OPINION

Labour declares a ‘cost of living’ emergency

Posted On 29 Oct 2022 at 12:28 am

The recent Conservative mini-budget will go down in history as the day that the British government chose to sabotage their own economy.

The government set our economy ablaze and, as a direct result, in recent weeks we have experienced the worst financial chaos.

This Conservative government has wrecked people’s finances and our public services are in a fragile state.

Local authorities provide valuable resources and frontline services out in our communities but they are being decimated yet again by this government.

The task facing our public sector key workers is as difficult now as it was at the start of the pandemic.

There is no escaping the link between government policy and its impact on our Brighton and Hove residents, already suffering a cost of living crisis.

As we head into the winter months and beyond, many residents in our city are staring down the barrel of true hardship.

I have received emails and calls from people who have never before been moved to contact their councillor and who are now feeling cost of living concerns for themselves.

When those who have felt relatively comfortable start feeling the pinch, imagine what it means for those on the rungs of the ladder below.

Then imagine what it means for those who were not getting by at all, who were already suffering.

It is clear that the cost of living crisis is spiralling out of control. Labour realises that this is not a crisis but an emergency, one that will affect all our residents – from the most vulnerable to homeowners and renters, pensioners and businesses.

People are struggling and they are scared. Mortgages are up, energy bills are up, the weekly shop bill is up and rents are up, while wages, benefits and pensions are down.

And family financial problems are never just temporary cash problems. The traumatic mental and emotional pressures leave lasting damage, and they hinder children’s life chances.

It is vital we acknowledge our role as a council in the challenges we are facing here in the Brighton and Hove.

Every person in every part of or city will be affected in some way or another. The negative impacts of the rise in the cost of living are on a par with the pandemic and, consequently, require a pandemic level of response.

Just as Labour previously declared a climate emergency in the city, I asked the council last week to declare a “cost of living emergency” and develop plans for a formal emergency response.

I am pleased that it has finally agreed to do so. Labour are not prepared to stand idle as more and more of our residents are exposed to hardship.

We need a council that is truly committed to protecting our city during this cost of living emergency and rebuilding our broken basic services.

We need a council that is willing to listen to our residents and lead in the city’s interest.

And we need a council whose cost of living plans are robust and with strong leadership.

Never has this been more needed.

Gary Wilkinson is the Labour councillor for Central Hove on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Nick Reply

    I look forward to Labour putting these words into action with a freeze on council tax. Following years of maximum increases, a freeze will be very welcome.

  2. Susie Reply

    Great move. Finally some brain is this party locally. I doubt it came from you though.

  3. Chris Reply

    Another Councillor pretending to be an MP. Freeze or even cut council tax. That would be a great help. Brighton high tax low service..

    • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

      Indeed, Chris. High tax and no service at all for the people who pay their council tax nicely. This morning,and thankfully I missed their delusional magic mushroom visit, the Greens stuck a card through the door asking something like ‘are we doing OK?’ I can’t even believe they were asking the question, as most of us all know by now that they are not and have never been doing anything like OK. And I live in an area where the Greens are viewed as some kind of lunatic fringe and they never get more than a meagre handful of votes.

  4. Peter Challis Reply

    What is the definition of a “cost of living crisis”? What does declaring it achieve? When will they be able to say that the crisis is over?

    City councillors are great at declaring crisises but not at doing anything about it other than grandstanding.

    Are they going to divert some of the money being used for declared climate and biodiversity crisises to those needing financial support?

    Will council tax be frozen and the council look at reducing waste (26 staff in the propaganda group?) and improving income?

    Or will they just blame the government? 🙄

    • Chris Reply

      Well firstly Labour did not invent the phrase. Although you may be led to think they did by their posters. The causes are really down to two things exacerbated by other factors. But mainly the bill has arrived for Covid lockdown and support, which was covered by “quantitative easing” or in the old language “devaluing” and increased borrowing, at the same time wheat and gas prices have been driven up by what is going on in Ukraine. Other factors are (in no particular order) A very strong US Dollar, Brexit (although as things are just as bad in the EU it’s effect may be a little muted) as well as higher taxation and an unexplained drop in overall national productivity. I am sure there will be others.
      You will probably agree that not all of these are down to UK government and I struggle to see what Labour could do differently. Not that I have blind faith in the Tories either.

      The real truth is that we now need to pay more tax and cut government costs. Or try and stimulate the economy to grow out of the doldrums. The markets, opposition and even the Tory party torpedoed that idea, so now we pay.

  5. Mike Beasley Reply

    Ah yes, I remember cllr Wilkinson … the man who helped the Greens push through such wonderful schemes as VG3 and the A259 cycle lane extension

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