Green councillors on the 2024 Brighton & Hove Council budget: “These are Tory cuts but Labour choices.”

Green councillors voted against more than £20 million in cuts to vital local services.

They told Labour councillors responsible for the plans they will have to take full responsibility for the devastating impact of their budget on the most vulnerable people in Brighton and Hove.

Labour councillors refused all opposition amendments to their budget at a heated meeting at Hove Town Hall on Thursday evening – including suggestions from the Green Party which would have protected a string of local services and charities from the worst effects of the planned service cuts.

The Greens also criticised Labour councillors for cracking jokes, congratulating each other, and in one case reciting a light-hearted poem moments before devastating cuts and substantial job losses were voted through.

It included proposals to reallocate money Labour had earmarked for an unconfirmed feasibility study and accompanying businesses prospectus to reversing controversial cuts to services tackling violence against women and girls.

Another Green amendment voted down by Labour called for the council to spend the £266,000 set aside for reintroducing glyphosate – a carcinogenic chemical used to tackle weeds – on:

  • reducing a £205,000 cut to local voluntary and charity sector commissioning
  • continuing the funding of the popular 79 bus route to the South Downs National Park
  • investing in community-led biodiversity projects
  • returning part of a planned £200,000 cut to the council’s sustainability team
  • scrapping a £20,000 cut to the city’s Disability Advice Centre.

Green amendments also made provisions for a reduction in the £302,000 cut to the Communities Fund, the reversal of Labour’s proposed cut to union support at the town hall, setting aside an extra £77,000 towards supporting food banks and warm homes energy work, and removing a £115,000 cut to an outreach service for young people with disabilities.

But despite each proposal having been considered viable and fully fundable by council finance officers, Labour councillors rejected the Green amendments.

They chose to push ahead with plans described by one local voluntary organisation as cuts which would “have a disproportionate and devastating effect on the most disadvantaged people, particularly disabled people, children with special educational needs and disabilities, young people, people experiencing poverty, and those with multiple compound needs including homelessness and mental health issues”.

Green councillors voted against Labour’s budget, which passed because of Labour’s majority in the council chamber.

Green group convenor Cllr Steve Davis said: “These are Conservative cuts resulting from pathetic and completely insufficient funding from central government, but Labour has a choice over what to cut and what to save.

“These are Tory cuts, but Labour choices.”

“Instead of listening to local charities, trade unions, and community organisations, Labour have arrogantly ignored feedback and simply forced through a budget which achieves nothing more than pushing vital local support services to the brink.

“We appreciate the need to pass a balanced budget. Indeed, last year we worked with Labour to do so, with Labour councillors at the time – including the current leader of the council – voting unanimously in support of our plans.

“But we could not vote for cuts which we know will prove devastating for so many in our city; not when we offered workable and fully fundable alternatives which Labour chose to simply ignore.

Cllr Davis added, “It was also incredibly disappointing to see Labour councillors lining up to congratulate themselves, share jokes, and recite flippant poetry, while vital services faced the reality of these cuts and hard-working council officers whose jobs have been put at risk were working late into the night to watch proceedings.

“This Labour administration will soon run out of people to blame.

“When the impact of these cuts begins to be felt – and when an incoming Labour government does nothing to reverse the decimation of public services we have seen under the Tories – every Labour councillor who voted these cuts through will need to take responsibility for the damage they do.”



To top