Labour short-changes our city’s communities once again

This Labour council has been consumed by division: former leader Warren Morgan was ousted last year, Caroline Penn quit in protest, the city’s Children and Young People Committee has had three chairs in as many years – and this week the chair of the Housing and New Homes Committee Anne Meadows defected to the Conservative Party.

Given her recent comments that she would “not vote Labour at the next election”, her decision came as little surprise. What a mess.

Worse still, these elaborate distractions only serve to leave our communities short-changed.

Attention is drawn from the important struggle to combat the Conservative government austerity policies that continue to blight our city.

Next week councillors meet to discuss the council’s budget – at a time when Conservative government cuts have halved our funding since 2010.

Contained within the current plans are deep cuts to key services: from community safety, to sexual health, substance misuse prevention and libraries.

On top of the budget cuts made in the last three years by the Labour council, many of our essential services are stretched beyond capacity.

As the government continues to drive home austerity, we need local services that reach our most marginalised residents more than ever.

While splits consume the other two parties, Greens are united in our commitment to work hard for our communities and remain firmly focused on the important local issues affecting our city.

It is Greens who have pushed for action on homelessness, fought cruel welfare reform, for answers on the impact of a catastrophic Brexit and forced our council to wake up to the climate change emergency.

We can only make six amendments to the budget but are working hard to push for a new approach that focuses on tackling key issues of housing, public health and climate change.

We look forward to sharing this, and our manifesto for the council elections on Thursday 2 May, with the city’s residents.

With Tory austerity continuing to hammer our city, and a Labour group unable to lead the council, it is the Greens who are united with a plan to lead for the future of Brighton and Hove.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is the convenor of the Green group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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