Wednesday 4 December 2013

2014-15 Budget a cut too far for at least one Brighton Green councillor

On Sunday I wrote about how difficult it was becoming for councils, of whatever political complexion, to keep to their promise to protect the most vulnerable in the face of sweeping Coalition funding cuts.

Coincidentally a Brighton People's Assembly sponsored Community Conference  was being held in Brighton home of the minority Green adminstration. Their 2014-15 budget is based on a £22.5m cut.

Councillor Ben Duncan who represents Queens Park ward, told the meeting that he woudl reject the proposed budget and would urge other Green and Labour councillors to join him. Duncan praised the fair and environmental principles which his colleagues had used when setting the budget, but went on:
We’re already seeing the impact of these cuts locally and it’s only going to get worse until local authorities say enough is enough and we’re not going to accept this.
We need to start that movement in Brighton and Hove as people elected the Greens on an anti-cuts platform.
 It is expected that Cllr Duncan will be joined by other Green councillors but the overall picture of the distribution of forces is still unclear.

Brighton People's Assembly LINK on their website outline the position:
Brighton & Hove City Council is facing a further £23 million reduction in its budget for 2014-15. 
The initial proposals for the budget have now been published on the council's website.
The proposed budget includes cuts to many vital local services, including:
  • Residential care, home care and employment support for adults with learning disabilities
  • Day centres for older people
  • Social workers for children who need support
  • The homelessness prevention service
Here's a longer list we have put together.

Brighton People's Assembly called a Community Conference on December 1st, bringing together councillors, council workers and local citizens, to discuss ways in which we can campaign for more funding and against these damaging budget cuts.

The meeting heard from local residents who depend on some of the services facing cuts.
For example, 800 local residents with learning disabilities receive support from the council to help them find employment. This is essential to help people fill in complicated forms and negotiate suitable job placements with employers. There is already a long waiting list for this support, but the budget proposals say the funding for the service will be cut by £100,000 - 45% of the total funding.
 Last night Green Left, of which I am a member, issued the following statement:
Green Left  supports both Ben Duncan and Alex Phillips who have said they'll vote against Tory cuts, and any other Green councillors considering doing so.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So is the solution then to hand in the keys for the tories or their cousins New Labour to implement these cuts a less sensitive way with no concern for environmental issues? (I think Boris speaks for the tories here!).
Of course central government will be so shocked that a council has refused to implement their cuts...and the tabloids will shame them into reconsidering their policies and eveything will be alright then. We can then all fly away on holiday on zero-carbon porcine airways.....