In a budget they described as a no-win scenario, Greens secure the votes to protect vital services and safeguard key priorities across the city
Yesterday evening, Greens provided the leadership that passed the city’s annual budget. Councillors from across the chamber noted the unprecedented financial challenges faced by the council as a result of 13 years of Government cuts. Despite these extreme challenges, Greens managed to present a balanced budget which protects the most vital public services.
Over the last 13 years, Brighton & Hove has lost over £110m of annual government funding. This equates to 1/3 of the council’s general fund, which is the money the council has to spend on services excluding schools and council housing. On top of this, the council faces an unprecedented number of challenges; still recovering from the pandemic, whilst suffering the effects of Brexit and the financial fallout from the invasion of Ukraine. This has been compounded by rampant inflation of over 10%, caused by a series of policy and economic failures by the Conservative government.
Greens stress that whilst there are successes in this budget, the pain imposed by our economic context will present challenges in the months ahead. They continue to call on the city to strengthen its resilience, and stress that the government must give powers and funding to address the causes of this crisis.
Finance Lead Cllr Tom Druitt said:
“This year’s budget is the most challenging one the council has ever had to set, but working with colleagues from across the chamber, our staff, trade unions, residents, businesses and the community and voluntary sector we have managed to set a balanced budget that protects vital services for residents. Greens believe that you can never do enough engagement, and the budget proposals have consistently improved since the first draft proposals were published in December, right up to the amendments we proposed.
“All of these changes have been the result of listening to the priorities, concerns and needs of the city. This is what you get with a Green council: honesty, genuine engagement, and hard graft right up to the final whistle.”
Leader of the Council Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty said:
“We have stretched every penny and worked to the wire to ensure that this rigged budget is the best it can be. We have worked with councillors representing all parties and all areas of the city to find consensus, and in a huge range of areas the other parties have followed our lead and voted for our budget.
“We’re making sure the city keeps punching above its weight. We are united in our commitment to our communities and remain firmly focused on the important local issues affecting our city. Protecting the most vulnerable, creating jobs and helping to build a cleaner, healthier, and Greener future for Brighton and Hove. A planned, balanced budget from the team with the ideas to secure our city’s best interests.”