Brighton & Hove Labour For the many, not the few
Labour Councillor Daniel Yates, reflects on the recent Policy & Resources Committee and the financial turmoil the council faces:
At the Council’s Policy & Resources committee on 1st December the true scale of the financial crisis facing the city council became clear.
Currently the council is suffering an overspend of over £11m in this financial year with a recruitment freeze for all but the most critical jobs in place for the rest of the year.
The pressures of twelve years of Tory funding cuts alongside the crisis in social care funding have combined alongside increasing pay costs and raging inflation to put the council perilously close to the brink financially.
These pressures are only made worse by the announcement that over £19m of savings will be required in next year’s budget which threatens to lead to drastic cuts such as the closure of council nurseries in the most disadvantaged communities, cuts to basic services and the loss of important youth programmes.
In previous years, the worst impacts of the funding crisis have been reduced by using council reserves but the level of reserves now available to the council are dwindling and there can be no doubt that the next few months will see the worst reduction in council services in living memory – which combined with the current cost-of-living crisis will leave all residents seeing and feeling the effects daily and threatens the safety of our most vulnerable residents.
Brighton & Hove Labour councillors have already demanded additional officer input into solving these problems and instigated a full review of the council’s assets including their investment portfolio to free up vital cash and reduce the burden of cuts on residents.
Now is the time for all councillors of all parties to play their part and put aside party politics for the good of the city. There is no doubt that difficult decisions are coming, and we desperately need to ensure that the Green administration gets a grip of the scale of the problem sooner rather than later. There is no solution in kicking difficult decisions into the long grass as delaying would only increase the scale of the cuts in future years.
We are determined to steady the ship now and if elected to run the council in 2023, to take further bold action to stop overspending and ensure that the city council continues to strive to deliver the highest possible levels of public services for the benefit of the many, not the few.
Cllr Daniel Yates
Image: “Text Financial Crisis written on a mini blackboard. Economic crisis concept” by verchmarco is licensed under CC BY 2.0.