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Jason Kitcat calls on Labour to join forces and help push through city budget
Council leader Jason Kitcat has called on opposition councillors to join forces with him and push through the city’s budget.
The Green party leader of Brighton and Hove City Council called on the city’s Labour group to “stop blocking our proposals” and instead “work with us to find a way forward” to help agree a city budget for 2014/15.
Town hall bosses failed to reach a compromise at a budget council meeting on Thursday.
The Green administration wants to increase council tax by 4.75% – which would require a city-wide referendum – to help balance the books in the face of government cuts.
Coun Kitcat said: “Enough is enough.”
He added: “We accept that the Conservatives, committed to freezing budgets and dismantling local government, would never support our proposals.
“But we appeal to Labour – whose own councillors repeatedly condemned the high level of coalition cuts in our city – to stop blocking our proposals and instead work with us to find a way forward.
“Blocking our proposals means the council hasn’t been able to set a budget.
“So our door is open at any time – let’s build on the useful negotiations we've had so far. We need to work together to help the city continue to care properly for those in need while we face down the coalition government’s biting austerity cuts.”
Labour’s Warren Morgan said his group’s proposed 2% increase was the only compromise position between a 4.75% Green increase and a Tory freeze.
In an open letter to his counterparts Coun Kitcat and Coun Theobald, Coun Morgan said: “I would hope that even if you and your councillors cannot support this compromise position, you will at least ask your councillors to abstain rather than oppose, and allow my councillors to pass a lawful, balanced budget as we are required to do by law.
“The public expect that responsible and sensible action from us.
“The consequences for the city council and Brighton and Hove of us not passing a budget would be very serious indeed. At best it will cost the council a great deal in both lost money and damaged reputation.
“At worst the Government would step in and take over, with terrible implications for local services.”
Coun Theobald told The Argus yesterday: “My appeal to the Labour Party would be to join with us.
“If they would like to join with us and have a freeze then I would welcome that. I’ve been appealing with the other two parties to follow our lead rather than inflicting their increases upon our residents.”
The council has to come to a budget decision before March 11 or face government intervention.
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