With concern growing over Valley Gardens, Labour need to think outside the box

Labour councillors pushed through the business case for huge changes to the Old Steine area of Brighton at the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, supported by the Greens. The changes – formally known as Valley Gardens Phase 3 – were passed despite the advice from...
Posted On 11 Dec 2018

Brexit – a way forward

I’m sure many people are now very tired of hearing about Brexit, which is understandable. However that doesn’t change the fact that we are facing one of the biggest national crises since World War Two if, as seems possible, Britain crashes out of the European Union in just four...

Talk of the town tackles isolation and loneliness

With such a range of challenges to our city’s economy, security and communities facing us currently, I often wonder where to start. However, sometimes the answer lies in simple solutions to the bigger issues. Often these don’t require new council services but support for and encouragement of...

Why our rivals pose a threat to the community and voluntary sector

I have never made a secret of my liberal Conservative views but recently I had to promote them to an audience of community and voluntary sector representatives, at the Community Works hustings. Slightly nervous that I would be perceived as a caricature of “Tory”, driven by support for large...
Posted On 08 Dec 2018

Homeless crisis would be worse without our best efforts in Brighton and Hove

The number of homeless people in Britain is increasing by more than 1,000 a month and reached a total of 320,000 in the first quarter of this year, according to research by Shelter published last week. Their report shows that roughly one in every 200 Britons were sleeping on the streets or in...

Prevention is better than cure

Labour announced their council budget proposals last week. While Labour were quick to disguise their fingerprints in this year’s budget, the reality is that on top of £93 million cuts made in just three years, many services will not withstand another swing of the axe. It comes against the...

A budget for the many not the few in Brighton and Hove

This week marks the start of the budget-setting process for 2019-20 and the fourth budget produced for the city under the Labour administration. Over these four years the city council has faced three significant challenges, including meeting £56 million of growth in demand for services – much...

Let’s have some straight-talking on council tax and the budget

Politicians have rightfully, in my opinion, earnt a reputation for sometimes failing to give straight answers to direct questions. You will hardly ever hear a downright lie but a question asked on a particular subject will be side-stepped without a moment’s thought in an attempt to swerve...
Posted On 23 Nov 2018

Brighton and Hove’s rogue landlords given reprieve

On Wednesday 31 October the government wrote to all local authority chief executives urging them to make use of existing powers to tackle rogue landlords. The letter mentioned the desire to “work together to rid the private sector of criminal landlords and raise property standards living for...

Why a T junction at a key Brighton roundabout could crash the local economy

Millions of pounds are to be spent changing the layout of the Old Steine area but the project could cost all of us much more if the wrong approach is taken. The risk is that businesses are unable to receive vital deliveries when they need them, jams make Brighton a much less attractive place to...
Posted On 20 Nov 2018

Help us as we do more to help rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove

Tory austerity policies are causing people to be made homeless around the country, and in our city as well. As fast as we help people off the streets, new people become homeless. So as a Labour council we are tackling this crisis head on – and with our new services we have succeeded in bringing...

What price to pay for living in Brighton and Hove?

Although my recent experience of renting in the private rented sector has been a good one, for too many, renting still means poor conditions, insecurity and rising rents. From the landlords who’ve refused to instal smoke alarms to the estate agents overcharging tenants for renewing their...

A shameful episode in our history – and the inspiring response of young people

I’m on my way back to England after visiting Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where over a million innocent people were murdered during the Second World War. I was asked to join 220 students from the south east of England under the stewardship of the Holocaust Educational Trust. Last night we had...
Posted On 16 Nov 2018

Why we remember suffragette Minnie Turner

November is the month of remembrance. Last week we remembered the horrors of Kristallnacht and World War. This week our city will commemorate the suffragettes and suffragists, who in 1918 won the right to Vote for 8.4 million women – in many cases sacrificing their livelihoods, their...
Posted On 14 Nov 2018

A hundred years on, we will remember them

In my role I spend a lot of time around the city, and when you visit schools, churches, workplaces, social clubs and a range of other groups, you will often see plaques or memorials with the names listed of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Those surnames may be from families still living...

Budget showed why voters should trust the Tories

Listening to the recent budget, I realised that my time as a councillor since 2007 has pretty much been spent attempting to recover from the “Great Labour Recession”. I know Labour can’t be credited for creating the global economic crisis but they certainly should have spent less...
Posted On 09 Nov 2018

Brighton and Hove will continue to pay the price of austerity

So much for the much-hailed end of austerity. The Chancellor’s budget on Monday meant only one thing: offering nothing more than sticking plasters after a vicious assault. Brighton and Hove’s communities will go on bearing the brunt of the Conservative government’s cuts. Essential...

No end to austerity but at least we can build new homes

Last week I and many thousands of councillors across the country called for the Prime Minster to tell the Chancellor to take action to reverse the impact of Tory austerity on locally delivered public services. This week in his budget the Chancellor’s response was weak and unconvincing. By the...

Public will pay if we banish private-sector efficiency

Take a quick look at your surroundings and you will see that almost everything you own, and services you use, are provided by dynamic private companies. Who would ever suggest that the government, and especially the local council, could provide these goods and services? There are “publ...
Posted On 30 Oct 2018

A plea for a genuine end to austerity

Last week a petition was handed in at 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister. This of course is hardly news as many groups hand in petitions to both this city council and the government over many issues each year. However, this #breakingpoint petition came from over 5,000 elected Labour...