Brighton & Hove City Council leader Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty has warned “difficult choices” will need to be be made next month.
A report going to the council’s Policy & Resources committee today (Thursday, January 19) has said that millions of pounds of savings needed to be found as well as a proposal to increase council tax by 4.99%.
The council’s 54 councillors, from all political groups and independents, will meet in February to discuss, vote and set the council budget for 2023-24.
Councillor Mac Cafferty, Leader of the Council, said: “We will do everything possible to protect vital council services, but thirteen years of government cutbacks to our finances mean there are limited funds and limited options left. Over that time over £110 million has been wiped off from our annual funding in real terms.
“There is acute pressure on available funding as more people fall into hardship from the cost-of-living crisis, so demand for local services that can help has soared and a sharp increase in need for care for vulnerable adults and children.
“With a projected budget shortfall of £21 million, more cuts and savings are needed to ensure we can balance the budget. The options left locally are difficult and to balance the books, we are facing heartbreakingly tough decisions.
“The government confirmed the local government funding settlement, just before Christmas, offering us little time to plan and leaving us with less than we need.
“Faced with unprecedented demand for our services, the highest inflation in a generation, the impact of a crippling pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis we are having to review all the services the council delivers and find cuts to ‘balance’ our budget, something we are legally required to do.
“It’s deeply upsetting that, like many other councils across the country, this is the financial situation we find ourselves in and that only difficult decisions remain.”