I love our city and chose to make it my home because of its reputation and its values. A city of fun and freedom. A city of radicalism and rebelliousness. A city of culture and history. A city that is inclusive and welcoming to all.
It is a great honour to be able to represent Brighton and Hove as Leader of the Council.
This week, I had the task of presenting my first budget to deliver our plan to build a fairer city and a sustainable future.
We have almost 300,000 residents and deliver over 700 services. To continue to deliver this level of services after facing over a decade of cuts from the Conservative government is no mean feat and I want to thank all the staff and councillors for their input, creative ideas and hard work that contributed to the budget proposals.
According to the State of Local Government Finance survey, local authorities across the country are “on life-support”. Austerity has cut deep into our communities.
Over the past 10 years, local authorities have faced a reduction to core funding from the Conservative government of nearly £16 billion. That means 60p out of every pound has been cut.
These eye-watering cuts have happened at the same time as the demand for adult social care has grown.
In this national picture, our city acutely feels the pinch, with wages lagging behind house prices and rent increases.
We as a local authority, meanwhile, find ourselves combating crises as global as the climate emergency, as national as the homelessness scandal and as local as housing prices – with one hand tied behind our backs.
Nonetheless, we will deliver for our residents. We are the last line of defence from Tory austerity, and even under these extreme financial constraints, we have the determination, the creativity and the political will to propose a budget that protects key services, invests in our communities and helps us carry out our ambitious plans to improve the city.
Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.