The Leader of the Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council has unveiled his Groupís proposals ahead of the Councilís Budget setting meeting on 28th February and has slammed the Labour Party for denying residents a freeze in the level of council tax they pay.
The Green Administration has proposed to increase council tax by 2% next year with the Conservatives submitting a Budget amendment to freeze it at the current level. After months of sitting on the fence, the Labour Group has finally announced that they will be backing the Greenís tax hiking plans, meaning that the increase will now go through.
Other amendments being proposed by the Conservatives include: supporting local business by proposing a reduction in the cost of Trader and Business Parking Permits; reversing the Green Administrationís proposed cut to the Councilís much-loved childrenís Music Service; increasing the amount of grant funding available to charities and voluntary groups; reopening the award-winning Norton Road public toilets for 7 days a week; and establishing a new annual prize for schools which show the best performance in improving the results of all their pupils.
The proposals will be funded from a number of sources including: savings in back office functions such as Human Resources, Communications, the European Office and Scrutiny; reducing the amount of taxpayer funded Trade Union activity in the Council; and extending the existing voluntary redundancy scheme.
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, said: ďThe Labour Party are natural bedfellows with the Greens when it comes to high tax and high spend so their decision to support the rise is no surprise. We have seen it nationally with the last Labour Government which borrowed one pound in every four it spent and we saw it with the last Labour Council Administration in Brighton & Hove which more than doubled council tax. But for the Government ruling that any rise over 2% must be approved by the public in a referendum, Iím quite sure that they would have put it up even more. It is now clear that they only supported our freeze proposals last year in the hope of gaining votes in the Westbourne by-election.Ē
Conservative Group Finance Spokesperson, Cllr. Ann Norman, added: ďI would have liked to have done a lot more and had we still been in Administration we would have continued with our value for money programme and properly tested the market for more of the Councilís services. However, in addition to proposing a council tax freeze we have still tried to help as many groups as we can and I would urge the Labour Party to support us on these.Ē
Notes to editors:
The full details of the Group’s amendments can be found here†Conservative Group amendments 2013-14 with CFO comments.
For further information please contact Cllr. Theobald on 07753636203