At the upcoming annual council budget-setting meeting, Labour Councillors are bringing forward proposals to re-allocate funding from Green Party vanity projects into restoring vital basic services and supporting our visitor economy and the tourism income it generates for our local businesses.
After already successfully forcing the Greens to U-turn on their plans to slash the budget for public toilets, which would have resulted in further closures, Labour are pushing the administration to go further and invest £1.1 million into the refurbishment and restoration of dilapidated public toilet units across the city.
Beyond this, Labour’s plans would also see the council review proposed cuts to Visit Brighton, the Volks Railway and the Lifeguard Services, by re-allocating one-off funds.
Visit Brighton is a vital service that brings tourism and investment to our city and slashing its budget and removing tourist information desks would make our city less attractive to potential visitors and mean our local businesses would miss out on trade – crucial in the recovery from the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.
Volks Railway, meanwhile, is a historic feat of engineering, the oldest running electric railway in the world. To effectively shut this down, as the Greens are proposing, would be to discard a crown jewel in the city’s heritage and tourism crown, and again make Brighton & Hove less attractive to day-trippers and tourists.
Lifeguard Services meanwhile are an important means of keeping residents and visitors safe on our beaches, giving advice, responding to major incidents and saving lives.
Labour’s co-leader of the opposition and finance lead, Cllr Carmen Appich said:
“In this post-pandemic cost-of-living crisis, our local businesses need our support more than ever. The Green Council seems to have its priorities all wrong and wants to cut our independent local businesses at the knees by targeting our heritage and tourism sectors.”
Labour’s deputy leader and joint spokesperson for tourism, equalities, communities and culture, Cllr Amanda Evans said:
“We need to be encouraging more trade and investment into our city, not less. These are cuts that may help balance the books at the council in the short-term but will negatively impact our entire city in the long-term.
“Labour’s budget amendments would review these cuts, and a Labour administration will work in partnership with businesses and communities to utilise the cultural, heritage and geographical assets at our disposal to generate more income for local businesses and residents.”