Our city: facts not myths

Here’s some fact-checker info to help you understand the local context as there’s been a lot of misinformation in the election campaign – last updated 27 June 2024

Royal Pavilion Panorama Brighton

“The Green Council” – fact: we don’t have a Green council, the city has a majority Labour-run council

  • Since May 2023 we have had a Labour-run council in Brighton & Hove (B&H). Despite what residents might have been told about B&H having a “Green Council” Labour actually won the last three council elections, in 2015, 2019 and 2023. Labour have given the impression this is not the case.Labour have controlled the council for the majority of the last decade.
  • In recent years, the Greens were only in minority administration of the council between Aug 2020 – May 2023. Greens took over from Labour in lockdown when their administration collapsed on account of councillors being sacked for antisemitism. 
  • This was what is called a “minority administration” which means Greens could not pass any local policies without the support of other parties.

      Bins / missed refuse collections

This has been a long running issue for decades and spans the last three Labour administrations as well as the 2020 – 23 Green administration:

  • Greens have long said that this issue was larger than just one party but Labour have used it as a political football at every council election.
  • At each of the elections where Labour formed the largest party (2015, 2019, 2023), they promised residents they would sort this issue – then blamed others for the problems. Nothing has improved.
  • Greens have always wanted to take the politics out of this challenge and just resolve the issue for residents – no single party has been able to sort it alone.
  • Before the local elections in May 2023, then MP Caroline Lucas pushed for an independent legal investigation; this finally lifted the lid on WHY the service is so bad: a toxic work place culture at Cityclean (the council service which collects refuse and recycling) caused by local GMB Union reps.
  • The investigation revealed racism, homophobia, bullying and sexual harassment in the workforce; even weapons such as knives and nunchucks were discovered on-site.
  • Collection trucks were also sabotaged deliberately.
  • An independent report by the King’s Counsel also made clear that “there were close links between the Labour administration and GMB Union reps within the Council and concerns were expressed to me that highly confidential information passed between the administration and GMB reps within the Council.”
  • The KC report also revealed that councillors also blocked disciplinary action against GMB reps in question which allowed behaviour to continue. With a well-documented political and financial relationship between Labour and the local GMB union, and Labour now refusing to investigate references to political interference in the KC report, residents can draw their own conclusions about what has been going on.
  • All the while Labour have politicised the issue to great advantage at council elections.
  • All of the above is verifiable online.

Recycling rates – why are they so bad in Brighton and Hove?

  • In 2003 Labour locked the city into a 25 year PFI waste management contract issued with the company Veolia.
  • This was later extended to 30 years by the Tories – Greens were the only party to oppose the contract. 
  • This contract limits what Brighton and Hove can recycle – so currently plastic pots (e.g. dips), tubs (butter) and trays (ready meals) cannot be recycled locally. 
  • Rates are also measured by the weight of recycling so councils that recycle food waste (which is heavy) have much better rates.
  • Green councillors have tried to get food waste trials introduced on multiple occasions but have been outvoted by Labour and the Tories on at least three occasions.
  • The Government is bringing in new laws which will mean Brighton & Hove will need to widen what it recycles, including pots tubes and trays (PTTs) and food waste by no later than April 2026. 

i360 viewing tower

  • Politicians from all parties have supported the i360 project at various points over the last decade, Labour’s blame game does not help to solve this predicament. It employs people.
  • It pre dates most Green Cllrs but we need to try and make it a success.
  • It irresponsible to keep talking the i360 down because the Labour council thinks it’s politically convenient to distance previous Labour administrations from historic decisions that were made. 
  • It’s vital for the administration to focus on where things are out now, and what’s best for the city, rather than political point scoring and attempts to distance Labour from a project it championed at the start and finish.
  • With local government finances being so dire because of Tory Government cuts, the truth is that outside investment into seafront regeneration is only realistic option.
  • There is no £50 million debt.

City council finance

  • Literally days before the Labour administration collapsed in July 2020, Labour’s finance lead (Dan Yates) made quite clear that that the Council’s financial forecast was bleak and desperate, noting that “By the end of this year, the council expects to be about £36 million in the red, almost all as a result of the coronavirus crisis.”
  • Greens took over the administration at the Council at the height of the pandemic. Greens took over at THE most precarious time this city has known in living memory, at a point when Labour councillors forecast a £36 million overspend – this was as low as £3m by the time Labour took over in May 2023. 
  • Greens and Labour know that the real problem is 14 years of Tory cuts to council budgets. 
  • Sian will push for more funding for councils, at present Labour have not committed to reverse cuts to local budgets. Ends


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