Co-leader of the opposition, Labour’s Cllr Carmen Appich recently wrote in Brighton & Hove News about the difficult decisions around fees and charges that must be made at Annual Budget Council in February thanks to years of Tory cuts and the economic impact of Covid. Here’s an excerpt:
The Labour group has already won support for some alternative proposals on fees and charges… focused on protecting disadvantaged residents from big increases in charge, incentivising people out of their cars and encouraging healthy active lifestyles.
While our proposals to protect concessionary rates at sports facilities and bulky waste removal discounts for disadvantaged residents were blocked by the Greens and Conservatives, we did win support for an increase fee in fees and charges for highways obstruction and flyering.
And we won backing to explore differential parking charges for vehicles emitting higher levels of pollution to try to encourage people to switch to greener forms of transport…
…The administration also backed our proposal to generate an income stream in order to roll out more secure cycle hangars and invest in cycling infrastructure – and to look into charging for motorcycle parking to encourage greener forms of transport…
…Sadly, some of our other proposals which would have protected residents against the worst excesses of new charges (such as increases in library fines for children) were not agreed at recent committees.
But Labour councillors will be bringing these back to the table as part of the wider budget-setting process.