Commenting on the Budget proposals released by the Green Administration today, Conservative Group Leader on Brighton & Hove City Council – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald said: “The last Conservative Administration protected frontline services and froze the council tax. This Green Administration has wasted the last 6 months by failing to continue with our value for money programme and seems to be pursuing a policy of hitting frontline services and substantially increasing council tax.”
The Greens confirmed today that they are to press ahead with proposals to:
• increase council tax by 3.5% and to refuse the Government’s offer of £3 million to implement a freeze.
• raise an extra £1.3 million from motorists in the city through eye-watering increases in parking charges, including a £400 per annum increase in the cost of permits for businesses, outrageous weekend parking rates and big increases in resident parking charges.
Further proposals announced by the Greens today include:
• Closing some Sure Start children’s centres across the city.
• £¾ million reduction in the road maintenance and street lighting budgets.
• Reducing opening hours across the city’s libraries and getting rid of the mobile library service
• Decimating the street cleaning budget by £400,000 per annum.
• Closing 9 public toilets and drastically reducing the hours the remainder are attended.
• A ‘substantial’ and ‘disruptive’ reduction to the bin collection budget of £400,000 per annum.
• A 30% reduction in the graffiti removal service.
• Large increases in charges for the city’s allotment holders and removal of support for City in Bloom
• ‘Rationalising’ sporting facilities across the city – e.g. bowling greens and cricket pavilions.
• Big increases in admission charges to the Royal Pavilion.
Commenting on the proposals, Cllr. Theobald said: “This budget is an out and out attack on the core frontline services that the hard-working residents of this city rely upon. When we were in Administration we were always at pains to prioritise services that made this a city we could all be proud of and the Greens are now putting all that at risk.”
“But it is also a wasted opportunity. Why are they not continuing our programme of cutting out all the fat first before attacking these crucial services? For example, the human resources, communications and Trade Union budgets have hardly been touched. What is happening about commissioning? The independent District Auditor last week reported that Brighton & Hove’s services are amongst the 20% most expensive in the country for similar councils. It simply isn’t true for the Greens to say there is no more waste and bureaucracy to cut.”
“68% of residents voted for a council tax freeze in the recent Argus poll. The Greens claim to be the most open and transparent council ever so I would urge them to listen to what the residents are saying and think again.”