Nursery and hostel earmarked for closure as council wrestles with budget shortfall

Posted On 23 Nov 2022 at 1:30 am

A nursery and a hostel have been earmarked for closure as Brighton and Hove City Council wrestles with a budget shortfall.

Staff were due to learn yesterday (Tuesday 22 November) that their jobs were at risk the council-run Bright Start Nursery, at the Old Slipper Baths, in Barrack Yard, North Road, Brighton.

About 15 staff look after more than 50 children at the nursery which was rated good by the official watchdog Ofsted at its most recent inspection. Jobs could also be at risk at other nurseries.

And today almost 20 staff at Glenwood Lodge, Grand Parade, Brighton, were expected to be told about their uncertain future.

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The hostel provides supported housing for almost 50 people but the building is understood to need hundreds of thousands of pounds of work.

While the overall council budget tops £1 billion a year, much of it is ring-fenced, such as the schools funding which totals the best part of £200 million.

And officials have struggled to make the savings of £10.5 million which were pencilled in for the current 2022-23 financial year.

Last month a report to councillors said that more than £6 million of those planned savings were “at risk” and might not be achieved.

At the same time rising costs, some of them fuelled by increasing demand for services, were pushing the council over budget by millions of pounds.

And realistic savings targets for the coming financial year, starting in April, have also proved hard to nail down, with councillors due to finalise the budget just a few months before the next local elections.

One row is likely to revolve around the proposed increase in council tax. A typical band D home in Brighton and Hove currently pays just over £2,118 a year or more than £176 a month.

The council tax bill is expected to go up by 5 per cent or almost £106 a year to just over £2,224 a year, more than £185 a month.

Further details of the worrying financial situation and the threat to dozens of jobs are expected to made public officially today or tomorrow (Thursday 24 November).

One person who has been involved in trying to identify savings said that there was no desire to close any services or make anyone compulsorily redundant.

But the pressures on the council’s finances were mounting against a backdrop of a fresh round of austerity during a period of increasing inflation.

Asked about the prospect of job losses, GMB union branch secretary Mark Turner said: “We will consult our members and we will fight any compulsory redundancies.”

At the same time, a number of primary head teachers and governors are facing their own budget challenges as shrinking intakes threaten to erode school finances.

  1. Jessica Reply

    The council should be funding any hostels for over 10 people as this is bad practice and leads to uncontrollable anti-social behaviour issues inside the hostel and for neighbours. There is also no reason to fund this kind of facility in the very expensive and tourism focused town centre where housing is in high demand for owner occupiers and workers. They don’t do this in London.

  2. vintagefan Reply

    Budget shortfall – they seem to find enough in their budgets or non essential vanity projects such as cycle hangars, cycle lanes and unwanted LTNs, removing disabled parking bays (as well as employing 26 (!) communication officers)

  3. Patricia Reply

    That’s 26 communications officers who told the press before they told the staff!

  4. Roland willows Reply

    the situation for clients and staff is very uncertain, the “out of the blue” statement leading to another supported accommodation project within the city for vulnerable people closing should concern all those within the community, especially regarding vulnerable clients in danger of losing a supported and safe environment.

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