Conservative Group Leader – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald – has accused Labour councillors of putting their short-term political interests ahead of the interests of local business after they failed to support amendments to the recent Brighton & Hove City Council Budget that could have reversed much of the Green Party’s damaging hikes to the cost of Business and Trader parking permits.
The Green Administration’s announcement at the end of 2011 that they would put up the cost of Trader Permits from £350 to £700 and Business Permits from £175 to £400 caused an outcry in the local business community. Under pressure, the Greens performed a partial u-turn early in the New Year but the new increases of 70% were still eye-wateringly large. As a result, the Conservative Group put forward a proposal at last Thursday’s Budget setting meeting to reduce the cost of Business and Trader Permits to £200 and £400 respectively, to be funded by small reductions in the Council’s Communications and Human Resources Budgets. Both Labour and Green groups voted down the amendment at the meeting.
Cllr. Theobald said: “I am deeply saddened that honest and hard-working local traders are now going to have to fork out hundreds of pounds extra purely because the local Labour Party are trying to pick up a few disaffected Green voters and did not want to be seen to be supporting a measure put forward by the Conservative Party. This is petty party politics of the worst kind. Just last week, the Leader of the Labour Group spoke out passionately against the Green’s proposed increases at a public meeting yet couldn’t bring herself to support our fully-costed and non-controversial proposal to reverse it. The traders who were counting on their support feel completely let down. This city relies upon its small local traders and businesses – you might say that they are the lifeblood of our local community. At a time when many are already suffering due to the downturn in the national economy this was a simple practical measure to try and help them and it has simply been thrown back in their faces.”