“The Labour council budget will be a disaster for this city and as such the Green Group of Councillors cannot support it” – Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, convenor of the Green group.
Green Party Councillors have expressed their dismay over the scale of cuts proposed by the Labour administration for the 2016/17 Brighton and Hove City Council budget. The cuts are Labour’s response to massive cuts in local authority funding by the Conservative central government.
The budget sets out the Labour administration’s plans to cut spending by £68m over 4 years, with £20.5m in cuts next year alone.
Key aspects of the budget include, over the next 4 years:
- £22m cuts to Adult Social Care, which will lead to a deterioration in care outcomes, greater social isolation, and less preventative work
- £1.3m cuts to support for residents with substance misuse problems, which will see more problems go untreated and increase homelessness
- £850,000 cuts to libraries which will see the closure of three libraries in the City
- £846,000 cuts to children’s centres, reducing preventative intervention with struggling families
- £540,000 cut to the council tax reduction scheme which will lead to a 33% rise in council tax for the poorest households
- £498,000 cut to sexual health and HIV services which will see an increase in sexually transmitted infections
- £449,000 cut to the city’s youth service, which will see full-scale closure of facilities for young people
- £40,000 cut to road safety education which will see increases in injuries and fatalities
According to Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, convenor of the Green group:
“This budget is a result of the Conservative national government’s toxic austerity agenda being forced on the city by ministers in Whitehall. While claiming the cuts are needed to balance the nation’s finances, central government can still seem to find £100bn to pay for Trident or unspecified billions pursuing its militaristic foreign policy.
“The Labour council budget will be a disaster for this city and as such the Green Group of Councillors cannot support it. I’m afraid the rhetoric from the Labour administration simply won’t wash. However we talk about it, whether as service redesign or make-overs or transformation, it doesn’t change one simple fact: you cannot remove £68 million of funding from council services without massive negative impacts on the city’s residents.
“The city’s vulnerable people will pay the steepest price over the next four years, as inequality is set to increase. The worst impacts will be felt by older and disabled people who will receive less support and become increasingly isolated. Yet all residents will be affected by these cuts to some degree, as streets get dirtier, antisocial behaviour increases and vulnerable friends and family members go unsupported.
Councillor Ollie Sykes, finance spokesperson for the Green Group, said:
“The Labour administration is proposing a cuts budget which will wipe out years of Green efforts to protect front-line services in the Council. The administration’s own analysis predicts significant negative impacts on vulnerable people, who will face greater poverty and hardship and will have fewer services to turn to for help.
“As money is stripped from vital services, we will see increasing pressure on crisis services such as the NHS and emergency accommodation which will cost the city millions in the long term. It is incredibly short-sighted.
“At a time of introducing one of the worst budgets in city council’s history, Labour have conveniently cut back on its formal consultation with city residents. The limited consultation that has been done shows residents are deeply opposed to cuts, yet their views are completely ignored as cuts are forced through”.