The Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council has set out its budget proposals.
The Tories have put forward eight measures to be funded by reducing the amount spent on the council’s senior management and full-time trade union officials.
The amendments are
- Restoring £60,000 to the public toilets budget, potentially saving some of the five toilets proposed for closure by Labour
- Reinstating the council’s noise patrol service which Labour wants to abolish entirely
- Investing £93,000 in grass verge cutting and gully cleansing to improve the look of the city and help prevent flooding
- Reversing Labour’s proposed cut to preventative mental health funding
- Reversing Labour’s proposed cut to residential and respite breaks funding for children with disabilities
- Partially reversing Labour’s proposed cuts to support for homeless households and to the community grants programme
- Protecting the St John’s Day Service for older people
- Freezing the cost of business, trader and visitor parking permits
The Conservative group said: “These measures will be largely paid for through additional savings in senior management costs and through reductions in the 10 full-time trade union officials employed by the council – one of the highest numbers in the country.”
Conservative group leader Councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “We are pleased that the Labour administration has started to carry out some of the reforms to council services that the Conservative group has been advocating for the last four or five years.
“However, there are a number of areas where we disagree with their approach – namely in cutting some of the bread and butter services that residents rely upon and also services to some highly vulnerable groups.
“Our fully costed amendments demonstrate that there is no need for them to make these cuts.”
The Tories’ finance spokesman, Councillor Andrew Wealls, said: “Labour’s inheritance from the Greens’ lost years was unreformed council services, hostility to the community and voluntary sector and a chronically overspent budget.
“We are pleased Labour has adopted many of the ideas presented in our Conservative manifesto last year to address the challenges faced by the city.
“However, if we aren’t to face a crisis in future years we will need to see much faster action on reform and a willingness to challenge Labour’s vested interests to ensure our city’s frontline services are high quality and accessible, especially for those who need them most.”
The measures will be decided when the full council meets next Thursday (25 February) to set the budget and the council tax for the coming year. The meeting, at the County Ground, Hove, is open to the public.