Brighton and Hove’s Green Councillors have published their End of Term Report, demonstrating successsful delivery on 85% of the 195 manifesto pledges from 2011.
Cllr Jason Kitcat, Green leader of the City Council during 2012-15, said:
“In a time when more and more people feel separated from politicians and struggle to believe anything we have to say, it’s a key achievement for our party that we have been true to our word and have robust ambitions for the next four years.”
The 44-page report lists 189 achievements for the city in the last four years of the first Green-led local authority in the UK.
Cllr Kitcat continued:
“We have achieved a huge amount for this city to be proud of, in spite of being a minority administration, faced with four successive years of unprecedented cuts in government funding. We have not rested on our laurels and accepted the reduction in money from government. We have branched out and raised nearly £100 million worth of additional funding to improve neglected areas such as The Level, London Road, Hove Park, the Open Market and Seven Dials.
“Our focus on environment has been a massive improvement to our city. Through the introduction of 20mph limit and a Low Emission Zone we’ve reduced air pollution by 15%. We are not the first city to install 20mph and hopefully we won’t be the last as along-side more cycle lanes & better footpaths it has led to 200 fewer people hurt on our roads. Our city is the also 2014 European Transport City of the Year & the least car-dependent outside London.
“An important topic for the party has been young people and their education. We are very close to realising our new secondary school project, in time for when the spaces will be needed in a few years. Meanwhile we have ensured parents get a primary school place at a school near to them by expanding existing schools, including the purchase and conversion of the old Hove Police Station.
“We have endeavoured to put Brighton & Hove on the international map as the UK’s favourite seaside resort and tourism has increased to 11m visitors with a 5% rise in overnight stays.
“The local economy is outperforming the rest of the UK and we have seen 9,000 more jobs created and become the second highest UK city for businesses. Through our transformation projects such as London Road we have also seen previously shunned areas of the city be rejuvenated and more and more empty shops bought back to exciting, functioning new premises.
“Having the best economy wouldn’t mean much if the money from our local businesses didn’t benefit the people who make up the city. In light of this, we bought in a Living Wage for our employees & 20% of UK’s Living Wage employers are in Brighton & Hove meaning workers took home an extra £1.5million a year. This money also goes back into the local economy helping everything work as it should do in a fair and focused community.
“Having a great seaside spot for tourists and a fantastic economy for businesses doesn’t help the people who live here or want to live here which means that housing has been a priority for us. We have introduced 700 affordable homes to the area which is a 600% increase from the previous two councils & bought 900 empty homes back to use.
“The Green administration has been visionary and ambitious on behalf of residents, while never forgetting our place in the wider world and the environmental challenges that we all face into the future.
“Given the likely ongoing austerity policies of central government, the next four years will be extremely difficult for any incoming administration. Our legacy has been one of fairness, regeneration a thriving local economy and One Planet thinking and that’s why we believe the Greens can and should be entrusted with another four years to carry on this good work.”
Highlights of the report:
- £98 million secured in additional funding for numerous projects which have helped to improve parks like The Level and Stanmer Park, bring empty homes back into use, repair the broken seafront arches, make walking and cycling safer and more attractive and bus services more efficient, reliable and less polluting.
- Unlocked long held-up regeneration and development projects, like the i360, Circus Street, Preston Barracks, King Alfred and Waterfront projects, bringing substantial additional investment to the city, while also enhancing London Road and Lewes Road
- Resolved the long-standing inequalities between council employees working in predominantly male staffed services like Cityclean, compared to those employing mostly female staff.
- Introduced the Living Wage for council staff and supported its uptake by over 200 other local employers.
- Opened up council decision-making with a radically more transparent budget-setting process and a committee system which ensures all the political parties can play a full part in council business
As a light-hearted accompaniment to the report, Cllr Leo Littman has produced a comic video sketch called ‘What have the Greens ever done for us?’ Based on the famous “What have the Romans…” scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian, it features a fictional hustings event where opposition parties are reminded by their audience of the long list of improvements delivered under the Green administration. It’s better if you see the real thing, available on YouTube at:
Cllr Litmann said: “I believe humour can help get a serious message across, and thought I’d add a bit of comedy to the facts and figures. When I sat down to figure out how to do that, the famous scene from ‘Monty Python’s: Life of Brian’ came to mind. So, with a lot of help from a lot of excellent people, I made: ‘What have the Greens ever done for us?’”
- End of Term Report
- Summary of delivery on 2011 priorities: What we promised in 2011 and what we have achieved
- Rejuvenating our City: Brighton and Hove Green Party Local Manifesto for 2015-2019