OPINION

What Labour is doing to shape the council’s budget

Posted On 23 Jan 2022 at 4:28 pm

We are building up to the Annual Budget Council meeting in February when your councillors will have to make some difficult decisions around increasing fees and charges – as well as making cuts to services.

This is because of 11 years of underfunding from the Conservative government and the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Labour group has already won support for some alternative proposals on fees and charges, amending the proposals brought to recent committee meetings.

At the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee this week, our amendments were focused on protecting disadvantaged residents from big increases in charge, incentivising people out of their cars and encouraging healthy active lifestyles.

German Doner Kebab

While our proposals to protect concessionary rates at sports facilities and bulky waste removal discounts for disadvantaged residents were blocked by the Greens and Conservatives, we did win support for an increase fee in fees and charges for highways obstruction and flyering.

And we won backing to explore differential parking charges for vehicles emitting higher levels of pollution to try to encourage people to switch to greener forms of transport.

Increasing charges on highways obstructions will incentivise the faster completion of building works and help reduce obstructions on our highways and footways for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and disabled people.

We know that flyering has a detrimental impact on our environment. It represents a waste of paper and often leads to street litter.

The administration also backed our proposal to generate an income stream in order to roll out more secure cycle hangars and invest in cycling infrastructure – and to look into charging for motorcycle parking to encourage greener forms of transport.

At the Adult Social Care and Public Health Sub-Committee last week, we won support for restricting charge increases to 3.1 per cent (equivalent to the state pension increase) rather than the 5.1 per cent proposed by the administration.

Sadly, some of our other proposals which would have protected residents against the worst excesses of new charges (such as increases in library fines for children) were not agreed at recent committees.

But Labour councillors will be bringing these back to the table as part of the wider budget-setting process.

I’ll be writing again about the budget process nearer the time, so watch this space.

Councillor Carmen Appich is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Adrian Hill Reply

    Brighton & Hove needs a city wide Clean Air Zone to focus on the small number 10% of vehicles that emit 30% of the air pollution. The United Nations Human Rights Council declared that having a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a human right; we don’t have that in Brighton & Hove. Parking charges will make a miniscule and slow improvement but it doesn’t take good air quality seriously when some parts of the city are almost EIGHT times the World Health Organisation guideline levels.

    On many roads it is the old diesel buses and old diesel taxis that are the source of lot of the pollution so the parking charges will not help there. With nearby cities such as London, Southampton, Bath, Portsmouth, Birmingham all having introduced Clean Air Zones this suggested response is once again slow and weak on pollution and risks those dirty vehicles being sold on cheaply to Brighton & Hove. A city wide Clean Air Zone is what is required.

    • MartinBurtenshaw Reply

      Adrian Hill
      Much of the pollution in Brighton has been caused in part by the poor road ‘improvement’ schemes and poor traffic management. Poorly phased traffic lights at various locations does little to address congestion only increases it.
      The whole network needs to be looked at and addressed because the whole lot is a shambles.

      Old diesel buses? Brighton and Hove run very few ‘Old’ buses nowadays, all conform to EU regulations and LOCAL restrictions. Most if not all ‘Diesels’ are fitted with additional equipment to reduce and clean the emissions pumped out and in many cases are ‘cleaner’ than some petrol cars.

      Brighton and Hove Buses have put into service a sizable fleet of Electric vehicles and lets hope than trend continues, Big lemon also have a small fleet of electrics.

      Taxi’s are the worst for polluting, for some reason sitting idle with engines running seems to be a Rule.

      You say : ‘With nearby cities such as London, Southampton, Bath, Portsmouth, Birmingham all having introduced Clean Air Zones this suggested response is once again slow and weak on pollution and risks those dirty vehicles being sold on cheaply to Brighton & Hove.’

      Brighton and Hove rarely buy second hand vehicles, a quick check on their fleet website, will show that all it’s vehicles currently in stock were purchased ‘New’ with a few ‘Coaches’ transferred from a group company and these replaced ‘older’ vehicles.

  2. Silas Reply

    Dont mention the complete and utter financial incompetence shown by BHCC!
    I wonder how the i360 ‘ restructuring the debt’ project is coming on ?

  3. MC Reply

    Charging for motorcycle parking? Why?
    Motorcycle bays have always been free
    If charges are bought in what will motorcyclists do? go out and get a car! So any change in policy in this is self-defeating.
    Modern motorcycles and scooters are more environmentally friendly than cars and take up far less space on the roads and in parking spaces. They should be encouraged not discouraged.
    There is a lot of disincentives to two wheels, rain and cold and more risk from vehicles, but one good incentive is free parking.

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