Brighton and Hove City Council Budget: A ‘Desperate Budget’ or ‘Balanced and Fair’?

Last week the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council unveiled their Budget.  Council Leader Mary Mears said she was delighted to present a budget that when “compared to other councils we feel this is balanced, fair and offers something to the whole city.”  She sais that  she and her coleagues “understand how much people are suffering at the moment so wanted to offer them some much needed relief.”

The Conservatives have announced a 1% cut in Council Tax, the first ever cut in the history of the City Council.  For a Council Tax D property, this amounts to a £13 cut for the year. The amount itself is negligible but it will, as I have said before, galvanised Tory activists, especially those on the Estate Agent wing in Goldsmid ward.  This Council Tax cut relies on the use of £10,000,000 of reserves.  That means that it is not sustainable unless it receives a massive increase in government funds or it makes that level of cuts in future years.

Green convenor, and the person most likely to replace Mary Mears should the Tories lose the elections in May, Bill Randall, said that he does not support the cut in Council Tax.  He said: “This Council is asking us to accept that it can cut £35 million and no one will suffer.  I am afraid I don’t buy that”.  There will, of course, be cuts, with adult social care and children’s services being expected to make the largest ‘savings’.

Labour leader Gill Mitchell described it as a “desperate budget”.  She pointed out that inflation rises of up to 5% have beem predicted and that that could have a severe impact on future budgets.  “It is a risky budget, making cuts in the wrong places and making risky assumptions.”

The budget will be decided at a full council meeting on March 3rd at Brighton Town Hall starting at 4.30pm.  It will be interesting to see if Labour and the Greens can co-operate on making amendments to the Tory budget and what alternate budget each will propose.

20 Responses

  1. If you must persist with the Estate Agent analogy then I’m afraid I’ll have to start charging commission! 😉

    With regards the budget, I believe it presents the city with a clear alternative to the high tax, big government ideas championed by Labour and the Greens.

  2. Could someone please tell me what the irrational fear of Government is called? I’m tempted to say Conservatism, but then I remember they participate in elections and have a habit of screwing things up.

  3. Tories in Westbourne don’t even seem to know their own phone numbers. Brian Oxley has had to correct his on the ‘Window on Westbourne’ leaflet he is putting out. Looks naff to correct your own leaflet with a biro and hope nobody notices.

  4. I got on reasonably well or more, I like to think, with Celia Barlow, perhaps better than some Labour people do, and I was a bit startled when she gave me a ferocious glare at the Count, but it was the middle of the night and, shucks, we can’t dwell on that. I prefer to think of the night, in the very same place, where Bob Dylan looked up at me after I said “bravo!” when he’d sung “Sugar Baby”. Dylan’s eyebrow, it’s more magnetic than a Mayor’s sgh. Or a Fanshawe sneer.

    “Sugar Baby” will outlast us all.

    I found common, Dylan ground with Craig Turton, and indeed with Sue John, after I drew attention to Dylan’s enthusiasm for reference libraries, as he describes it in Chronicles.

    I also drew attention to his line “Brighton girls are like the Moon”. Does Bob include Pat Hawkes or, indeed, Rachel Bates in that theory?

  5. Labour’s new website – still more features and content to come, but we wanted to go live now:

  6. So the truth is out. The Lucas family home is in Belgium. She’s admitted it.

    Comments please from her adoring Green fans!

    • Would it be spouting heresy to say that it doesn’t matter much where an MP has their main abode, as long as they are attentive and visit their constituency regularly?

      This stuff about Caroline Lucas is so lame, and no, I didn’t vote for her.

  7. Clive

    I profoundly disagree. An MP’s main home should be in their constituency. No ifs and no buts.

    The Greens have been rather disingenous on this matter.

    Glad you didn’t vote for her!

    • All parties, in different places, have been disingenous about the residences of their MPs and candidates. In safe seats, it is the norm to parachute in favourite sons/daughters – you know that, I know that, anyone who’s halfway switched on knows that. Just one of the many great features of our current electoral system.

      I recall a lot of hot air from the Tories about Celia Barlow in 2005, being an ‘outsider’ from Chichester. That didn’t impress me, and nor does this stuff about Caroline Lucas. Provided MPs don’t treat their constituencies as rotten boroughs, that’s fine with me.

      It is time to stop making sour party-political points and get on with the job in hand, which is framing an alternative administration to the one now ruining Brighton and Hove.

    • And? She’s been honest since elected and has always said that her family will join her in Pavilion once her son completed his studies.

      Certainly proves how bogus the crap about her Oxfordshire home was.

      • ‘Honest since elected’ – what about before? Surely the Green Party supporters who have lept to Caroline’s defence with a mixture of half truths and evasion over this must feel a tad embarrassed

  8. The plans to cut Council Tax by 1% are surprising. Does this not mean that the money must be recovered elsewhere? I note there is an election this year. Surely the administration can’t have this in mind. The public would think it is a cynical ploy.

  9. The interesting thing will be what the other parties propose as an alternative. If people consider a 1% cut so hideous then just saying ‘we’ll have a 0% change’ will have no credibility. If the cuts are so damaging then let’s have people prepared to stand on a basis of restoring public services, not just cutting marginally less.

    • The Govt have fixed the goalposts on council tax increases. They’ve said anyone fixing a 0% or less tax increase will qualify for a grant of several million, offsetting the income from an inflation linked rise. Of course with inflation rising, councils would then need to set a very high increase to offset the loss of that grant – and could run the risk of being capped.

      The govt have said they won’t cap next year – but any authority setting an above inflation rise will have to put it to a local referendum – paid for out of council tax.

  10. Clive

    Can parrots really play the trumpet?


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