city and the shambolic Conservative Government still sees fit to slash local council budgets year on year, despite clear evidence of the damage this causes. Greens have identified funds for vital services without robbing one to pay for another, because as the Tories continue to drive home austerity, more than ever before we need local services that reach our most marginalised residents.

“This year’s Labour budget cuts funding for public services yet further. Greens have continued to try to reverse some of the worst elements, challenging cuts to budgets supporting people with learning disabilities, people recovering from substance misuse, vulnerable adults in precarious housing and services for people living with HIV.

“Our proposals are also a clarion call for our precious environment. Just weeks after we pushed the council to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, we want to boost the resources our council has ready to tackle climate change and protect our natural habitats and species. We also want to address our city centre environment, and support our communities in tackling waste and graffiti tagging. We can only make six amendments to the budget but as in previous years, we continue to champion a new approach, guided by principles of prevention and protection for people and planet.”

For the full proposals from the Greens, click here.

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