How council cuts will hurt in Brighton and Hove

Counting the cost of council cuts

Counting the cost of council cuts

First published in News by

Council cuts of more than £20 million will result in about 160 posts being scrapped at Brighton and Hove City Council in the next financial year.

The budget proposal for the next financial year was presented earlier this week ahead of three months of debate about what course the city should take.

The Green-minority administration feels its plans will support essential services while continuing to invest in the city.

But opposition councillors are already making calls that more innovative work can be done to prevent the “salami slicing” of individual department budgets as Government cuts hit.

Those in power will point to the fact that no children’s centres will close, all branch libraries will remain open and support for those needing help with council tax payments will be preserved.

Yet the publication of the first draft includes some blows to groups around the city with Pride, sports clubs and the music service among those that could be affected.

This was after the amount of money the local authority had to find rose from about £16 million in August to about £24 million a few weeks ago.

The exact figure will not be known until later next month.

Mark Turner, of GMB union, said: “It’s very difficult as there’s now an additional £8 million to be found.

“There is a voluntary redundancy pool. But if all the job losses are not reached under this and there are compulsory redundancies then we will challenge these in the usual robust way.

“It’s clear that central Government is trying to do away with local government. It’s making things harder and harder.”

MUSIC SERVICE

The Argus: Young musicians busking in Churchill Square

Hundreds of people campaigned to save the funding for Brighton and Hove Music Service last year, which is used by 2,500 youngsters every week.

More than 1,800 signatures were collected on a petition when the city council threatened to reduce its subsidy.
A year on, and it is déjà vu.

The Government’s grant to support music is being reduced by £69,000.

On top of this the local authority will reduce its funding by a further £53,000 – about a tenth of allocation.

If approved, it will mean a reduction in access to music services by youngsters while fees could also rise.

But the council said it will look at ways to create more income from the popular service.

CRICKET CLUBS

The Argus: Brighton v Worthing cricket

Not all the savings are for six-figure sums.

Among the more controversial could be the scrapping of an £8,000 subsidy to cricket
teams.

Nigel Thomas, chairman of Palmers Cricket Club, which is based at Hove Recreation Ground in Shirley Drive, said: “It’s very difficult for clubs at the moment as the wet summer meant we lost a lot of money in match fees.

“We look after our own wicket and it takes up a lot of resources. Not all the clubs, particularly recreational ones, will be able to have the time to do this.

“Personally I think the council should be investing in sport.

“Obviously it does not have banks of money
but it really should not be cutting down as it’s really important for people particularly young people.”

PRIDE

The Argus: Brighton Pride

Among the more controversial plans is to remove the annual grant to Pride.

However council bosses have made it clear that a one-off £25,000 grant will remain to support the annual celebration of the LGBT community for 2013/14.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “In its current form, we’re not sure it needs it.”

But James Ledward, editor of Gscene magazine and LGBT community activist, said: “It shows a lack of understanding from the council at how Pride supports community support work.

“Everybody knows how much money it brings into the city but beyond that one weekend there is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes.

“I think it’s a shame that this funding remained under Labour and Conservative administrations yet it is being taken away under the Greens.”

ADULT SOCIAL CARE

By far the biggest amount of savings will come from the adult social care budget.

Exact details are not yet known but among the areas being reviewed to save money are community meals and day care centres.

Elderly champion Jim Baker, who works as a consultant to support vulnerable groups, said it was vital as much support as possible was maintained.

Mr Baker, who used to work for Age Concern – Brighton, Hove and Portslade, said: “The current circumstances means it’s getting harder for older people and their families in terms of managing money.

“The money is just not going as far. A lot of older people in Brighton and Hove have saved for their retirement and things are just getting more and more expensive.”

Mr Baker said he believed the council should look at reducing the amount of residential care as “it costs the council a fortune”.

However, he said this should only be done if there was a support network, “otherwise people become invisible”.

He said ultimately people were happier when they maintained their independence by living at home.

THE BUDGET

Brighton and Hove City Council has an annual budget of more than £700 million

However, the Government “ring-fences” funding for schools, housing and some other areas.

This means the local authority only has a say over where about £220 million is spent.

A council tax increase for 2013/14 is limited to 2% by the Government. A freeze would see the local authority receive a one-off Government grant the equivalent to 1%.

The council also plans to increase its fees and charges, from leisure centres to library fines, by 2% - the current standard rate of inflation.

After the policy and resources committee meeting today there will be a consultation period.

The full amount of savings needed will be revealed after the Chancellor’s autumn statement on December 5.

Revised final plans will be presented to the council’s policy and resources committee on February 14.

The final decision will be made on February 28.

COUNCIL TAX

The cornerstone of this year’s budget once again will be a council tax rise.

Last year’s plans for a 3.5% increase from the minority Green administration were voted down by Conservative and Labour groups in February.

But this year’s proposal of 2%, which is below inflation but the highest possible amount under a Government cap, appears more acceptable.

Coun Kitcat said: “I hope that in these difficult times, people will understand that the modest 2% council tax increase will help provide the services our city needs.

“It is less than inflation but, without it, services across the board, from libraries and street sweeping to care for children and the elderly, face being far worse off.”

Local authorities that freeze the council tax for 2013/14 will receive a grant equivalent to a 1% rise.

The city council’s Conservative group appear to want to freeze council tax but need to find an extra £1 million worth of savings.

The Labour group said it will not comment until it is fully aware of the financial picture.

Where will the money come from?

PEOPLE – CHILDREN’S SERVICES
Total budget £62.6 million - £3.3 million of savings (5% reduction)

  • £2.6 million from Looked After Children placements, number in care currently at all-time low
  • Children’s centres kept open but reduction in staff, including receptionists
  • Higher charges for three-year-olds at children’s centres
  • Reduction of music service subsidy – leading to increase in fees and possible reduction on service
  • Some young people / families will have to make own arrangements to travel to faith schools.

PEOPLE – ADULT SOCIAL CARE
Total budget £79.9 million - £4.7 million of savings (6%)

  • Review of community meals
  • Reduce the number of people placed in residential care
  • Possible changes to day care activities

PLACES
Total budget £45 million – £431,000 (1%)

  • More people needing temporary housing into private rented properties rather than bed and breakfasts
  • Reduction in preventing homelessness budget but “no significant impact” on service
  • Possible closure of car pound
  • Reduce public subsidy to cricket clubs – sports teams will have to pay for upkeep of cricket pitches
  • Replace bedding plants with perennial planting except at Old Steine and Floral Clock
  • Reduction in Environmental Health inspections
  • Trading Standards business line cut

COMMUNITIES
Total budget £16.8 million – £337,000 (2%)

  • EQUALITY: Freeze at 2012/13 levels in discretionary grants to community and voluntary groups
  • CULTURE: Remove annual grant to Pride but one-off £25,000 support will remain for 2013/14
  • SPORT, LEISURE AND LIBRARIES: Visitor Information Centre near Royal Pavilion closed; possibly will become part of Brighton Centre box office. Remove or reduce mobile library service. £100k extra income from Royal Pavilion

RESOURCES AND FINANCE
Total budget £31.4 million – £1.8 million (6%)

  • CITY SERVICES: Reduce size of benefits team, despite rise in number of cases. Increased funeral fees. Woodland burial site developed
  • PROPERTY AND DESIGN: Closure of some council-owned buildings
  • COMMUNICATIONS: £26,000 reduction after review into “non-essential” spend – despite total communications budget across council being £2.9 million

CORPORATE BUDGETS
Total budget £8.2 million – £950,000 increase (12% increase)

  •  Increase in overall funding due to some freeing up of Government grants

 

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Comments (13)

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4:29pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Dealing with idiots says...

Vote of no confidence in the Green administration e petition now live on the Brighton and Hove City Council website. If you love your city and want to end the waste and destruction of the Greens, please sign the petition. We need 1250 signatures to get this discussed in full council. Surely there are 1250 angry people in the city who want to make a difference? Save Our City.
http://present.brigh
ton-hove.gov.uk/mgEP
etitionDisplay.aspx?
ID=360&RPID=6025807&
HPID=6025807
Vote of no confidence in the Green administration e petition now live on the Brighton and Hove City Council website. If you love your city and want to end the waste and destruction of the Greens, please sign the petition. We need 1250 signatures to get this discussed in full council. Surely there are 1250 angry people in the city who want to make a difference? Save Our City. http://present.brigh ton-hove.gov.uk/mgEP etitionDisplay.aspx? ID=360&RPID=6025807& HPID=6025807 Dealing with idiots
  • Score: 0

4:38pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Jimmy Stewart's Imaginary Rabbit says...

Mr Ridgway: £8,000 for cricket clubs, £25,000 for Pride, that's £33,000, not even the cost (with Employer's NI etc) of a mid-ranking Council employee. We need to save MILLIONS, why are you even mentioning these miniscule amounts? Is it just because these are things people have heard about?
Mr Ridgway: £8,000 for cricket clubs, £25,000 for Pride, that's £33,000, not even the cost (with Employer's NI etc) of a mid-ranking Council employee. We need to save MILLIONS, why are you even mentioning these miniscule amounts? Is it just because these are things people have heard about? Jimmy Stewart's Imaginary Rabbit
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Thu 29 Nov 12

VoxUnpopuli says...

I'm no fan of the Greens, but this would be happening whoever was running the Council. Fact is the Tory Government gave all our money to their banking buddies who had lost their own gambling. Now the money they gave away has to be made up for and it's easier to take it from the poor and needy than the grasping bankers. All of these services were funded in part or whole by government subsidies that are no longer there. Now YOU have to decide, pay more Council Tax or get less services?
I'm no fan of the Greens, but this would be happening whoever was running the Council. Fact is the Tory Government gave all our money to their banking buddies who had lost their own gambling. Now the money they gave away has to be made up for and it's easier to take it from the poor and needy than the grasping bankers. All of these services were funded in part or whole by government subsidies that are no longer there. Now YOU have to decide, pay more Council Tax or get less services? VoxUnpopuli
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Dealing with idiots says...

Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record.
Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record. Dealing with idiots
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Bob_The_Ferret says...

No chance of the Greens saving money by not wasting so much on bus lanes, kerb build outs, schemes to complicate busy junctions and the team of pen pushers coming up with ever more insidious ways of making it harder to travel around the city then.
No chance of the Greens saving money by not wasting so much on bus lanes, kerb build outs, schemes to complicate busy junctions and the team of pen pushers coming up with ever more insidious ways of making it harder to travel around the city then. Bob_The_Ferret
  • Score: 0

8:21pm Thu 29 Nov 12

oknotko says...

Dealing with idiots wrote:
Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record.
You say yourself that this happened because of the US banking sector and then go on to say it's Labour's fault?
Also - Socialists? Lol.
[quote][p][bold]Dealing with idiots[/bold] wrote: Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record.[/p][/quote]You say yourself that this happened because of the US banking sector and then go on to say it's Labour's fault? Also - Socialists? Lol. oknotko
  • Score: 0

8:48pm Thu 29 Nov 12

HJarrs says...

Dealing with idiots wrote:
Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record.
The banks in the UK were happy to turn a blind eye to self-cert mortgages, which were just as fraudulent as those in the US. Thats before PPI mis-selling etc. Banks and financial institutions sponsor the Conservative Party and many of their directors and top managers went to school with and form a network with top Tories. Your Conservative Party is institutionally corrupt. This before we get to the recent Libor rate setting scandal, again corruption unpunished at the highest levels despite putting the country at risk of bankcruptcy as £700 trillion(!!!) of derivatives are traded using the Libor rate. Your party stinks and is failing, it is showing up the "elite" as a bunch of incompitent, useless idiots.

As for your petition, why don't you be honest and tell it how it is. You want Theobold in power to cut services, privitise and reduce accountability.

The only idiot you are dealing with is yourself.
[quote][p][bold]Dealing with idiots[/bold] wrote: Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record.[/p][/quote]The banks in the UK were happy to turn a blind eye to self-cert mortgages, which were just as fraudulent as those in the US. Thats before PPI mis-selling etc. Banks and financial institutions sponsor the Conservative Party and many of their directors and top managers went to school with and form a network with top Tories. Your Conservative Party is institutionally corrupt. This before we get to the recent Libor rate setting scandal, again corruption unpunished at the highest levels despite putting the country at risk of bankcruptcy as £700 trillion(!!!) of derivatives are traded using the Libor rate. Your party stinks and is failing, it is showing up the "elite" as a bunch of incompitent, useless idiots. As for your petition, why don't you be honest and tell it how it is. You want Theobold in power to cut services, privitise and reduce accountability. The only idiot you are dealing with is yourself. HJarrs
  • Score: 0

8:50pm Thu 29 Nov 12

nocando says...

the bankers and tories have very little to do with it, the simple fact is that the armies of public sector non jobs and the associated perks invented by labour to create their client state are now such a drain on public funds that they outweigh the productive private sector that generates the income in the first place.
We are living in a mess created from left wing profligacy and naivety, cuts are what happens when we're skint.
Deal with it.
the bankers and tories have very little to do with it, the simple fact is that the armies of public sector non jobs and the associated perks invented by labour to create their client state are now such a drain on public funds that they outweigh the productive private sector that generates the income in the first place. We are living in a mess created from left wing profligacy and naivety, cuts are what happens when we're skint. Deal with it. nocando
  • Score: 0

9:28pm Thu 29 Nov 12

oknotko says...

nocando wrote:
the bankers and tories have very little to do with it, the simple fact is that the armies of public sector non jobs and the associated perks invented by labour to create their client state are now such a drain on public funds that they outweigh the productive private sector that generates the income in the first place.
We are living in a mess created from left wing profligacy and naivety, cuts are what happens when we're skint.
Deal with it.
Absolute tosh. The banking crisis was due to the private sector. Deal with it.
[quote][p][bold]nocando[/bold] wrote: the bankers and tories have very little to do with it, the simple fact is that the armies of public sector non jobs and the associated perks invented by labour to create their client state are now such a drain on public funds that they outweigh the productive private sector that generates the income in the first place. We are living in a mess created from left wing profligacy and naivety, cuts are what happens when we're skint. Deal with it.[/p][/quote]Absolute tosh. The banking crisis was due to the private sector. Deal with it. oknotko
  • Score: 0

9:32pm Thu 29 Nov 12

ourcoalition says...

oknotko wrote:
nocando wrote:
the bankers and tories have very little to do with it, the simple fact is that the armies of public sector non jobs and the associated perks invented by labour to create their client state are now such a drain on public funds that they outweigh the productive private sector that generates the income in the first place.
We are living in a mess created from left wing profligacy and naivety, cuts are what happens when we're skint.
Deal with it.
Absolute tosh. The banking crisis was due to the private sector. Deal with it.
The Labour Government "left-wing", "socialists"? Am I living in a parallel Universe? Discuss.
[quote][p][bold]oknotko[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]nocando[/bold] wrote: the bankers and tories have very little to do with it, the simple fact is that the armies of public sector non jobs and the associated perks invented by labour to create their client state are now such a drain on public funds that they outweigh the productive private sector that generates the income in the first place. We are living in a mess created from left wing profligacy and naivety, cuts are what happens when we're skint. Deal with it.[/p][/quote]Absolute tosh. The banking crisis was due to the private sector. Deal with it.[/p][/quote]The Labour Government "left-wing", "socialists"? Am I living in a parallel Universe? Discuss. ourcoalition
  • Score: 0

9:59am Fri 30 Nov 12

Morpheus says...

Dealing with idiots wrote:
Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record.
It is nothing to do with bankers being greedy. If this was true the last thing they wanted was to ruin the bank. The banking crisis happened because of reliance on sophisticated computer programmes that made the bankers think that they were eliminating risk. Politicians also thought this was the case. Gordon Brown called this the Golden Age of the City.
[quote][p][bold]Dealing with idiots[/bold] wrote: Vox, you seem to forget those in the US who took out mortgages knowing full well they could not afford them and then defaulted. True the bankers were greedy and stupid but to keep on blaming the Tories when this happened under the glorious socialist red banner makes you sound like a broken record.[/p][/quote]It is nothing to do with bankers being greedy. If this was true the last thing they wanted was to ruin the bank. The banking crisis happened because of reliance on sophisticated computer programmes that made the bankers think that they were eliminating risk. Politicians also thought this was the case. Gordon Brown called this the Golden Age of the City. Morpheus
  • Score: 0

10:05am Fri 30 Nov 12

Fairfax Sakes says...

The only ones it will hurt are those feckless spongers who have been milking the system dry. About time these time sorts were given a sharp reality check. Life is tough, so get off your rear ends and stop assuming other people will pay for your ineptitudes.
The only ones it will hurt are those feckless spongers who have been milking the system dry. About time these time sorts were given a sharp reality check. Life is tough, so get off your rear ends and stop assuming other people will pay for your ineptitudes. Fairfax Sakes
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Sat 1 Dec 12

VoxUnpopuli says...

Fairfax Sakes wrote:
The only ones it will hurt are those feckless spongers who have been milking the system dry. About time these time sorts were given a sharp reality check. Life is tough, so get off your rear ends and stop assuming other people will pay for your ineptitudes.
Feckless spongers who have been milking the system dry just about sums up the bankers! In what other industry could you run the company into the ground and still get a bonus? The Tories told us "market forces" meant that Coal, Steel, Shipyards, etc., should not be saved yet fell over themselves to bail out their banking chums and do nothing to try and get our money back.
[quote][p][bold]Fairfax Sakes[/bold] wrote: The only ones it will hurt are those feckless spongers who have been milking the system dry. About time these time sorts were given a sharp reality check. Life is tough, so get off your rear ends and stop assuming other people will pay for your ineptitudes.[/p][/quote]Feckless spongers who have been milking the system dry just about sums up the bankers! In what other industry could you run the company into the ground and still get a bonus? The Tories told us "market forces" meant that Coal, Steel, Shipyards, etc., should not be saved yet fell over themselves to bail out their banking chums and do nothing to try and get our money back. VoxUnpopuli
  • Score: 0

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