Council faces frightening financial situation as budget – and elections – approach

Posted On 28 Jan 2023 at 6:31 pm

I’m sure I’m not alone in having sleepless nights right now about several issues at the council, not least the rapidly approaching yearly budget meeting.

We had a Policy and Resources Committee meeting recently and the black hole in Brighton and Hove City Council’s finances is frightening, frankly.

The local government settlement imposed by our billionaire Prime Minister and his millionaire Chancellor a few days before Christmas is even worse than councillors and council finance chiefs were expecting.

And so the budget gap between the services we run and the money we have to pay for them got even wider than it was at the end of last year.

I’ve only been at the council since 2019 but colleagues who have been there for much longer, some for many years, say this is the worst shape the finances have ever been in.

The Greens will have to cut many “non-statutory” services and projects if they are to bridge the enormous funding gap.

Of course, the administration is right to point out that we are far from the only council – of all political colours – to be struggling.

Many have already cut services (including ones that we have managed to keep going in this city) to the bone over the last 13 years of national misrule.

Others have given up the struggle and called in the government to run their finances and make the ruthless cuts for them.

I can’t disagree with any of that – and a national election and Labour government can’t come soon enough in my opinion.

I also know that whoever was running the council would be struggling under what is the most corrupt, sleazy, incompetent, disgraceful government in modern history.

But I also believe with every fibre of my being that Labour would be doing a much better job with what little we’ve got locally.

And we would find more creative solutions to stretch the budget further, with far less vanity projects than at present.

Of course, the Labour group will do everything we can in the budget-setting process to try to protect the city’s residents and will always be willing to work cross-party when it is possible to do so.

But we are in opposition not administration – although we hope to change that in May at the local elections – and there are definitely scary times ahead.

Councillor Amanda Evans is the deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Instead of blaming the current Government and its predecessors for the present fiasco – and I acknowledge that they are and have not been good – perhaps Cllr Evans might like to reflect on the total mess that the last Labour Government left behind, mainly courtesy of the unelected and totally incompetent Gordon Brown. A Labour Chancellor that left a note saying there was no money left?? Oh, really? Someone had to sort this out- and it was not sorted out very well – but it was Labour’s mess/pigsty. Anything to say about that, Cllr Evans? No, I thought not.

    • Technique Reply

      Absolutely, as I’ve posted before.

      Let’s not forget, that so-called austerity was due to the free-spending Gordon Brown, bailing-out Fred the Shred and co.
      And we, the tax-paying general public, are now paying bankers’ bonuses due the the last Labour Government!

      You couldn’t make it up.

      • Clive Reply

        You couldn’t make it up – except that you just have.

        Austerity was and remains a political choice. The Conservatives were promising to match Labour’s level of spending until the global financial crisis gave them the cover they needed to cut – because that’s what they like to do. They want a small state and the cheapest and nastiest service provision they can get away with, because of their extreme dislike of paying taxes (Mr Zadawi’s approach being a particularly vivid example of this).

        I’d agree that there should have been consequences for the bankers who fuelled the crash. But no serious politician opposed the bail-out, and with good reason.

  2. Technique Reply

    Here we go again – as usual, the lefties blaming cuts from central Government to try to cover for their own mismanagement of B&H.

    As I have pointed out before, in the same period of time, my council tax has virtually doubled.
    What are you doing with my money? Wasting it on woke nonsense and vanity projects that no-one wants.

    You keep insisting on fixing stuff that isn’t broken, like VG and the new wonder ‘Kingsway to the sea’
    Yet when money for essential services are needed, you say there is no money in the kitty.

    So what will your Knighted, multi-millionaire champagne-socialist leader do when he eventually gets into No10?
    I’m dying to know, because all I ever see and hear from Starmer, Reeves and Rayner is a load of old hot air, and no policies or plans or anything.
    All they ever do is slag off the Tories.
    Being in opposition is the easiest job in the world.

    And at least Sunak and Hunt are just plain ‘Mr’


    Especially in a so-called socialist party. It’s a kick in the teeth to the electorate.

    And I have sleepless nights worrying about the mess that Labour and the Greens have done to this once lovely seaside town.

    • Bear Road resident Reply

      Technique & fed up with Brighton politics: Whilst I agree that Brighton greens couldn’t run a bath whilst Sunak and Hunt haven’t been given knighthoods (yet!) Mr Sunak is widely believed to be the most loaded Prime Minister to have ever held the office and whilst Mr Hunt’s exact wealth is not known he reportedly has a net worth in excess of £15m. Clearly this will give them a lot of empathy for those struggling along on National minimum wage incomes and tiny pensions.
      And when it comes to wasting our tax money and wrecking the economy the Department of Health wasted a total of £15bn on unused personal protective equip-ment, Covid tests and vaccines, prompting heavy criticism from the Whitehall spending watchdog. When Hopeless Hancock was health minister his Department of Health awarded a PPE contract worth £252million to Ayanda Capital Limited, a firm with direct links to Andrew Mills, a former adviser to Liz Truss. The face masks purchased in that contract cannot be used for their original purpose. During Liz Truss’s disastrous seven weeks the independent Resolution Foundation calculates that her government was responsible for about £30bn of the fiscal hole which the Treasury puts at £60bn,
      Pots calling Kettles black!

  3. CCHRISTOF Reply

    Seems I’m in agreement with everyone. These champagne socialist councillors in B&H have money to spend on ridiculous projects, but not the essentials for their paymasters, the public. Its OK being woke or lgbtqw, but spend your own money on it.

  4. Ron Reply

    Toilet Gr££n

  5. vintage fan Reply

    She talks of the Greens’ vanity projects -they wer all supported until very recently (with council elections approaching) by the Greens’ lapdog … Labour.

  6. Mike Beasley Reply

    The problems are of the Greens’ own making. It really is as simple as that. £1million in potential parking revenue forgone – in the name of stupidity and Green dogma

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