Brighton and Hove City Council agrees £750m budget and council tax rise

Posted On 28 Feb 2019 at 11:05 pm

Brighton and Hove City Council has agreed a budget of about £750 million for the coming financial year and a council tax rise of 2.99 per cent.

The council tax bill for a typical band D property will go up to £1,595.45.

Overall, bills will rise by just over 4 per cent to £1,879.03 when the police and fire precepts are included.

Almost three hours of debate at Hove Town Hall ended in stalemate when the three parties were unable to agree.

The minority Labour administration backed a series of Green Party amendments but the Greens then abstained on a motion to pass the budget.

Labour was outvoted by the opposition Conservatives who last week became the largest party on the council and will learn next Tuesday (5 March) whether they will take political charge.

The stalemate ended after three hours of talks outside the council chamber, with a £2.2 million deal thrashed out between Labour and the Greens.

The deal prompted a temporary walk-out by the Tories as they talked through the implications.

The deal means an extra £1.7 million for transport and parks-related spending and £500,000 to be set aside for “sustainability and carbon reduction”.

Some of the spending plans included ideas suggested by the Conservatives, with most of the spending to be financed through extra borrowing.

Council leader Daniel Yates said that the Green amendments improved the budget and added: “It demonstrates that a progressive alliance can deliver better things for this city.”

After the meeting Green convenor Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “This is the Labour budget. Opposition parties are only granted six amendments to it – and we have fought hard to make sure our communities remain a priority.

“We have pushed to improve the budget being proposed and our work will now see over £12.5 million put back into the council budget, providing serious investment into climate change mitigation, support for the homeless and challenging the plans to reduce funding for some of our most vital public services, such as substance misuse rehab and libraries.

“Once again, Greens assert that prevention is better than cure – cutting public services costs more economically, and socially, than it will ever save in the short term.

“We have shared with the city our approach – and while we cannot rescue this Labour budget, our focus on the value of prevention means that Greens make sound investments without robbing from one service to pay for another.

“Unlike the Tories, who see fit to hand down austerity year upon year, and a divided Labour who have brought forward no new ideas, it is time for a Green vision for the future of our city that puts our communities first.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    A dramatic evening, with – among other things – a turning of the tide on the destruction of our libraries.

    • Rolivan Reply

      Where were you Christopher? Your absence was noted.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        Flattered! I was with visitors, one of whom is very ill – but valiant with it.

  2. Simon Reply

    Just been told we’ll be 79p better off a month.
    I said to my partner, at least we’ll be better off, and not worse off?
    Now, it’ll be wiped out completely and an even extra strain on our already stretched finances?
    Why do we continue to put up with forever being told that we have to continually keep paying more and more out of less and less?
    If only we had the backbone of the French in 1777 when they said, we have had enough???

  3. james Reply

    £500,000 to be set aside for “sustainability and carbon reduction”. you know its dodgy when they put it in quotes

  4. Billy Reply

    I appreciate that any budget meeting will be about political bargaining, but what I really want to know is how the new budget actually affects us residents. Is there a net increase in the budget which we are now paying for in increased council tax, or are there still cuts overall?
    And how much of those cuts are down to the ongoing withdrawal of government funding?
    The Greens are claiming victory in that they have put through amendments which prevent some of the cuts, but if they say 12.5 million have been put back in the budget then where has that money come from?
    The Labour group seem to be claiming victory in that they have formed a progressive alliance to get the budget through, but we are not told what they had to give away to achieve that. And the Tories seem to be claiming that the budget is bad and that they could deliver better value for money – which would probably mean further cuts.
    So I’d like some analysis of this, from someone who understands the figures. If for example, £500,000 has been put in the budget for “sustainability and carbon reduction” what does that actually mean? More cycle lanes?

    These proposals are also important in the run up to the election in May. With the parties so divided at the moment it’s really not clear to me how that vote will go. Common sense seems to be lacking on all sides.

  5. OVER IT Reply

    The single occupant discount really needs to be increased NOW. Council tax has increased by almost 14 percent since I moved here 5 years ago – my wages have not increased. I already pay extortionate rent to live in this (sh)city, where, unsurprisingly, 1 in 69 people are homeless… (and that’s the 2016 figure!)

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