Councillor questions whether Brighton and Hove council tax offers value for money
A councillor has asked whether people are getting value for money for their council tax payments in Brighton and Hove.
Conservative councillor Alistair McNair said that over the past ten years, from 2012 to 2022, Brighton and Hove City Council had put up its Band D council tax by 42.8 per cent.
He said that the increase was the 12th highest of any council in the country over the same period.
Councillor McNair spoke out at a meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee at Hove Town Hall last night (Thursday 7 October).
He asked the Green leader, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, if residents were receiving “value for money” and what was being done to help families receive help with the cost of living.
Councillor McNair said: “While Brighton and Hove City Council residents are paying such high levels of council tax compared with the rest of the country, their services received are among the worst.
“For example, Brighton and Hove has among the worst recycling records in England with just 29.4 per cent being recycled.
“Brighton and Hove is well below the national average of 45.5 per cent, with the worst rate in Sussex and among the worst in the south east of England.
“Additionally, many residents don’t receive a regular rubbish collection and the council is not fulfilling its statutory duty of keeping the pavements clear of weeds.
“Will the chair rule out any further council tax rises until these services are more reliably delivered as residents should not have to pay for services they’re not receiving?”
Councillor Mac Cafferty, who chairs the Policy and Resources Committee, said that comparing the average Band D council tax was invalid because low-taxing councils such as Westminster had more housing in higher bands.
Westminster has 15,000 homes in Band H for council tax, compared with just 192 in Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Mac Cafferty also said that the “burden of funding” for adult social care was falling on councils. He quoted the Local Government Association saying that the recently announced social care reforms would leave a “black hole” in council budgets.
Brighton and Hove used to have one of the lowest annual funding increases in the country from the government, Councillor Mac Cafferty said, adding that it had lost more than £100 million in real-term funding in the past 12 years.
Councillor Mac Cafferty also said: “We are far from the worst value. In fact, we have higher value for money than Conservative East Sussex.
“The other thing we need to remember (is that) services do cost money. I know this is hard for Conservative Party colleagues to understand.
“We’ve been brave and held on to things like youth centres, supported bus routes, council nurseries and libraries.
“Where we’ve been brave and kept those open, they will, of course, have an impact on the cost of services.”
He said that an external audit report in April found “no evidence of weakness” in the council’s risk management and efficient use of resources.
Councillor Mac Cafferty said that social care charges were means-tested and a discounted parking permit was on the way for low-income households to tackle the pressures of the cost of living.
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All policy at BHCC is driven by dogma and wokeism. Money is wasted right, left and centre and no one at the Council is ever culpable. BHCC conducts minimal ‘consultation’ and lies about facts and figures.
The whole apparatus is rotten from the top down, and BHCC should be in special measures
The Council has its own agenda and works against the best interests of residents and businesses
I certainly fail to get value for money and am forever having to do things I pay council tax for like cut the grass verge, weed the path outside. Drive to the Wilson Avenue rubbish tip as the council has again failed to empty the recycling bins, on average they seem to only come once a month. I have to put bins out and down for disabled elderly neighbours and back again. Clear litter in local parks and I drive round a city in decay as its Regency and Victoriana are left to disintegrate. I dislike the lack of colourful flowers and well tended gardens that once made the place seem loved and cared for. Sick of atrocious expensive bad traffic schemes and road changes made by people on bikes, who do not read the highway code. Bike lanes that cyclists ignore forced upon us.
I’m laughing at the fact how we pay a high council tax yet the labour/green coalition can’t even do the basic things like keep the pavement clear of weeds and keep the public toilets clean
Weeds everywhere. Rubbish everywhere. Awful toilets. Worst council in Uk
Council get 0/10. Litter all over streets, overgrown with weeds and money wasted daily. Awful awful council.
Oh well, now they’re announcing a town hall recruitment freeze because they’re a paltry (in their view) £13m over budget, which is not at all insignificant, especially since they keep harping on about £100m of government cuts (even though they’ve received loads of money for stuff like cycle lanes, which they’ve just wasted, plus many other government grants) I suppose we just have to live with it. Not.
Hopefully, in due course, somebody (employed council bosses presumably) might try to explain the overspend – we know it wasn’t on people to deal with weeds, because they haven’t been dealt with – so where was this overspend, in which departments of the council did it happen and what exactly did any taxpayers receive for it??
I would like to point out that some time ago (probably pre-Covid, if anyone remembers that long-ago time) the council hired someone on about £80k a year to get a grip on and sort out Cityclean. Has it been sorted out? No. Have they been on strike and got more pay, costing us more? Yes. Is the service better than before the strike? No, sounds worse from what I read on here. So that’s £80k (probably more than that now) they can save for starters.
Where has this £13m gone??????
The most inept and useless council to ever take power.
Lies and deception at every turn, a huge hatred of cars, constant attempts to choke the roads East to West across the City. Brighton & Hove has never looked like such a decaying dump in the 39 years I have lived here.
B&H council tax is a ripoff. Value for money, none.
My CT is £150 per month, Band B. Extortionate. What do I get in return?
Overflowing bins; I am always having to chase the totally useless so-called ‘cityclean’ to actually do their job, because they can’t be bothered. B&H council have thrown away CT payers’ money in a huge payrise, and it still hasn’t solved any problems.
Dirty, filthy streets infested with weeds, beggars and so-called ‘travellers’ (welcome to the so-called ‘city of sanctuary’)
A complete lack of real council services, because they can’t be bothered to do their jobs and are all allegedly WFH. So-called digital services that don’t work.
If anything, I should get a refund.
The main problem with this current administration, is they are so driven by dogma, and so far up their own backsides; they don’t listen to anyone except themselves.
And boy do they love the sound of their own voices. Just think of all that pointless hot air they emitted at their totally pointless conference.
I really hope that both Labour and the Greens get totally slaughtered in the elections next year.
For all those unhappy with the current crop of councillors – whatever party they are from – then why not stand in next years elections and show how you’d do a better job.
I think we might welcome some more hands on, active independent councillors. But sadly, they wouldn’t get a look in on the committees who actually make decisions.
And it’s the make up of the current committees that seems to be the problem here.
The second issue with this council is the way that pressure groups have infiltrated all departments, and some councillors are even on the payroll of those pressure groups.
So the result is an institution that is stuck within one fake-green thought bubble, and seemingly incapable of making common sense decisions or moving quickly when dealing with basic local problems.
Why is it, when people have genuine gripes about a particular theme or body, some fool who can’t defend the indefensible always says, if you don’t like it, move, stand for etc etc.
Unless 27 independents are voted to run the council then standing for a councillor isn’t going to change anything, a 5 year old might have worked that out.
I was born in Brighton and have lived here all my life, but this must be the worst council we have ever had to endure. They have squandered ratepayers’ money on useless vanity projects, turning this city (city?) into the ugliest and most expensive dump on the south coast.
Tents set up on Hove lawns.. I saw the council officers chatting with the occupants a week ago.. the tents are still there.
Excellent article that confirms what liars we have in power.
This bunch, supported by many, always bang on about Government cuts. Quotes suggest £100m per year, laughable as well as being unlikely and impossible. The £100m is over a 12 year period, and that is more likely the case until, that is, you read what Councillor Mac Cafferty has said in this very article.
He states very clearly : Brighton and Hove used to have one of the lowest annual FUNDING INCREASES in the country from the government.
He adds that it had lost more than £100 million in real-term funding in the past 12 years.
No Mr Mac Cafferty, we haven’t had any funding cuts as you and fellow councillors wrongly state, we’ve haven’t lost anything, just not given the increase you want.
So from the comments above I understand that residents here are principally concerned with weeds, being able to drive wherever they please, and wanting homeless people eradicated rather than helped.
I’m frankly ashamed to call you my neighbours.
What I’m getting from the comments is that residents are not happy with the delivery of basic services.
Indeed, in my part of Hove we’ve not seen a street cleaner in three years, our recycling is not collected, and the pavements are lifting as weed roots take over.
The seafront infrastructure is not maintained either– so railings are rusting away and heritage benches have rotted simply because they weren’t painted.
The public toilets are either closed or in a state where you wouldn’t want to use them. All the beautiful transformation of places like Valley Gardens has partly gone to waste due to lack of maintenance or basic gardening.
And yet there seems to be endless money in budgets for duplicated cycle lanes and pointless road closures. The LTN project for Hanover is a farce.
The weird thing is that projects which might seem green – and which therefore should have wide support – aren’t actually green at all.
I’m baffled that this is what people are annoyed about. Do you really think this is what the council should focus on, over social care? I flatly don’t believe you over a three year lack of maintenance. Unless you live in a part of Hove that explorers have yet to discover.
We’re in a period of national decline. Which essential service should they slash further to paint your bloody benches? To do your bloody gardening? Perhaps they should close some sheltered accommodation?
It’s also escaped you (as it does most commenters here) that the cycle improvements and indeed most of the visible council works recently are funded from specific national-level money and that money would simply go elsewhere if not used.
We should look at some more holistic traffic management in the city, in my opinion. Maybe we could institute a congestion charge and pay for some benches out of that?
Huh, now there’s the thing, an excellent comment,
It’s also escaped you (as it does most commenters here) that the cycle improvements and indeed most of the visible council works recently are funded from specific national-level money.
Yes they are and it is most definitely that that money would simply go elsewhere if not used.
National money that in these times should be given to councils to boost their budgets, after all BHCC are banging on about ‘cuts’.
What is more important, a cycle lane or more funding for social care, I know where I would spend it.
I’m baffled that this is what people are annoyed about.
Seriously? so the state of the city filthiness, unemptied bins, poor recycling, toilets unfit for purpose and the list is endless is baffling to you ?
The council should focus on basic legal requirements.
It would be really helpful if you read the posts correctly, no-where has anyone mentioned a three year lack of maintenance.
You show ignorance anyway as there have been reports stating a street lamp took two years to repair, toilets closed for weeks/months on end and even empty properties stood dormant for over a year.
We’re in a period of national decline. CORRECT.
Which essential service should they slash further to paint your bloody benches? To do your bloody gardening? Perhaps they should close some sheltered accommodation?
So simple question.
So should Government money be spent on:
A) more cycle lanes
B) Provide better budgets for councils to deliver better essential vital services.
Mart, if the Government gives the council earmarked funds, then the council has to account for that money. That means – in simple terms – they have to spend it on what it’s meant for. Now, there’s ways and means of supporting a little more than one might think out of such a fund. As such, it can be a good idea to use that money even if the end product isn’t that useful to anyone. But really, if the government give out cycle lane money then a cycle lane must appear, or at the very least lots of paperwork showing that a cycle lane was attempted.
There’s a word for “spending government money on the wrong stuff and covering afterward” and it’s ‘fraud.’ So you can’t blame the council for government decisions like that. The council have the choice of not taking the money and doing without, or taking it and trying to make the best of the project’s terms.
I apologise in advance if I’m being patronising but I feel like I’m going insane having to explain this at all.
Yes from the comments above you understand that residents here are principally concerned with weeds, rubbish collections, recycling, state of the toilets, the filth and muck in and around the city.
These are basic requirements that our taxes pay for.
It is not being delivered. What part of that fails to compute with you ?
Nobody has said anything about being able to drive wherever they please, just fed up with roads being closed needlessly, that increases pollution and congestion on other roads, disabled drivers discriminated against. Dangerous cycle lane installed alongside a disabled and normal parking area, (A259) meaning both vulnerable car users including disabled have to stray into a cycle lane, that is also dangerous for cyclist too. They then have to cross two cycle lanes before they are safe.
Wanting homeless people eradicated rather than helped. Nobody has said that either.
In a meeting of the full Council on 25th March 2021 the City voted to adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights.
Perhaps you should be asking the council why they’ve not yet put this bill of rights into action ?
Just type in Homeless Bill of Rights Brighton Council.
Then come back and tell us how ashamed you are.
The question was about value for money.
If you don’t like your neighbours, feel free to move!
Rubbish. Homelessness. Weeds. Drugs.
They are awful. Loads of cycling lanes and hippy statues though. Awesome! Worst council in the Uk
And just how ‘green’ are the Greens ?
They are in bed with the divisive SNP in Scotland. What do the SNP want, North sea oil and gas. That is what independence is all about.
So by supporting the SNP, the Greens are clearly in favour of fossil fuels !!!
You couldn’t make it up!!!!
What a bunch of shameless hypocrites. Shame on you.
Simply the worst cancel in the uk
So much litter and weeds everywhere
Wasting money on stupid vanity projects 10/10
It is grossly misleading to compare Brighton & Hove to Westminster City Council with regard to Band D housing. The two cities are completely different. In fact Westminster City housing bears little resemblance to any other City’s housing as it has very low housing and is far below the national average. We in Brighton & Hove Liberal Democrats believe that if comparisons are made they should at least be relevant to the people of the city. Westminster obviously is not. It would be far better to compare the Council Tax rates for those in the lower and middle rate bands against the averages for the South East.
Yes – Brighton – Expensive and Poor.
Some Guy 12 October 2022 at 3.23pm
Thank you for the reply.
I am fully aware of what the Government funding is for and how they work.
The point, there’s always a shortfall and the council will need to put in additional funds, the A259 has a grant of £9 million, the cost is estimated to be £13 Million, where’s the rest of the funding coming from.
How much has it cost tax payers already on the various projects to top up the funding?
I think the government were wrong on this one for two reasons.
1) The pop up lanes appeared during lockdown, why ? not many people were driving around so the roads were not that busy.
2) Facing a crisis where the economy is concerned, funding should have been used for other more important services not cycling projects.
The council as you say did not have to take up these projects but chose too. It is my opinion, the council put in cycle lanes in the wrong places.
I question really have we got value for money here, and the answer is no, a cycle lane running alongside another, that also causes problems for others is a backward step imo.
Anyway, the question still remains, why is the city looking run down, filthy and the rest of it, our council taxes pays for these legally required services.