A new report urges Brighton and Hove City Council to release publicly owned land to enable builders to put up low-cost homes for local people.
The Brighton and Hove Fairness Commission also called on the government to bring back rent controls while making it easier for councils to borrow money to build homes for the poor.
The commission said the council should create cheap temporary housing for the homeless in places like Preston Barracks while developers work up their longer-term plans.
And it said that more needs to be done to help people find out how to take advantage of the cheapest bus tickets because fares were high.
The commission published a series of findings and recommendations this afternoon (Monday 27 June) at the Friends’ Meeting House in Brighton.
It said that its report was the culmination of nine months’ work by the commission to find out how Brighton and Hove could be a fairer and more equal place to live and work.
And it said: “The strength of engagement with the commission’s work was impressive – nearly 1,500 residents, 70 groups and 25 experts submitted their views to the commission on what they thought was fair and unfair about living in the city together with suggestions for making it fairer for everyone.”
Vic Rayner, who chaired the Commission, said: “We would really like to thank the residents and communities who came forward and spoke to us and shared their passion, energy and vision of fairness for Brighton and Hove.
“After our engagement with the city we came away with much to think about and many possible ways to tackle unfairness.”
Brighton University supported the work of the commission by analysing the evidence that was presented to its members.
The university’s vice chancellor Debra Humphris said: “Tackling poverty in Brighton and Hove must be a priority for us all.
“We are one of the largest employer’s in the city and we are also educating the next generation of teachers, nurses, social workers and doctors so we understand that we do make a big impact on the city.
“I’m keen to explore how we can work closely with partners to achieve the aims laid out in the report and make early progress in some specific areas.”
The report makes a number of recommendations on ways the city’s organisations and communities can work together to make the city a fairer and more accessible place.
- Working differently
- Early years and achieving at school
- Living and ageing in the city
The report stresses that the whole city needs to take the recommendations forward and the changes needed are not solely down to any individual organisation, say, the council or the government.
Council leader Warren Morgan welcomed the commission’s report. He said: “On behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council I would like to thank Vic Rayner for her dedication as chair of the Fairness Commission and the other commissioners for all their hard work over the past year.
“The report is a powerful reminder to the city that more must be done to tackle poverty and inequality and I am committed to making Brighton and Hove a fairer place and doing whatever we can to ensure that everyone shares in our economic success.”
The Greens also welcomed the Fairness Commission report. Councillor Leo Littman, who speaks on equalities for the Greens, said: “We welcome this independent report which shows the scale of the challenge facing us in our efforts to make Brighton and Hove a fairer place to live. This chimes well with the Greens’ priority of increasing fairness.
“We will work with the council administration to support the implementation of these recommendations and to ensure the efforts of the commissioners and the many people and organisations which have contributed to this work do not go to waste.
“One of the key strengths of this report is the level of engagement with the public and we commend the work of the University of Brighton in bringing these public contributions to the forefront of the debate.
“Residents in Brighton and Hove have truly united around the concept of fairness and this report gives us a huge insight into our shared priorities as a city.
“The real test for the Labour administration will be how it implements the recommendations in this report.
“In the context of increasing funding pressures, in future the council must set annual budgets which put the needs of the most vulnerable first.
“We will support any real action proposed by the council to make our city a fairer place for everyone.”
The commission has urged all partners in the city as well as the government to consider the recommendations. It plans to meet in six and twelve months’ time to review progress.
To find out more and read the report, click here.