Even with national problems, locally we have to do the right thing

I have submitted a request to the chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council for an emergency extraordinary meeting of the full council to be held within a week. The purpose of the meeting would be to discuss legal avenues available to the council to make urgent interventions to remove...

We will do what it takes to restore trust in police

Trust in police was shaken again when we heard that a serving police officer is a serial rapist. He exploited his warrant card and status to coerce, abuse and rape women over a 20-year period. David Carrick was an armed police officer who was still entrusted with protecting diplomats and...
Posted On 29 Jan 2023

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

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,...

Despite hard budget decisions, work continues on more and better housing

One of a councillor’s main duties is to set a balanced budget. This year that is harder than ever. The loss of over £100 million in funding over the past 10 years means that any “low-hanging fruit” have long since disappeared. We now face the awful decisions we never wanted to make. And in...

A Labour council and government will mean decent homes for all

When campaigning during the council elections in 2019, I met a couple in their early thirties. They both had jobs and had been living in their privately rented one-bedroom flat for over 10 years. They described how they were desperate to start a family but felt unable to because of high rents...

If field officers go, you might as well call Ghostbusters!

Remember the line? If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters! Except we’re not in a 1980s fictional film, set in New York. Here in Brighton and Hove who does answer the call when help is needed? The answer is often a field officer. But the much-maligned...

Spiteful transfer tax will hand beach huts to the rich

Brighton and Hove City Council has proposed a 5 per cent increase in the beach hut licence fee and a 10 per cent transfer tax. The proposed transfer tax equates to an approximate 3,000 per cent increase on the current transfer fee of £82. A decision is due to be made at the council’s Tourism,...

A garden for the people

Last month I attended a Christmas tea at the Chapel Royal organised by the Friends of the Pavilion Gardens Café. There were the usual sausage rolls and mince pies and talk of Christmas plans, but this year there was also worried discussion about the future of the Royal Pavilion Gardens. I was...
Posted On 10 Jan 2023

Sunak must get his sums right – on NHS and maths teaching

So, this week we saw our Prime Minister finally talking about the NHS, having disappeared while hospitals up and down the country, including the Royal Sussex, declared critical incidents, asking only people with life threatening conditions to go to A&E and further delaying operations. I was...

Independents gear up to get our city back on track

In May, people from across Brighton and Hove will again be voting for the 54 councillors who run our city. For the past 12 years, our city has been mismanaged by the Greens and Labour with ineffective, unconstructive Conservative opposition. We all know how the system works: these people put...

Essential services are put at risk by government policy and funding decisions

I never do that well with the dark nights of January. After the sparkle and celebration in December, I usually spend most of the month looking forward to the spring but I think this winter feels bleaker than usual. Last week, our local NHS declared a critical incident, alongside many others...

Labour is ready with renewed energy and plenty of ideas

With the council busy right up until the week before Christmas I was, like many others I’m sure, more than ready for a break. The Labour group worked hard in 2022 as the opposition party, to try to act in the face of the gathering storm clouds of the “cost of living crisis”. We are very...

Let’s get behind our nurses and ambulance drivers

As we approach this festive time of year, we often think of others and reflect on past times. It doesn’t feel so long ago that we were in lockdown clapping for NHS staff and other key workers. This was encouraged by the government and the national media. And we quite rightly praised our amazing...

Relaxing the rules on housing targets comes at a high price

Earlier this month the government announced that they were giving in to the Tory rebels and scrapping the mandatory house building targets for councils. This is going to have implications that will go far beyond even the wide-reaching nature of the housing crisis. For those unfamiliar with...
Posted On 20 Dec 2022

Decisions come at a price – and we have to be financially responsible

The council’s Policy and Resources Committee approved the City Downland Estate Plan at its most recent meeting. This ambitious plan governs the future of the 12,500 acres of downland owned by Brighton and Hove City Council, most of which is tenanted farmland situated within the South Downs...

Wish comes true – now we need a fresh start for our city

The ongoing story of my life at the moment – both as a councillor and as a resident on a very ordinary income – is all about the “cost of living crisis”. It’s all about the terrifying black holes at the heart of the council’s finances, the fire service’s finances (I also sit on the East Sussex...

A gritting shambles

Just like the last heavy rains in the city a few weeks ago, combined with weeds and leaves covering drains and gullies, caused flooding in parts of the city, residents are being faced this week with the impact of the delicately put together gritting rota for Brighton and Hove’s residential...

Labour will end council overspending and reduce burden of cuts on residents

At the Policy and Resources Committee last Thursday (1 December), the true scale of the financial crisis facing the council became clear. Currently, the council is suffering an overspend of more than £11 million in this financial year, with a recruitment freeze for all but the most critical...

Time for this council to get its priorities right

The Local Government Association publishes a councillor workbook for local government finance. This workbook maps the way local councils receive their funding and highlights both the legal and best practice requirements in managing a council’s financial affairs. It provides councillors with...

Children are paying the price for government cuts to council funding

Last week, my colleague Councillor Carmen Appich wrote about the grim reports presented to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee on Thursday (1 December). These included forecasts of an overspend of more than £11 million this year and a £19 million funding gap in 2023-24. They followed...

Chronic government underfunding leaves councils and residents trying to plug the gap

The dust has settled on the government’s autumn budget and it is clear that the cost of Tory mismanagement will be paid for by residents and communities for many years to come. At the heart of the problem is a Conservative government that passes the buck and gaslights the country while merrily...

Residents rise to growing challenges we all face as government funding dwindles

Thursday 24 November was carers’ rights day – an appropriate day to join a meeting of the newly formed Brighton and Hove Care Co-operative. I was very happy to hear about progress made and am looking forward to the future when a brand new care model in the city will be developed. As one of the...

Weather warning we must respond to – and sporting choices we can make

It’s a common stereotype that we Brits love talking about the weather so I’m sorry for starting my column this week by doing just that. But the unusually warm weather we’ve had throughout October and November combined with the extreme rainfall over the last few weeks is of serious concern. No...

Remembering women – and not forgetting the violence they have suffered

TS Eliot wrote: “April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire.” I’ve never really understood that. The cruellest month for me – or at least the saddest – is November, the month of remembrance, a time that, facing into “dead land” of winter, we...
Posted On 24 Nov 2022

The Tories crashed the economy and the public pay the price

In councils the length and breadth of the country, regardless of their political persuasion, the last week or so has been all about the autumn statement. After 12 years of economic mismanagement and austerity cuts that have harmed so many, the disastrous Kwarteng/Truss mini budget sent the UK...

Councils must do more with less as autumn statement hampers our efforts on warmer homes

The government’s autumn statement was published yesterday. For local authorities across the country, it has been a nervous wait. The costs of the Conservative government’s last “mini-budget” have been reported at £30 billion. In 2020-21, the Department of Health and Social Care wrote off almost...

Extra taxes on developers will not spur them to build more much-needed housing

A relative sent me a link to a newspaper article on property development today. “If we have a new tax, it must be this” writes Liam Halligan in The Telegraph. He favours a “supply side” tax on developers to increase house building. “What would you say to this?” my relative asked. Well, now I’ve...
Posted On 15 Nov 2022

Council is trying to help people through cost of living crisis

As times have toughened for residents across the city, demand has skyrocketed for council services. Like councils across the country delivering vital services that support the most marginalised – such as children living in care or vulnerable adults – these services have seen extremely high...

Our most vulnerable are paying for Austerity 2.0

Councillors are anxiously awaiting the government’s (delayed) autumn statement due to be delivered next week by the latest entrants through the revolving doors of 11 and 10 Downing Street, Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak. The early signs are that we can expect Austerity 2.0 despite public services...

Keith Taylor spoke up for asylum-seekers – and we will help those who are vulnerable

In the past week we received the sad news that Keith Taylor, former Green councillor and MEP, died after a short illness. Keith was one of the first green councillors elected in Brighton and Hove and previously served as convenor of the Green group. His impact on both the Green Party and...

Bikeshare pause is a shock

I’ve just got back from a short break visiting my mum, and I was surprised to learn that we were pausing the Bikeshare scheme. Many of us use and love the Brighton Bikeshare scheme so we were shocked and disappointed to hear the scheme will be paused for several months. After I had my hip...

A plan to be proud of

Last week, Brighton and Hove City Council adopted its City Plan Part 2. This is the policy document which helps the council decide what can and cannot be built in the city. While there is much about the City Plan Part 2 to be proud of, it is not perfect. Earlier in the process, Green...

Labour declares a ‘cost of living’ emergency

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...

How we can take action in Black History Month

Brighton and Hove City Council is flying the Black History Month flag from the town halls in Hove and Brighton throughout this month. That’s because October is Black History Month in the UK when we celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of black people here and around the world....

Why our green spaces need us to pass City Plan Part Two

The adoption of Brighton and Hove’s City Plan Part Two will be a massive step forward in protecting our city’s precious green spaces. Adoption will allow our local policies to have full force when it comes to determining what does and does not get built in our city, rather than having national...
Posted On 18 Oct 2022

In for a penny, in for a pound

Since I wrote deploring the state of Brighton and Hove’s public toilets, I’ve been pleased, though not surprised, at the number of people who have said how much they agree. I’ve heard many horror stories. One man, whose 80-year-old wife has Alzheimer’s disease, described a recent incident in...
Posted On 17 Oct 2022

Moving from crisis to co-operation

As a Labour and Co-operative councillor, I was a delegate to the recent Co-operative conference. The theme was “From crisis to co-operation”. We had our Labour government-in-waiting speaking – and here are some of the highlights. Lisa Nandy highlighted the Conservative government approach to...

We need to take what action we can

With the national picture growing more alarming with every new news bulletin, and the government in increasing disarray, it is hard not to worry about the knock-on effect of all this locally. The council was already dealing with swingeing real-terms cuts to government funding over the past 12...

Visitors to Brighton need decent public toilets

The humiliations of childhood remain vivid in the memory. I remember with great clarity being five years old at a family party at my grandparents’ house. I was waiting outside the only lavatory. My mother was busy, my father was the culprit behind the locked door and I didn’t know what to do....
Posted On 04 Oct 2022

Tories have tanked the economy – only Labour can pull off the rescue

It’s been a turbulent week in national politics, which affects people here in Brighton and Hove. The Conservative government set out a disastrous “mini budget” last Friday (23 September) and the consequences have been swift. It wasn’t just condemned by the International Monetary Fund and by the...

Police should uphold the law

Suella Braverman, the new Home Secretary, has told police chiefs to prioritise “common-sense policing” and stop focusing on “symbolic gestures”. She said the public had “a right to expect that the police get the basics right” and urged forces to focus on combating crime rather than non-criminal...
Posted On 28 Sep 2022

Truss fails first test on fuel bills and we will all pay the price

Two weeks ago, Liz Truss became the fourth Tory Prime Minister in 12 years of ruin, at a time when the country faces extreme challenges, meaning residents will struggle to eat and heat their homes this winter and many local businesses will find it impossible to continue. Unfortunately, she has...

We mourn the passing of a remarkable sovereign

On Thursday evening, Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As a mark of our respect, the Labour Party immediately suspended all meetings and campaigning. Our thoughts are all with the Royal Family. We are keenly aware that there is a family in mourning at this...

When will the council get the basics right?

This week I will let you have some insights into my postbag. This extract from an email I received this week illustrates very well the frustrations of a group of residents who are, sadly, by no means alone. The email said: “For months now, the collection of waste and recyclables has been...

Looming rise in energy price cap fills me with fear and anger

With the full council business-as-usual cycle of committees, sub-committees, boards and working groups not due to fire up again for a few more days, the latest swingeing rise in the household energy cap – announced on Friday morning – has been obsessing me. As the weather is staying mostly warm...

Winter is coming – but ministers seem unprepared for another wave of covid in schools

Last month we wrote to James Cleverly, the new Secretary of State for Education, to urge the government to use the summer break to add vital protections to our schools in preparation for a hard covid winter ahead. The summer term ended on the crest of yet another covid wave – the third so far...
Posted On 24 Aug 2022

What does Brighton and Hove need? The same as elsewhere – a pay rise!

There is often an assumption in the national media that Brighton and Hove is an affluent enclave on the south coast, largely unaffected by the poverty and deprivation seen in post-industrial areas of the country. However, a report by Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove, published in April, made...

Health and care services need to start treating women fairly

The government published its response to a public consultation entitled “Women’s Health – Let’s talk about it” earlier this year. This consultation was carried out in the wake of several health scandals which disproportionately affected women. These ranged from shockingly high rates of child...
Posted On 21 Aug 2022

We need to support people as the cost of living soars

We have all heard about the impending not-so-perfect storm of price rises and cuts that will hit hard this winter. By the autumn, living costs could have risen by 14 per cent for low-income families while the support they receive has only risen by 3 per cent. Families with two children will...

We need big firms to pay their fair share of tax

For too long, tax havens and legal loopholes have enabled large multinational companies to shift profits around the world and get away with paying less than their fair share of taxes. Fairer taxes mean a fairer economy. Research by the Fair Tax Foundation suggests that putting an end to tax...

Red flags over vital parking bays for blue badge holders

Imagine waking up one morning to find that the council had erected a barricade across your front door and you were only permitted to leave your home before 11am or after 7pm. In effect, this is the result of a proposal to remove the disabled bays in Gardner Street, a busy street in the North...
Posted On 10 Aug 2022

Welcome back, Pride. We’ve missed you!

The council is a little quiet at this time of year, with none of the main committees meeting in August and many councillors away on holiday with their families. It’s been even quieter for me, since I caught a vicious bout of covid in July which I’m still struggling to fully recover from. Like...

Ukraine, Eurovision and the challenges of hosting

Since Thursday 24 February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, hundreds of Ukrainians have arrived in Brighton and Hove. Currently, there are 213 adults and 130 children (0 to 18) and 178 hosts. A handful have gone back to Ukraine, like my mother-in-law who lives in the relative safety of Kyiv,...

We need to do more to tackle gender inequality

At the recent meeting of the full council, the Labour group of councillors pushed for action on a range of issues including improving basic council services. They also called for tax justice, better public toilets and proper licensing of Airbnbs and short-term holiday lets. As part of Labour’s...

Pride and tolerance and looking after each other – this is the British way

Last weekend started with the amazingly busy, noisy and colourful Trans Pride Brighton. It was great to see a huge turnout – someone told me there were 22,000 people spread out over the entire day! I and other Labour colleagues including Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP joined the march from Jubilee...

Second home bans? They hurt rather than help the average buyer

The idea of banning second home ownership has been growing in this country and others, and our council have recently voted in favour of exploring the possibility. So, is this developer of seafront new-build properties in favour of such a ban? Is this turkey going to vote for Christmas? Er, no....
Posted On 17 Jul 2022

England’s amazing women could be even better with a more diverse pool of talent

Unusually for me, I’ve recently become sports obsessed. Or more particularly, football obsessed. Or more particularly still, Women’s Euro obsessed. Watching matches, checking results, trying to work out who will go through in what group position, and might end up playing who next etc. I was...

Undermining the mayor is an affront to us all

Most mayors do well in office. Whatever their party, however tribal they may have been in their political lives, once selected, they tend to step up and excel in their civic duties. I first became aware of the role when I was elected as a Brighton borough councillor in the mid 1980s just as...
Posted On 10 Jul 2022

Greens need to get to grips with overgrown weeds and here’s why

Labour recently took a motion to full council about the persistent failure to deliver basic services that our residents expect. We offered cross-party collaboration to find solutions to these problems but it didn’t go down too well with the Green administration. One of those persistent failures...

What are developers doing to cut dependency on fossil fuels?

It’s a strange world. Our government is sending aid and weapons to Ukraine on the one hand and all the while we send millions to Russia every day in exchange for gas – money they use to arm their troops to fight the Ukrainians. With a carbon-neutral future planned and Russian energy dependency...
Posted On 30 Jun 2022

We owe better to the refugees who enrich our lives

I have long been convinced of the need to celebrate the way our country is enriched by the refugees who seek sanctuary here. So, it was a particular privilege to welcome the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians to the Brighton Dome at their Brighton Festival performance in May. Brighton and Hove is a...

Sometimes, a house in not a home – but it could and should be

The last week or so has, unusually for me, been all about housing – or more precisely the shortage of homes across our city at any level of affordability, and what we might be able to do about that. It isn’t unusual for the Labour group as a whole to be focusing on housing issues, of course –...

Labour steers the way to a carbon-neutral city

As our council has launched its Circular Economy Route Map and Action Plan, it feels like a good time to give an update on our work towards becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2030. Under Labour’s administration, we were one of the first councils to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency...

Bike Week offers chance to focus on the people-powered way ahead

International Bike Week ends today (Sunday 12 June), providing a chance to draw attention to the benefits of using cycles – a simple, affordable, clean and environmentally friendly means of transportation. As Greens, we are unapologetic in our support for encouraging safe and sustainable cycle...
Posted On 12 Jun 2022

Carers Week recognises thousands who provide unpaid help and support

Carers Week comes to a close today (Sunday 12 June). It’s an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges faced by unpaid carers and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves...

In the heart of Hove, a reminder of children caught up in conflict

Today marks the UN International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression – an annual observance day established in 1982 during the Lebanon War. It acknowledges the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse, particularly...

What is Brighton and Hove not doing to tackle climate change?

I am regularly asked by children and adults alike, as a councillor and as a built environment professional, “what is the single most important thing that Brighton and Hove is doing to tackle climate change?” It is a difficult question to answer because if I broaden the question to include...

All change at St Peter’s, the city’s ‘Cathedral’

Brighton’s St Peter’s Church stands proud in the city, still surrounded by scaffolding, but with the newly restored tower gleaming in the sun. It is a very successful church, packed on a Sunday and a hive of activity at other times. Hard to believe that, just 14 years ago, it was threatened by...
Posted On 30 May 2022

World Hunger Day resonates rather too close to home

Today (Saturday 28 May) marks World Hunger Day, a day launched more than a decade ago to focus attention and galvanise action on the many millions of people across the globe without enough to eat. Its intention, understandably enough, is to deliver life-saving initiatives in mainly third-world...

Toads Hole Valley: this is not how communities are built

Back in March, a duplicate outline planning application for Toads Hole Valley, a green sliver of land beside King George VI Avenue, in Hove, went to the Planning Committee and was refused in line with the officer recommendation. The application for outline permission – to agree the schematic...

We need to do more to become ‘dementia friendly’

Dementia Action Week ends today (Sunday 22 May) and I am pleased to see that the council has responded positively to Labour’s motion about dementia. It announced further measures to help sufferers across our city by pledging to become more dementia friendly. Dementia is not prioritised...

Voters agree Tories are out of ideas to deal with cost-of-living crisis

From buffets for mayors at food banks to cutting 90,000 civil service jobs to save on revenue, the Tories are out of touch and out of ideas on how to solve the cost-of-living crisis. And voters agree. Rottingdean Coastal, long a safe Tory seat, recently returned its first ever Labour...

Let’s set the record straight about the mayoral selection

I’d like to start this week by congratulating and welcoming Councillor Robert Mcintosh, who after his historic victory in the Rottingdean Coastal by-election last week, has become the first Labour councillor for the ward. On other matters, I wanted to address the unseemly rumours and innuendos...

Why our would-be mayor was cancelled

Dawn Barnett has been cancelled as mayor. A working class woman of 80, who has worked hard all her life and, since election as a Conservative councillor, has represented her constituents faithfully and well, has been rejected by her Green and Labour colleagues. Against all precedent, they have...
Posted On 07 May 2022

Despite the challenges facing us all, we’ve enjoyed a week marked by election success

The big – and outstanding – news for Labour this week has, of course, been the local elections. Although our city-wide vote isn’t until next year, we did have one by-election caused by the sudden departure of Conservative Joe Miller from Rottingdean Coastal ward. Like most of my colleagues on...

Do developers deliberately delay building homes so they benefit from rising prices?

For many years in this country property developers have been accused of land-banking – the practice of deliberately delaying building properties with planning permission so that prices are higher when they finish, making more profit. Michael Gove, the secretary of state responsible for housing,...
Posted On 01 May 2022

Two steps forward, one step back …

I’d like to start with the good news this week. We had another Kingsway to the Sea meeting last week – and this exciting project, which will create a lovely accessible linear park, with state-of-the-art planting, new sports facilities and toilets along our western sea front is fast taking...

Some taxing questions as the cost of living crisis bites

Mark Twain famously said that the only two things for certain in life were death and taxes – but why is taxation so central to our society? In a capitalist economic system, private companies are driven by the profit motive, which means they are not interested in providing free services such as...

Life and death decisions in our caring humanitarian city

For the longest time I have considered Brighton an accurate microcosm of the UK, not least because it is a pioneering city from where trends, ideas and cultural influencers spread. In 2019 it was crowned the most “hipster” city in the UK, according to Google Trends. Many and genuine are the...

Loss of family homes in Coldean causes residents concern

Coldean Neighbourhood Planning Forum has undertaken consultations with the community and identified the loss of family homes and their conversion to HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) as an issue of concern locally. It has affected local school places in recent years. We have carried out...

Candidates in Rottingdean Coastal by-election should answer voters’ questions

While those of us in the Rottingdean Coastal ward may appear to be a small part of the Brighton and Hove City Council area, we have unique challenges. Wealthy Roedean residents live next to a larger number of economically deprived East Brighton residents. The needs and preferences of older...
Posted On 22 Apr 2022

We urgently need a Clean Air Zone – here’s how you can help

Living next to the sea and surrounded by national park, you might think that Brighton and Hove is either immune, already protected or suffers only minimal levels of air pollution. But you would be wrong. The most recently available official Air Quality Annual Status Report for our city shows...
Posted On 17 Apr 2022

This time for believers offers chances for insight

April is a very important month in the calendar for several different religious groups in our community and, although I am not religious, I’m always fascinated and sometimes very touched by the inspiring motivations behind some of the major events, including interfaith celebrations designed to...

We must do more than go through the motions to tackle dementia

A motion about dementia was debated at the Brighton and Hove City Council meeting on Thursday night. It noted a number of details, opinions and measures – and I wanted to do my own research on the data cited in support of the motion. I was disappointed to see that the “Dementia Connect Brighton...

Ship company follows government’s lead in breaking the law with impunity

P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite defended the firm at a recent Commons hearing, saying they had sacked 800 workers without any consultation because “no union could accept our proposals”. Well, no, clearly they wouldn’t. Just imagine what it would be like to come into work and...

Why the case of Rockwater’s lift is so important for disability rights

When Rockwater opened their new Roof Terrace in early May last year, the only access was via a flight of stairs, and the lift which featured in the approved plans had not been installed. This is a breach of Building Regulations Part M Section 3, which comprehensively sets out access...
Posted On 25 Mar 2022

‘Tyre extinguisher’ campaign puts innocent lives at risk

Recent news stories report that a number of vehicles across Brighton and Hove have had their tyres deflated and slashed as part of a campaign by so-called “trye extinguisher” activists. I want to take this opportunity to condemn these mindless acts. I am also aware that police have launched an...

Hopes for the Chancellor’s spring statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is due to make his spring statement tomorrow (Wednesday 23 March). I am hoping that he will announce measures that will have an immediate impact on alleviating the cost-of-living crisis and long-term changes to housing policy to overcome the supply...
Posted On 22 Mar 2022

‘Living with covid’ plan is a disaster waiting to happen for schools

I have read the government’s “Living with covid” plan for schools and it isn’t going to work. Any ideas that you can take “personal responsibility” and keep yourself covid-safe, or weigh up your own choices and risks around the virus, are simply laughable if you either work or have children in...
Posted On 22 Mar 2022

Vote provides route back for Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in Hove

A recent comment at the end of an email from Bricycles struck me as really important. In a section named “Hove we have a problem”, they highlighted how Hove and Portslade have been increasingly left behind when it comes to “active travel” (walking and cycling) improvements. As someone who gets...

What we’ve been doing – from health and wellbeing to the energy, climate and cost-of-living crisis

Last week was a busy week in council committees, with the Health and Wellbeing Board, where we asked questions about patient outcome measures relating to the Better Care Fund. We also quizzed the administration and officers about hospital discharges in the light of care workforce shortages. At...

Bring people together to tackle racism rather than back divisive council approach

Brighton and Hove City Council cannot and must not be allowed to marginalise, misrepresent or silence the voices of black and ethnic minority parents and residents who oppose their anti-racist schools strategy. On Monday 7 March I submitted a deputation calling on the council to consider the...
Posted On 12 Mar 2022

Here are ways to help Ukraine

Don’t feel helpless about Ukraine. There are plenty of ways we can all help. In these difficult times, our hearts and thoughts are with the people there who have been thrust into a warzone through no fault of their own as a result of the illegal invasion by Vladimir Putin – and they deserve our...

Breakfast with the Archbishop of Canterbury

On Saturday, together with 250 leaders from Brighton and Hove including the chair of the BHT Sussex Board of Trustees, Kelvin MacDonald, I had the privilege of having breakfast with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Archbishop Welby spoke about leadership. He was inspiring and...
Posted On 07 Mar 2022

Budget council highlighted ‘disconnects’ around funding, carbon neutral aims and fairer fares

When I spoke at the budget council meeting last week, one point I made in relation to Conservative amendments was about the seeming “disconnect” between the vocal complaints of the local Tories about everything from street lighting to a lack of funding for a statue of the Queen, and the actions...

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, now is the time for our community to come together

The University of Sussex is an institution which is proudly international. In our 60 years, our strength and our value have been created in the coming together of many nationalities. We recognise that the terrible events unfolding in Ukraine are extremely distressing for many in our community...

The clamour over cladding and why targeting developers may not be the best solution

When the tragedy at Grenfell occurred it exposed what has rapidly become this century’s asbestos – a widely fitted building component that has the ability to harm the innocent occupants. Unlike asbestos it cannot be managed and must be removed, quickly. The question remains who will pay and the...
Posted On 28 Feb 2022

What we are doing to help Ukraine

I wanted to update you on the tragic situation in Ukraine. We have all seen the terrible images of war in Europe, with an attack on a sovereign democracy and a friend. I want to assure you that the UK government is doing all it can to help and was the first country in the world to offer...

A few insights into setting the council’s budget

This was my first budget as both co-leader of the Labour group and finance lead. I found the process fascinating and, as I said in my speech, the input and support from officers was amazing. We agreed the budget finally just before 10pm – without support from the Conservative group, which I...

Rethink cuts to vital service for tackling disadvantage among young people

It’s budget time again at the council. Officers and councillors are busy struggling with how best to deal with an estimated budget shortfall in the next financial year of over £18 million. This follows on from many years of savage cuts in funding by the Conservative government to the council...