This budget, the chickens have come home to roost, with the costly impact of poor policy decisions made by councillors beginning to catch up with Brighton and Hove.
We’ve seen an increase in government grants this year and there should have been no shortfall.
However, a succession of policy blunders from Labour and the Greens have set the city back, turning a £10 million surplus last year into an £18 million budget black hole this year.
So how has the money been wasted?
During the past 12 months the council has had to spend huge sums bringing in private contractors to fix the mess that poorly thought through Labour/Green policies have created.
Private contractors have had to be brought in to clear weeds from the pavements across the city after the council banned pesticides without putting an alternative plan in place.
In addition, claims made against the council for pavement injuries are also running at their highest levels.
Contractors have also been taken on to repair council homes after the Labour/Green insourcing policy completely failed.
The council’s new internal housing repairs and maintenance team managed to accumulate a backlog of 8,800 council house repairs in just 18 months.
And there are almost 300 empty council houses currently sitting empty and awaiting repairs.
Private contractors were also called in to clear rubbish from the pavements and deal with rats after bin services failed once again.
In addition, huge sums have been thrown by councillors at resolving a number of industrial disputes.
But the impact on taxpayers was barely given a second thought by councillors making the decisions such as
- the £2.287 million paid to resolve the housing repairs industrial dispute (another consequence of the Labour/Green housing coalition’s ill-advised housing repairs insourcing policy)
- the range £4 million to £14 million bill – with the total yet to be revealed by the council – to resolve the bin strikes, with knock-on “equal pay” claims yet to be factored in
Unfortunately, it is the taxpayer who ultimately has to pay for this council’s policy failures, waste and mismanagement.
Next week the Greens and Labour plan to put up the council tax and fees and charges once again while reducing services in some areas.
The council has been throwing your taxpayers’ money down a sinkhole and now it has created a budget black hole for the city.
Our Conservative amendments to the budget will once again focus on the people’s priorities for this city.
Our proposals share your aims for a city that is well run, with decent services and that treats its heritage with respect.
Councillor Joe Miller leads on finance for the Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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