Labour Party councillors on Brighton & Hove City Council are being urged to use a last-minute grant of more than half a million to shield the city’s most-vulnerable from devastating incoming service cuts.
Brighton & Hove City Council’s Labour administration published its budget proposals last week – with tens of millions of pounds set to be axed from vital services and dozens of job losses planned in key departments at the local authority.
That budget, however, did not include the city’s share of an additional £500million provided by the government for social care funding.
Brighton and Hove has been allocated a £2.5million share of that funding and council officers have confirmed this additional income has unexpectedly led to £510,000 in unallocated funds. Green councillors are now urging Labour to use the money to reverse some of the planned cuts.
Green councillors have highlighted an array of cuts which they argue disproportionately and unnecessarily target services providing vital support to many of the city’s most-vulnerable residents.
These include planned cuts to services for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, with Labour planning to save:
- £364,000 by closing St Patrick’s High Support Rough Sleepers Hostel
- £58,000 by decommissioning services currently provided by First Base Rough Sleepers Day Centre
- £100,000 by axing funding for specialist young advice providing by the Youth Advice Centre.
Elsewhere £80,000 is being cut from support offered to young people at risk of exploitation, while the Community Fund, which provides an important source of financial support to local charities, is also set to go.
Green councillor Steve Davis, leader of the opposition, now wants Labour to U-turn on as many of these cuts as possible after receiving the boost in unallocated funds.
Cllr Davis said: “The scale of these devastating cuts is down to the appalling underfunding from central government, so the fact Brighton and Hove has an extra £500,000 this late in the day is not the cause for huge celebration Rishi Sunak and his colleagues would have us believe.
“It barely puts a dent in the more than £100 million in real terms funding cut this council has suffered since the Tories came to power.
“But, with so many vital services at risk, it does present Labour with the chance to U-turn on some of their planned cuts and we would strongly argue this money should be used to protect the most-vulnerable, and not for political point-scoring or populist policy decisions.
“This is a real opportunity to shield vulnerable residents from the worst impact of these incoming cuts and Labour needs to take it.”