In The South

Statement from Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, Green Party Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty

Phélim Mac Cafferty February 3, 2023

Green Party Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, has released a statement following the publication of Brighton & Hove City Council’s budget for the upcoming year. 

Yesterday evening the city council’s budget for the upcoming year was published. It sets out what the council will spend over the next year and sadly, what services we have not been able to protect, despite our greatest efforts.

This year’s budget is grim and asserts the chronic mismanagement of the economy from the Tory government. Recovery from a crippling pandemic, a deepening cost-of-living crisis, chronic problems hiring and retaining staff because of Brexit, slow economic recovery, Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget, the highest inflation in a generation. These together mean the council has had to make £19 million in savings and cuts.

I believe this is the largest single amount the city’s ever had to surrender in a year to the government’s vicious decisions. It speaks to a government that long ago stopped caring about the direct consequences of its actions.

While we have continued to raise the alarm about the money stolen from the city every year, councillors legally have to set what’s known as a ‘balanced’ budget- one that doesn’t spend more than it raises. We are the only part of government that has these stipulations- another hangover from Thatcher’s hatred of councils from the 1980s.

Greens want more money for public services, and to extend the hand of support to more communities not fewer. We have studied every line of the budget to protect the vital public services on which we know residents of our city rely. But sadly, we have not been able to protect them all.

Explore more about the proposals

Further to this, we are now able to state that the latest budget proposals include the following:

  • Vital public services will continue to be funded. For example, public toilets will not be cut; high-footfall locations will stay open and sites that were already closed are being reviewed for reopening, as we also do work to make toilets in cafes and other contexts accessible to the public;
  • We will invest in reducing our carbon footprint and tree planting will be maintained;
  • Parks and public spaces are staying open, with improvements to children’s play areas;
  • From nurseries to adult care facilities to Disabled Facilities Grants to help maintain people in their homes, services for the most vulnerable have been protected wherever we can do this;
  • Building new affordable housing, becoming the biggest provider of affordable rented housing in the city, and providing over 200 additional council homes in 23/24;
  • 100% council tax will be charged on second homes when the council gets the right to do so;

We’ve worked to minimise the total amount of job losses and we’ll actively work with our valued trade unions to, as far as possible, remove compulsory redundancies

Councillors’ allowances are being frozen, and both the Mayor’s office and Council Senior Management are having to make significant savings

Some of these elements mean the budget offers a small ray of light after many months of storms. Sadly, there will still be reductions in service, both now and in the future.

Green Party councillors remain committed to doing everything we can to protect vital services and we will work over the final weeks to budget council on Thursday, February 23 to find other ways to save services.

We ask for your continued patience and support as we try to do the very best for Brighton & Hove at this tremendously tough time.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty

Leader of the Council

To explore the proposals, CLICK HERE