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Green Brighton councillor to vote against party's own budget
A Green Brighton councillor has vowed to reject his own party’s budget plans which will see the elderly and vulnerable hit hardest.
Brighton and Hove City Council must find £22.5 million from its 2014/15 budget as the government spending squeeze continues.
Just days after its Green minority administration revealed the details, Ben Duncan, who represents Queen’s Park, said he would be voting against the plan.
Speaking at a meeting on how to resist austerity and campaign against the cuts, he urged other Green and Labour politicians to join him in rejecting the proposal.
It came as union activists warned there could be strike action over the cuts in the coming months.
Coun Duncan praised the fair and environmental principles which fellow Greens had applied when setting the budget.
However, he said: “We’re already seeing the impact of these cuts locally and it’s only going to get worse until local authorities say enough is enough and we’re not going to accept this.
“We need to start that movement in Brighton and Hove as people elected the Greens on an anti-cuts platform.”
About 50 people attended the public meeting on Sunday.
In addition to Coun Duncan, six other Green councillors were present – Rob Jarrett, Liz Wakefield, Ruth Buckley, Alex Phillips, Mike Jones and Phelim MacCafferty.
Coun Duncan said he did not expect to be the only councillor to reject the budget.
The budget plans includes £6 million taken out of adult social care and £4.7 million from children’s services.
This could see care taken away from all but the neediest, care homes closed and disabled workers lose their jobs.
At the meeting, members of the public spoke of their fears that people with learning disabilities, older people, children in need of support and people at risk of homelessness will suffer as a result of the funding cuts proposed.
Andy Richards, chairman of Brighton and Hove Unison, said: “The cuts to the council budget proposed over the next four years threaten to destroy basic services which ordinary people rely on.”
A further meeting will take place in January before a decision on the budget is taken by all 54 councillors at its meeting on February 27.
For more details visit www.brightonpa.org.uk.
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