Throughout the last number of weeks, the Green Group has examined the Labour budget proposals. Through a combination of reasonable charge increases, spend to save measures and a focus on prevention; we sought to reverse some of the most toxic proposals in the budget.
Our group is allowed to submit amendments to Labour’s budget, which will see cuts of more than £20m affecting vital front-line services across the city. Our budget approach centres around the value of preventing problems for some of our most vulnerable residents. Provided that any changes can be funded and don’t leave funding holes, they are put forward for debate. However we are disappointed to tell you that the Labour administration are still seeking to push ahead with the original planned budget cuts.
You can read our proposals here: bit.ly/GPBudget17
We know that work which helps to address problems early on reduces the need for more costly interventions later down the line and we want more work to be done to preserve these services. Whether that’s stopping a cut to supported buses that help keep older residents more active, reinstating the planned removal of the city’s youth service or reversing cuts to early help, we have been focused on investing in the budget for preventative services in key areas.
Our approach has shown how the Council can create £2 million extra to stop these cuts. These proposals have been evidenced and in the case of fees and charges, are in line with what many other councils around the country are prepared to do. It is a source of real disappointment to us that they received little support in their original form and that they have now been watered down. At a period of time when our budget is under massive strain we hoped our approach and the additional funding it would bring to the Council would be welcomed.
However, we urge the Council to invest in prevention; and Greens will continue to promote the benefit of ‘spending to save.’ This is reflected in the amendments as they now stand.
Greens are pushing for the Council to recognise how important early help is for the future of our city. We know that the evidence supports this approach. We will fight to take out some of the worst elements of the budget and invite all the other parties to work with us to protect services in Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Convenor of the Green Group of Councillors