The Queen’s speech today outlined the Government’s programme of legislation for the following year. The Speech included a raft of measures which will impact on local government services, and outlined plans to continue the reduction in funding for local government within the plans to allow council to retain business rates.
Convenor of the Green group of councillors Phélim Mac Cafferty has responded to the speech, saying it fails to tackle real issues of soaring housing costs, climate change, and a lack of support our most vulnerable residents.
Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said:
“The government in the Queen’s speech claimed that it wanted to “increase life chances for the most disadvantaged” yet we know that cuts to welfare and public services are hurting some of our city’s poorest residents. 25,400 households within Brighton & Hove have seen their benefits reduced as a result of reforms. On average, these households are £44 per week worse off.[i]
“The Government is completely out of touch with the situation in Brighton and Hove. While on the one hand it is talking about helping people to save and buy their own homes, it continues to pursue drastic austerity measures which have seen massive cuts to frontline services and welfare.
“The reality is that many residents are spending extortionate sums on renting property and have no money to spare, let alone save. The Government is offering little to help us tackle the soaring cost of living in the city or protect our most vulnerable residents.
“On business rates it makes Brighton and Hove City council raise all business rates locally. This carries enormous risks and could come with a raft of new obligations on councils at a time when budgets are being slashed.
“Incredibly on the one hand the Queen’s speech sets the ‘framework’ for Britain’s first spaceport yet again misses the opportunity to stop the suffering of our poorest residents from failed Tory austerity. Again zero commitment from the government on climate change despite 7 months of global record breaking temperatures.[ii] When will this Government wake up to the real issues our country is facing?”
[i] https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/Impact%20of%20welfare%20reform%20BHCC%20final%20report.pdf Centre for economic and social inclusion, June 2015