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City council tax to see a 2% rise
A council tax rise of just under 2% is officially on the table for Brighton and Hove.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s Green administration believes an increase in the rates of 1.96% - the maximum amount possible - will help it tackle Government cuts.
Council bosses claim the below-inflation rise is necessary to make £17 million of savings while protecting vital services and the most vulnerable in the city.
But Conservative councillors say the administration only has to find £780,000 more to ensure a tax freeze – which would mean the city would get a one-off government grant of £1.2 million.
The Tories have laid down the gauntlet to Labour members, asking them to support the plans against the minority administration.
Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald said: “We have argued consistently the Greens should be delivering a council tax freeze for residents and so we are disappointed, but not surprised, that they are pushing ahead with their plans.
“Last year Labour came off the fence to support us and I urge them to do the same again this year.”
Labour group leader Gill Mitchell would not be moved when asked where her party stood on council tax.
She said: “We’re pleased that the Greens are not cutting as much from the benefit services at this time of such upheaval in the welfare system but we’re very concerned by the continuing cuts to the homelessness budget.”
The final proposals were released yesterday ahead of a crunch meeting of all councillors on February 28.
The headline cuts include the mobile library (£30,000), children’s centres (£273,000) and visitor information centre (£50,000).
Cuts of £19,000 are also proposed from the homelessness budget while the music service will have reduced funding (£53,000).
But £8,000 from the cricket pitch subsidies will be maintained.
Fees across the council, from children’s centres to cemetery costs, will also be increased by a minimum of 2%.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “These budget proposals are designed to protect essential services for residents in the city in the face of massive changes to the ways councils are funded."
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