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Brighton and Hove council tax rise of 2% approved
8:19pm Thursday 28th February 2013 in News
Tens of thousands of households will have a council tax rise of about 2% in the next year.
The increase was approved after a four hour debate by all 54 councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council.
Despite the Conservative attempts to freeze the rates, the Labour group joined with a majority of Green to push through the 1.96% rise.
They claimed the increase, which is the maximum amount possible and amounts to about 43p a week for a Band D household, is needed to help combat Government cuts.
The council tax rise was the cornerstone of the budget of more than £750 million which the majority of councillors supported.
Green councillor Ben Duncan joined the Tories in opposing the overall budget.
However a move to save the mobile library was rejected after Labour plans were voted down by the Greens and Tory groups.
It comes after three months of debating the proposals, which were first published in November.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said the passing the budget showed that "Greens deliver".
Speaking after the meeting, he told The Argus: "I think people voted in the best interests on the city.
"We tried to balance the needs of residents in the face of tough economic times.
"I know that councillors in the chamber reflected on their conscience before taking their decisions.
"This is local democracy and sometimes it gets messy."
The minority Green administration claimed the below-inflation council tax rise is necessary to make £17 million of savings while protecting vital services and the most vulnerable in the city.
But last month Conservative councillors revealed they would find an extra £780,000 from the £750 million budget to ensure a tax freeze - which would mean the city gets a one-off government grant of £1.2 million.
Labour backed the majority of the Green group when it came to the main vote.
The third party also received backing for extra money for wefare support and to stop the increase in nursery fees for under 3s.
See all Argus stories relating to the Brighton and Hove City Council 2013/14 budget here: www.theargus.co.uk/news/indepth/brightonhovecounciltax
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