Remember the general election and how austerity was going to be over?
Now that we are the other side of the election, the truth is out: austerity is set to continue – and Brighton and Hove City Council’s budget cut once again.
The city has now endured an entire decade of short-sighted and harmful government cuts.
As the official opposition party, we are limited in our scope to amend the budget. However, we are scrutinising every penny spent – and pushing to change the budget how we can for the better for residents.
The Green approach is set by two guiding principles – doing everything we can to avert the climate crisis and helping the most marginalised.
Preventative services work and reduce demand for higher cost interventions. So Labour’s plans to cut some of these – such as learning disability support – will increase costs and harm longer term.
We plan to reverse some of the worst elements of these plans, putting the city’s most marginalised communities at the heart of our suggestions.
Fundamentally this will also save money longer term for the city.
Our budget proposals also focus on the urgent need for a greener future. The global climate crisis is here and now: red alert floods see parts of Wales and Worcestershire under water this week, while in recent weeks 125mph typhoons have whipped the Philippines, cyclones and landslides have killed thousands in East Africa while fires as tall as the Statute of Liberty have engulfed areas of Australia.
In recognition of the urgent and decisive action needed to tackle this environmental crisis, we have creatively identified ways to find solutions in our proposals.
But helping our city to prevent climate change can have other positive outcomes. For example, tackling fuel poverty is a triple win – warmer homes, lower fuel bills and a reduction in our carbon footprint.
Rather than comply with a Tory agenda that consciously ignores the crisis, puts the burden on the most vulnerable and defers to “business as usual”, Greens will push for bold alternatives that centre around how protecting our environment will also protect those most at risk.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is the Green leader of the opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.