OPINION

Many are struggling and we’re trying to help

Posted On 30 Jan 2021 at 1:10 am

Across the board, public sector workers have worked tirelessly on the front line. They have led the fight against covid-19, working long hours, dealing with stressful conditions and even putting their own lives on the line for local residents.

That’s why we were so disappointed to see the Chancellor in his last spending review announce a pay freeze for public sector workers – which in real terms amounts to a pay cut after inflation.

This is because the cost of living increases while wages fall behind. If rent, food and energy costs are rising while wages are frozen, workers lose out.

We can’t just keep the same size cake and cut it into even smaller slices. We must urge the government to make the cake bigger and to fund our local authorities properly.

At the recent Policy and Resources Committee meeting, Labour won support from the Green Party to write to the Chancellor, highlighting the work and efforts of council staff in response to the pandemic and urging the government to lift the public sector pay freeze.

Unfortunately, this was without the backing of Conservative councillors. We keep hearing from the Conservatives about their support for public sector workers but these essential workers need more than warm words and applause on the doorstep – they need money to live on.

It was disappointing to see our Conservative colleagues turn down another opportunity to back up their words with action.

Recognising that many people are struggling, I’m really glad we were able to change council policy to ensure every single person entitled to council tax reduction in the city will receive it.

Our proposal lowered the minimum amount that can be awarded by the council tax reduction (CTR) scheme from £5 a week to 1p a week.

This will help about 370 extra households to receive not only a council tax discount but also discounts for other services.

If you are unsure what benefits you may be eligible for, or if you are having difficulties claiming benefits, you can find the details of debt advice services like Citizens Advice and Money Advice Plus who can help you, on the council website.

Councillor Nancy Platts is the leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Paul Temple Reply

    Whilst it would be brilliant to award a pay increase to all public sector workers, I know many who are just grateful they have a job (myself included). It’s looking like millions in the private sector will be losing their jobs because of the pandemic and lockdowns. I would much rather money is spent trying to get the economy back on its feet and to firstly get those who have just lost their jobs back in employment. I also wonder how much the Government will actually listen to BHCC and if this is all just a futile exercise.

  2. Greens Out Reply

    ‘We’re trying to help’

    Don’t make me laugh.

    I was FORCED to self isolate (the amount of information they had on me was almost comical if it hadn’t been so alarming). “Don’t worry,” the helpful woman on NHS Track and Trace call was telling me, “You can apply for a £500 self-isolation grant through your local authority”

    I had to get cover for my pretty much fully booked week ahead to my own personal cost of £1000, plus loss of income.

    Turns out you can only get this self isolation grant if you’re already a bottom feeding scrounger on benefits.

    Nancy, you’re confusing ‘being helpful’ with ‘not helping’.

    Then again, as, so-called, leader of the council you weren’t much good at that either.

    Why Frank even gives you space to voice your worthless opinions is, quite frankly, a joke.

    Your party failed this town. You’ve now failed us further with your pact with the even more incompetent Greens.

    Your opinion is worthless.

    Resign.

    • Bob Reply

      Wow!

      So all those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own (clue: there are about 800,000 who had jobs before this) during the pandemic are now “bottom feeding scroungers on benefit”, I must say you REALLY should take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, as from what you post here you don’t appear to be a very nice person.

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