Following the latest set of budget u-turns that have been made by the Green administration in Brighton & Hove, Conservative Group Leader Cllr.
Geoffrey Theobald has released his statement after discussions with affected residents around the city.
Cllr Theobald said: I am pleased that the Greens have listened to the residents who have come out in their thousands to campaign against many of these unnecessary cuts and that they have also listened to the arguments we have been putting forward. These u-turns are all on issues such as the Music Service and public toilets – which we have been campaigning on from day one and it just goes to show what strong, concerted local action can achieve.
However, as always with the Greens, the devil is in the detail. On the key question the level of council tax that residents will pay they continue to ignore public opinion. The Argus survey has now had almost 7,000 responses and over two-thirds of residents are saying that they think the Greens should take the £3 million on offer from the Government and freeze council tax. Instead, they are ploughing ahead with their misguided and dogmatic plans to increase it by 3.5% for the next 3 years.
On business parking permits, Im afraid that this is just a token gesture to try and buy off the traders. Lets be clear, even with this partial climb down, the Greens are still proposing to increase Trader Permits by £250 and Business Permits by £125 a 70% hike. This is money they can ill-afford in these tough economic times.
On Madeira Drive, we welcome the u-turn on the ridiculously large parking charge increases that were originally proposed but would still like to see more done to help businesses here. For example, we would like them to repeat the scheme we introduced that halved parking charges in the winter months.
Im pleased that Shopmobility and City in Bloom have been given a reprieve but unfortunately it is for one year only. What they need is secure sustainable long-term funding and this doesnt provide it.
Im also pleased to see that the cuts to Children’s Centres are to be reduced slightly but I would like a commitment from the Greens that the local voluntary sector will be fully involved in the forthcoming review.
It is important that the Greens open up the whole service to this sector’s participation to protect frontline services and keep centres open – it is not just about how much is spent but how wisely it is spent.