Measures announced today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, which saw the government abandon plans to generate a ‘surplus,’ also included provision for repairing a stately home, infrastructure budgets for roads and renewed investment in broadband and digital.
Local government has responsibility for a range of services, including those which care for the elderly, children and the vulnerable. However the statement failed to address funding needs for the NHS, adult social care, climate change or local government, and offered little reassurance on the impacts of Brexit.
The Green Group of Councillors have expressed dismay at the limited impact of the statement to address real social problems.
“This budget confirms that the Chancellor is completely off the mark when it comes to the reality of life for many in this country. It says an awful lot about the Conservative government priorities when the Chancellor has failed to plough the necessary £1.3bn into adult social care and is spending it on building roads instead. Where GP surgeries are being closed, homelessness is on the rise and our city is being hit by storms, rising temperatures and flooding, the chancellor has no plans for helping us deal with these problems,” commented Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, convenor of the Green Group.
“The Green Group of Councillors want to be clear – measures introduced in this budget are nothing more than an elaborate distraction technique. The real priorities that need fixing are funding for social care and overstretched local services.
“The Chancellor’s statement is wilful ignorance. From protecting our libraries to fighting for truly affordable housing, so much of our time in local government is spent grappling with limited budgets to try to preserve a fairer Brighton and Hove. This budget is a huge missed opportunity and addresses none of the issues that local councils face in meeting increasing pressures in the face of swingeing cuts.
“We call on the Labour leadership of the council to join us in speaking out against the Chancellor’s plans, and finding meaningful alternatives to yet more failed austerity.”
The Green Group have made representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Local Government Association about the impact of cuts to local government, issues of particular importance ahead of the budget setting council to be held in the new year. Nationally, Green MP Caroline Lucas has also condemned the Conservative Government for failing to mention the crisis on the Southern railway network, and has also called for increased funding for the NHS