Brighton and Hove City Council has today published its alternative budgets – one for a 5.9% rise in council tax, and a substitute 2% one.
The council’s policy and resource committee will discuss the report next Thursday before it goes to full council on February 26.
The Green administration want to call a referendum to enable a 5.9% rise in council. By law, they must also prepare a substitute budget, which is based on a 2% rise.
The Labour group argues the council should set a 2% budget which would not require a costly referendum.
Councillor Ollie Sykes, Finance lead said, “Council services are already under huge pressure and the predicted combination of increased demand and reduced funding means savings of £102million are needed over the next five years. This is on top of £77 million already taken out over the last four years.
Decisions on where to spend less will be tough but we can’t stand still if we are to keep providing the city with public services whilst absorbing the extreme reduction in Government grants.”
Here are some of the headline figures:
Under the 5.9% budget, Able & Willing’s grant will be cut by a further £100,000 from September 2015 and £200,000 from April 2016.
However, there’s no mention of any provision for Able & Willing at all under the 2% budget.
Under children’s centres in the 5.9% budget, the only change would be a review of the sensory needs service.
The 2% budget proposes closes eight of the 12 children’s centres at West Hove, Cornerstone , City View and Hollingbury & Patcham.
Similarly, the 5.9% budget requires raising fees at subsidised nurseries, whereas the 2% one requires removing the subsidy altogether.
All CityClean savings under the 5.9% budget come from unspecified efficiencies in supplies and services.
As GMB said earlier in the week, the 2% budget would see street cleaning mechanised. The parks service would also lose 8% of its gardening provision, which GMB say they’ve been told is equal to * gardeners.
The 2% budget would also see no more trees planted by the council, and the closure of some public toilets and reduced opening times for others.
Both budgets will see the removal of bus subsidies to keep evening and weekend services running on some suburban routes, notably the 21 and 38A.