Councillors to scrap covid sub-committee and Brexit working group

A committee set up to help Brighton and Hove recover from the effects of covid lockdowns is to be disbanded.

Brighton and Hove City Council created the Policy and Resources (Recovery) Sub-committee in May 2020 to deal with the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic and the first lockdown.

Initially, the challenges included food supplies, supporting business and reallocating space from empty roads as part of the government’s drive to encourage active travel.

As the coronavirus pandemic progressed, the committee looked at how to help some of those hardest hit but outside the scope of the government’s main support schemes.

They included thousands of freelance workers, small firms and the self-employed, working in the creative arts, and as taxi and private hire drivers and others in the “gig economy”.

A report going before the council’s Policy and Resources Committee this week asks leading councillors to approve disbanding the sub-committee.

The report said: “It was noted by members that the council’s Policy and Resources (Recovery) Sub-committee had performed a key function at a critical time and was always intended to be time-limited.

“It was considered that the ongoing work of this sub-committee would now be better directed to its parent committee, which will be best placed to tackle covid-related challenges alongside the other challenges of this current time, including the cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine, among others.”

Three senior councillors had already given their approval to the proposal, according to the report. They were the Green deputy council leader Hannah Clare, the joint Labour opposition leader Labour John Allcock and Conservative leader Steve Bell.

The committee was also asked to approve a reduction in the number of private “working groups”. These either report to or advise committees which make decisions in public.

The report said that the Brexit Working Group had stopped meeting and recommended that it was disbanded.

Likewise, the Stanmer Park Restoration Project Member Working Group would also be discontinued.

The cross-party youth group’s work is expected to be taken on by the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee.

A new Eastern Seafront Programme Board will take on the work of three project boards working on the “Waterfront” scheme, the revamp of the Madeira Terraces and plans for Black Rock.

The council’s Policy and Resources Committee is due to meet at 4pm on Thursday (12 May). The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

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