a city for everyone
We know residents are also proud of Brighton & Hove as a bold, vibrant, welcoming city. Secure, well-maintained and affordable housing, adequate services and proper support for marginalised groups should all be part of that welcome.
For years, council finances have been squeezed by increasing demand for critical services and savage funding cuts imposed by Conservative-led governments. Nationally, councils have begun to go bust. Greens will fight for adequate funding for local government, for progressive funding approaches and sources that allow councils to plan beyond the next financial year, and we will challenge PFI contracts.
HOUSING FOR EVERYONE
The Green council (2011-15) built Brighton & Hove’s first council houses in a generation, oversaw the delivery of 508 affordable homes and set in motion construction projects that are still transforming the city today, including the new homes in the North Laine. In addition, we renovated council homes to make them more energy efficient, saving residents money, and we installed solar panels on 300 council homes. We will improve on that legacy by developing 1500 homes over four years on mostly brownfield sites including those above car parks and shopping centres. We will seek to buy the Brighton General Hospital site to avoid its privatisation.
We will also:
- spend unused borrowing resources towards delivering 600 new council houses (the current Labour council has built fewer than 200)
- increase the help available for those struggling with housing costs
- increase the social housing stock by buying off-plan from developers
- encourage the building of carbon neutral housing
- introduce stricter ecological studies for urban fringe sites and ensure that any housing built there is 100% affordable
RIGHTS FOR TENANTS
We know how expensive private rented accommodation in Brighton & Hove can be and that council tax debt is the greatest problem for households. We have already pushed the council to adopt the Citizens Advice council tax protocol to help people in financial crisis. We will ensure that tenants get a fairer deal by setting up a council-run not-for-profit lettings agency and will press for rent controls.
We will also:
- protect from eviction any council tenants in arrears due to the bedroom tax or Universal Credit
- take action against landlords guilty of health and safety violations
CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES
We will protect funding for youth services and support the delivery of a new Brighton Youth Centre and more playgrounds.
We will also:
- create a long-term health plan for the youth of the city
- maintain provision for children with additional support needs and for those from marginalised groups, including refugees and LGBT+ young people
- support early intervention programmes in schools to address sex discrimination and sexual harassment
- work with schools to encourage access to sports facilities and kitchens during school holidays
HEALTH AND CARE SERVICES
Greens believe in a publicly-owned and publicly-run National Health Service that is free at the point of use and includes social care and wide-reaching public health programmes. We will lobby for better mental health provision for the over-25s and tackle the causes of ill health: dirty air, barriers to getting active, malnutrition and poverty.
We will also:
- resist cuts to the National Health Service and call providers to account over lengthening waiting times
- fund an HIV education and prevention programme, support funding for sexual health services and work to reduce rates of other sexually transmitted infections
- push to have privatised local health services returned to the public sector, and for the reinstatement of bursaries for nurses
- tackle malnutrition among frail older people and help them stay in their homes for longer
- reverse the policy of rationing provision of adult social care
- lobby central government to properly fund the Staying Put programme for 18-year-olds leaving care
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
We intend to protect, welcome and celebrate our BAME, LGBT+ and international residents. We will do this partly by reserving seats on the council’s powerful Policy & Resources Committee for the BAME community. Between 2011 and 2015 the Green council adapted 3,580 homes to meet the needs of disabled council and private tenants, was named the country’s leading council for LGBT+ education and won awards for its work on trans equality. Since then, annual cuts to services have disproportionately affected carers (usually women) and those with disabilities or from marginalised communities.
We will always oppose these unfair cuts, and if re-elected we will:
- improve support for residents with disabilities
- protect funding for Brighton Women’s Centre
- lobby against the state pension inequality affecting women that has resulted from increases in the state pension age
- protect per capita funding for Violence Against Women and Girls programmes and run an awareness raising campaign aimed at local employers to promote the needs of domestic violence survivors
- make anonymised CVs mandatory within the local public sector to ensure that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates are treated fairly
- work with the BAME and LGBT+ communities to protect them from discrimination, for example by setting up an LGBT+ housing group, and encourage front-line workers to challenge prejudice
- support annual celebrations of the civic contribution of BAME and LGBT+ communities
THE COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR
Brighton & Hove is fortunate in having a very active community and voluntary sector that works in neighbourhoods the council is less able to reach. A Green council will support investment and oppose cuts to the sector. We will help community groups access resources and in-kind support through providing buildings, meeting rooms and funding advice.
AN INTERNATIONAL CITY
We are proud that ours is an outward-looking city, a City of Sanctuary that stands up for refugees’ and asylum seekers’ rights. We all have friends, neighbours, work colleagues or family members who have come to this country from elsewhere. We value the skills they bring to our economy and public services, and the diversity that enriches our society.
The Green Party has consistently opposed Brexit and campaigned for a People’s Vote. Whatever the final outcome of this process, we will work to ensure that the many residents of and visitors to our city who come from elsewhere in the EU feel welcome and supported.