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...

How the council is pouring your money down the drain

This budget, the chickens have come home to roost, with the costly impact of poor policy decisions made by councillors beginning to catch up with Brighton and Hove. We’ve seen an increase in government grants this year and there should have been no shortfall. However, a succession of policy...
Posted On 18 Feb 2022

Our focus must remain on getting the essentials right

At the most recent meeting of the full council, your Labour councillors moved motions to improve basic council services and tackle the housing crisis. At a time when people’s pockets are being hit worse than at any time in recent memory off the back of the pandemic, the ongoing cost of living...

The end of the road for austerity

Proposals for Brighton and Hove City Council’s 2022-23 budget have now been published. While there is a huge amount there to be proud of – such as £2.7 million more for adult physical disability services, £1.8 million for adult learning disability services, £43,000 for adult mental health...
Posted On 10 Feb 2022

What’s in a name? And what other political and electoral changes are afoot?

As well as preparing for a meeting of the full council this week, I have been fascinated to read the recommendations of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. The LGBCE is looking to redraw ward boundaries across Brighton and Hove before the local elections next year to better...

Celebrity car crashes leave a mark on our bench

Rather like the old saying about buses, you don’t see a celebrity car crash for ages then two come along at once. And in a Brighton courtroom this week, one was compared with the other in ways that may have enjoyed some superficial appeal – but crucial differences marked them apart. Paul...

How do so many empty homes in our city help the housing crisis?

UK average house prices increased by 11.8 per cent last year with prices in Brighton and Hove up 11 per cent on 2020 and up 18 per cent on 2018. Since the pandemic, the cost of local homes rose 6 percentage points higher than London rates. Rents are also extremely high, with the average in...

Trendy wood burners pollute Brighton and Hove’s air – now councillors must act

Wood burning continues to grow in popularity. Unfortunately, it is a major source of fine particulate air pollution. Soot is created when wood is burnt, with some of that soot travelling up our chimneys and into the air outside where others can breathe it in. This soot is toxic because many...
Posted On 30 Jan 2022

Here’s why it’s not always easy to include affordable homes in new schemes

The last three developments we built were all in areas where local government policy requires 40 per cent affordable housing. We delivered just over 11 per cent. Here’s why. Affordable housing and how much developers provide is a matter of much discussion and disappointment among locals. With...
Posted On 28 Jan 2022

School place planning and the trade-off between parental preference and levelling up

There are many reasons you can cite as to why 12 years of Conservative government have let our city down. Here’s one: a huge increase in the cost of living, creating a crisis of affordability. The rising costs to people’s purses mean that many who live in our city are struggling with the cost...

Gasworks towers will be giant blot on a grade I listed landscape

The Kemp Town Society (KTS), while welcoming development of the gasworks site and noting it has remained undeveloped for many decades, strongly objects to the proposed mixed-use redevelopment. No learnings appear to have been incorporated from the overturning of the Brighton Marina development...

What Labour is doing to shape the council’s budget

We are building up to the Annual Budget Council meeting in February when your councillors will have to make some difficult decisions around increasing fees and charges – as well as making cuts to services. This is because of 11 years of underfunding from the Conservative government and the...

Seven topics to keep an MP busy at the start of a new year

I hope many of you enjoyed a break and time with family and loved ones over Christmas and the new year – and managed to avoid catching covid. Sadly, I did not and have been unable to be in Parliament for the first two weeks as I self-isolated at home. Covid, the omicron variant and the vaccine...

How our council can spruce up Brighton for the Platinum Jubilee

With the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year, many residents would like to see an effort made by Brighton and Hove City Council to present our city in a better light. We are a city with an iconic royal palace and a royal history and the Conservatives would like to see the council focus its...

Regency Brighton matters and we must recognise its value

The Conservatives and local residents want to see Regency Brighton restored to its former glory as a stunning and well-kept place at the heart of our city that serves our residents, heritage groups and tourism industry and also fosters civic pride. Brighton’s Regency heritage is central to the...
Posted On 16 Jan 2022

Remote meetings are crucial to keep people covid-safe

The Labour and Green leaders on the council recently wrote jointly to the government, urging them to bring forward emergency legislation to allow local councils to meet virtually again – in the face of record high covid-19 cases. The current meeting rules are forcing Brighton and Hove City...

Women’s safety put at risk by the council’s weak approach to crime

The safety of women is being put at risk by Brighton and Hove City Council’s weak approach to crime and anti-social behaviour. Seven rapes have been recorded in three years in the Pavilion Gardens and surrounding area close to where nine out of ten council street lamps have been left broken for...
Posted On 12 Jan 2022

Planning appeal verdict sends clear message to developers: We will only accept the best

The outcome of the planning appeal hearing, held before Christmas, that rejected the proposal to impose a 94-unit seven-floor monolith on to the community in Cromwell Road, Hove, was a real victory for our city. It was also a vindication for the hundreds of local people, Labour ward councillors...
Posted On 12 Jan 2022

A Hove seafront cyclist gives her verdict on ‘duplicate’ lane

Dear Councillors, I am very disappointed by the plans for the A259 Hove seafront and the so-called consultation process you have set up. It seems like the council doesn’t want our opinion on this as the questionnaire is very weak and lacks important information about the impact these changes...

Greenwashing, fake facts and meaningless marketing speak are holding back our city, says Independent councillor

Since my election in May 2019 as Brighton and Hove’s only elected independent councillor, I’ve witnessed first-hand how continued and consistent poor decisions by councillors and officials are holding back our city. Most recently, Christmas Day showed once again how out of touch Brighton and...

We don’t live in a bubble

I thank Councillor Bell for his “three lessons” published on New Year’s Day. I am sure we will get to debate these in the council chamber as well as in these pages on many future occasions. Sadly, much as I’d love to live in a bubble of our lovely city of Brighton and Hove, we have to put up...

Three lessons from the council’s ‘annus horribilis’

As a turbulent year at Brighton and Hove City Council draws to a close, here are three key lessons from 2021 that need to be heeded if the council is to improve its performance in 2022. Lesson 1 – Only a local approach can get results for the city. Residents expect that their councillors should...
Posted On 01 Jan 2022

Our every action affects others so please help us all stay safe

I hope everyone celebrating at this time of year has enjoyed the festive break. I know that many get-togethers have been disrupted due to the untimely impact of the highly infectious omicron variant of the coronavirus – mine certainly was. As we move into the new year, we mustn’t forget how...

The council can no longer ignore Kendal Court

Brighton and Hove City Council has failed to address serious issues at its housing facility at Kendal Court, Newhaven, and needs to start listening before further tragedy unfolds. Under a policy of the council’s Green-Labour Housing Coalition, Brighton and Hove has been placing its homeless...
Posted On 29 Dec 2021

Desmond Tutu: A prophet in troubled times

Desmond Tutu was a bright beacon of protest, dignity and Christian compassion. His light might no longer be with us but his vision for a Rainbow Nation lives on. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a man of great bravery and of great humour. “When the missionaries came to Africa”, he once said, “they...
Posted On 27 Dec 2021

Here’s to a safer, healthier and happier year for all

I want to start this week by wishing everyone a safe and happy festive period, to those celebrating Christmas, or just the chance to see friends and family over the bank holidays. We in the council’s Labour group wish you all the very best and a happy new year. 2021 has been another incredibly...

The council that doesn’t want to meet

Of all the damning statistics concerning the performance of Brighton and Hove City Council – for example, having one of the worst recycling rates in England, the third most polluted street and the eighth highest rate for anti-social behaviour – one figure must surely worry its residents more...
Posted On 21 Dec 2021

Councils can’t solve housing crisis alone

At this festive time of year with little daylight and long, cold nights, our thoughts often turn to those struggling with housing need. We’ve been living with a worsening housing crisis in this country for years and we have particularly acute challenges in our city. There 8,500 people on the...

Council’s schools plan will only speed up flight of families from Brighton

The council’s schools policy is set to be thrown into the spotlight tomorrow (Thursday 16 December) when a series of petitions are due to presented. Thousands of those involved with individual schools are opposing the council’s plans to reduce the number of “entry” places. It is worth...

A welcome investment of £10m in Hove seafront

Last week I was proud to talk at the council’s Policy and Resources Committee about the successful bid for the “Kingsway to the Sea” Levelling Up Fund bid. An investment of more than £10 million in the West Hove seafront over the next three years will make a huge difference to...

Green-Labour pact hits Brighton in the pocket once again

Labour continues to side with the Greens in key council votes, letting down its residents and the city as a whole. The latest glaring example of this occurred at last month’s key Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting when Brighton’s experimental bus gate system was brought...
Posted On 07 Dec 2021

A wealth of reasons to shop locally this Christmas

Now we’re into December, I’d like to wish readers a happy Hanukkah and Advent, as both started in the past week. And as we start to prepare for holiday celebrations, buying food and presents, let’s not forget our smaller neighbourhood shops and suppliers. Yesterday (Saturday 4 December) was...

The true cost of covid-19 for children and young people

As councils across the UK set their budgets, the true cost of covid-19 for children and young people is about to be revealed Much has been written about the impact of the pandemic on young people. The last two years have resulted in huge disruption for us all. But for young people at such a...

We feel hoodwinked by Toads Hole Valley developers

We are angry. And our residents are angry after sitting through what barely passes for acceptable community consultation by the promoters of the Toads Hole Valley site in Hove in the form of an online meeting. You may have read the piece written by one of our residents in Goldstone Crescent on...

Meeting tonight because Toads Hole Valley means jam today and jam tomorrow

A public meeting is taking place at 7.30pm today (Wednesday 1 December) at The Nevill pub to enable local residents to discuss their concerns about the Toads Hole Valley development. There are two main issues with the proposal for 880 new homes – roads and wildlife. Toads Hole Valley along with...
Posted On 01 Dec 2021

Is Brighton especially vulnerable to omicron?

The World Health Organisation, in the shape of the Council on the Economics of Health for All, believed in some fundamental truths: that health and the economy are interdependent and that health is in itself a key economic sector and critical to resilience and stability in economies worldwide....

Cancelled council meeting latest blow to local democracy

The decision not to resume last month’s abandoned full council meeting is the latest blow to local democracy in the city. Meetings of the full council of Brighton and Hove’s 54 councillors are important occasions, both for councillors and for members of the public. These meetings, among other...
Posted On 28 Nov 2021

Celebrating our incredible and resilient small businesses

This week I celebrated our incredible and resilient small businesses with the Small Business Saturday campaign roadshow which came to our city to shine a spotlight on our entrepreneurs and local businesses. Local business can sign up for free support and profile from Small Business Saturday and...

Forget Peppa Pig and beware the bill that will change health and care in Brighton and elsewhere

Much of the national media seemed to be distracted by Boris Johnson’s car crash “Brrmm, brrmm, eurgh, forgive me, Peppa Pig” speech to the CBI earlier this week. Less attention was given to the Health and Care Bill, which passed its third reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday (23...

Hollingbury community asks council to Keep Carden Thriving

Hollingbury is one of Brighton and Hove’s best kept secrets. It has some of the best views of the South Downs from Brighton and Hove. It has the beginnings of a new wood where you can already find rare wasp spiders – and it has one of the best schools in the area, Carden Primary, which was...

Work is under way to make roads safer and travel more affordable

Road safety and the future of how our bus services operate were among the items discussed on Tuesday (16 November) when the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee met. They were among several items discussed at length – and Labour councillors were pleased to support t...

Council caught treating drivers in Brighton as cash cows

The Conservatives have caught Brighton and Hove City Council treating unsuspecting drivers as cash cows. Our questions about the new “bus gates” – or bus lanes – in the revamped Valley Gardens brought to light the extraordinary number of fines being dished out to drivers. An astonishing 9,618...

Covid isn’t over – please think of the whole community

As a mental health nurse and a local councillor, I’m probably more able than most to have a good overall view of how covid and lockdowns have affected us over the last 20 months or so. The obvious one is not having been able to see family and friends for so long. This inevitably led to a lot of...

Winter is coming but benefits aren’t frozen – they’ve been cut

The economic fallout of the pandemic, Brexit and the fuel crisis is having a terrible impact across society, but particularly on poorer families and child poverty. Nationally, 2.5 million children are estimated to live in households experiencing food insecurity. This carries a huge human cost...

It’s time for the council to return to work

While much of the country is back to work, Brighton and Hove City Council continues to lag behind, with almost all its office staff still working from home. Hove Town Hall, which used to be the bustling heart of council activity for councillors and also point of service delivery for residents,...
Posted On 10 Nov 2021

As world leaders tackle climate change, here’s a glimpse of what’s happening locally

As world leaders assemble in Glasgow, I was reminded that I recently attended the Greater Brighton Economic Board’s virtual climate summit. It highlighted local projects already under way and pointed the way towards further local and national action ahead of COP26. We heard about the need to...

Bonfire bigotry lives on in Sussex – it’s time we took a stand

At a council meeting on Thursday 21 October, I put a question to Brighton and Hove’s Green administration asking them to condemn the continued practice of burning catholic effigies, displaying anti catholic slogans and other religious bigotry openly tolerated at Lewes and other bonfire events....
Posted On 04 Nov 2021

A ‘D’ for Denial, not Disclosure

At a full council meeting that was unfortunately cut short on Thursday 21 October, when asked about how the Green administration and the council were measuring climate transition risks and mitigating their impacts on the residents of the city, the leader of the council mounted an attack on...

Fine words in the budget – some borrowed from Labour – but who will foot the bill?

With the autumn budget announced this week by the Chancellor and the COP26 climate summit starting, the government continues to borrow Labour’s clothing in talking about “levelling up” and “building back better and greener” after covid. Which would be all very well, if only the figures matched...

Influencing the debate about effluent

Let’s spend a moment talking about sewage and broken promises. During those tortured debates about Brexit, the single thing that used to frustrate me to the point of unbridled frustration was when ministers used to make a claim that you just knew was impossible or they had no intention of...
Posted On 27 Oct 2021

Bin strike shows how Greens still have serious lessons to learn

I am very pleased that a deal has been struck to end the bin strike. After weeks of rubbish and recycling piling up in the streets, with residents suffering, it was a relief all round that a resolution to the dispute was finally found. I have been open about the fact that the dispute never...

We have to get the housing repairs service right for our tenants

We must address concerns raised by residents about serious failures in the council housing repairs service. And we must acknowledge that more effort needs to go into working in a way that delivers the absolute best service that we can for council tenants. That means making sure that our...

Bin strike raises key issues beyond the immediate deal

I would like to raise several key issues which I’ve certainly struggled with in the run-up to, and throughout, this unfortunate process of resolving the bin strike – not least in last week’s seven-hour meeting. I would like to start by saying that while I am weary of the GMB union, which of...

David Amess, death threats and being accessible as an MP

I went back to my office in Parliament after an emotional day in the Commons on Monday. I’d sat and listened to the MPs who knew David Amess best talk about their friendship and his character. It was a lovely moment when the Prime Minister announced city status for Southend. Then the main...
Posted On 21 Oct 2021

What the Brighton and Hove bin strike really reveals about local politics

In an opinion piece on Tuesday (19 October), Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth purported to explain the underlying politics of the recent industrial action by Cityclean HGV drivers. The strike by GMB members did indeed reveal a lot about the politics and economics of our city, and the...

The politics behind the bin strike in Brighton and Hove

With Brighton and Hove residents continuing to face piles of rubbish even as the official element of the bin strike draws to an end, many residents want answers about what was behind the dispute. It will be no surprise to residents that the Green Party is unable to communicate with those who...

Strikes like this are the result of failure – it must end without further delay

Our bins are overflowing, our streets are a mess. Worse, it’s not the first time this has happened in recent years. I want you to know in no uncertain terms that I find this situation as appalling as you do. Even though I have no control over our local services because things like refuse...
Posted On 15 Oct 2021

Labour injects a sense of urgency to end the bin strike

Prior to the special Policy and Resources Committee meeting on Wednesday, I visited the picket line at the Hollingdean depot to talk to some of the drivers who have been striking. I was struck by the pride they take in their work and their willingness to get on with the job and clear the city...

Strike needs to be resolved now along with deep-rooted problems at Cityclean

I have been contacted by constituents about the current bin strikes and the impact they are having in the city. Like them, I am concerned that it hasn’t been possible for Brighton and Hove City Council and the GMB, the trade union who represent Cityclean staff, to reach a workable way forward...

Openness is crucial to win back public trust

It should be obvious that public trust is of the utmost importance. Yet when I was Home Secretary it was clear that levels of trust, particularly among some sectors of society, weren’t where they should be. That is why I introduced measures to improve transparency, and key among them was the...
Posted On 13 Oct 2021

Women and girls do not receive the protection they need nor the justice they deserve

We heard the great news last week that my office has been awarded nearly £1 million to tackle violence against women and girls in the latest round of the government’s Safer Streets funding scheme. The events of the past few weeks have brought the epidemic of violence against women into sharp...
Posted On 12 Oct 2021

Talks continue to settle the strike by bin lorry drivers

I know many residents are keen to understand what progress is being made on the bin dispute. Talks are ongoing and at a sensitive stage so I can’t say everything just yet sadly. For the past few weeks, council management have been meeting with GMB representatives and have made an offer to...

Only Labour has the vision to fix the care crisis

Why is adult social care so important? Ultimately, we are living longer. By 2050, 24.8 per cent of the population will be aged 65+ according to the ONS, that’s up from 10.8 per cent in 1950. Also, over half of adult social care is now given to those of working age. That’s thousands upon...

Improving outcomes from Old Steine to Western Esplanade

I met a resident who walked me around Old Steine last week. He pointed out lots of issues which we surely need to address as a city. They include graffiti on the side of businesses, lack of lighting, problems with commercial refuse bins and a glut of unused or broken phone boxes. I will take...

We will tackle problem landlords and speak up for renters

The big issue at the council this week has been the plight of private renters across the city and the extraordinary row that blew up between the Green administration and community union Acorn over landlord licensing. Over a third of residents in Brighton and Hove live in private rented...

Vulnerable seats leave our local politicians in for a bumpy ride

The next council elections are just over 18 months away and already we are seeing some ambitious councillors have started their campaign. This is understandable as it building up to be one of the hardest fought local political battles we’ve had for some time. For a project I’ve been working on,...
Posted On 19 Sep 2021

Assisted Suicide Bill raises serious questions

There has been much coverage of the Assisted Suicide Bill, currently making its way through the House of Lords. It is important that we take action to challenge this proposed legislation. It is also vital that we affirm our support for the best possible end-of-life care, including spiritual and...

Residents at wits’ ends with council inaction on Old Steine Gardens

Residents living in the heart of Brighton are the end of their tether with the council, which is failing to get on top of the continuing issues of tents and anti-social behaviour in the Old Steine Gardens and not maintaining the area. The Old Steine Gardens, with the stunning 1846 Victoria...
Posted On 18 Sep 2021

An organic recovery to learn from

On Wednesday I visited Stanmer Park for a roundtable discussion with some of the organisations currently operating in the park and with council officers. The discussion centred around how those organisations have survived the coronavirus pandemic and what they are looking for in the...

We all deserve genuine social care reform for dignity as we age

The promises emblazoned on the side of a bus claimed £350 million a week would be delivered to the NHS – but instead the Conservative government has delivered nothing but chaos. A disastrous EU exit, a failed response to the pandemic plus a decade of cuts has created a perfect storm. From...

We need urgent action on water

I’m in touch with South Coast Sirens, a fantastic local group of year-round sea swimmers dedicated to making our coastal seas permanently free from pollution and sewage spills. The group was set up by sea users in response to serious health and safety implications for human and marine life of...

Young people deserve support and investment

We know the last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for young people – so we’re working incredibly hard to support them. Whether that’s through challenging the government’s response to covid-19 in our schools or by opening a youth employment hub to connect young people to jobs, we want...