Councillor Dick Page joined fellow Green councillors and Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas this week in a high-profile bid to Downing Street, challenging massive cuts to local government funding proposed by the Conservatives.
Greens delivered a letter addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to plug the estimated £9.5m funding gap faced by councils between now and 2020 in the Comprehensive Spending Review expected next week.
The letter reveals that the 40% cut in funding to local authorities since 2010-11 have meant significant job losses and massive impacts to children’s centres, open spaces and playgrounds, libraries, museums and galleries and youth services . According to Greens, this is counter-productive and undermines strong communities.
Caroline Lucas MP said:
“Proposed cuts to local authority grants will unleash further devastation to communities across Britain. In Brighton my constituents are facing the hollowing out of council services – included the proposed closure of up to five children’s centres.
“Enough is enough. The Government must rethink its callous and counterproductive austerity programme and give local authorities the resources they need to deliver services to the people they work for.”
The move by Greens to vigorously oppose cuts comes amid the Labour Councils announcement in Brighton & Hove that it plans to make difficult and unpopular cuts, with 30% cuts already proposed in some frontline services. Greens say local Labour Councillors are simply “waving a white flag” rather than challenging the scale of the central government cuts.
Councillor Dick Page, of Hanover and Elm Grove ward, who attended the event said:
“Brighton & Hove, in common with many other councils, is suffering near-obliteration of the government revenue support grant by 2020, from £102m a year in 2012. The Labour administration claims there’s nothing they can do to avoid slashing libraries, children’s centres or care support for the elderly & disabled. They would even have us believe they are “modernising” services, not cutting them.
“By now, a Green council would have raised much more in council tax alone, protecting key services for the most disadvantaged. This city did not vote in May for more & more austerity-driven cuts, and residents have never had the chance to vote on a choice of council tax rises. Before the spending review we call on progressive Labour members to stand up with us against this government’s vicious and unnecessary austerity policies”.
 Read the full letter here: http://bit.ly/1QM4buc