The great Brighton and Hove council tax debate: Jason Kitcat puts case forward for 4.75% rise

The Argus: The great council tax deabte: Jason Kitcat puts case forward for 4.75% rise The great council tax deabte: Jason Kitcat puts case forward for 4.75% rise

The debate continues on our social care referendum proposal.

The council has saved almost £30 million in efficiency programmes in the last few years and has millions more planned. But it needs to save another £100 million over the next four years - more than any efficiencies can possibly cover.

Westminster cuts can no longer be absorbed, so we are seeking a democratic opinion from local residents.

Social care makes up a third of the spending that we have control over, so we have little option but to look at ways of saving money there. Not doing so would mean relatively small but well-used services such as libraries, children’s centres and parks would be decimated if not completely closed by government cuts.


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There are of course other areas of council spending, but there are often restrictions on how money can be spent.

For example parking charges in the city have been frozen or reduced since 2012, and we plan to do the same again next year.

Parking income has to be spent on transport spending, and in Brighton and Hove this income pays for free bus passes for older and disabled people.

Much of the funding for transport projects such as the Lewes Road has come from external sources like the government and the EU.

And our role in the i360 tower project, if agreed, would be as the middle-man for a government loan, which would earn an extra £1 million a year to mitigate government cuts.

The pressures on our public services are greater than ever before.

Times are tough for many residents too.

But as both the Conservatives and Labour are committed to the same spending cuts until 2019, we must prepare.

So the time is right to ask you, the residents of Brighton and Hove, what you think is the right approach.

So much is at stake and so much has changed in recent years that we should let the people decide.

Comments (17)

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12:39pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Crystal Ball says...

Why would any sane resident of Brighton and Hove agree to a rise over the cap when current services are already being cut or woefully operated?

Look at the debacle that is the rescheduled refuse collections - an utter shower. And if BHCC can offer a ridiculous loan to the private sector for an iSore then surely funds exist to improve public services and things that are important to the town?

Just say "No".
Why would any sane resident of Brighton and Hove agree to a rise over the cap when current services are already being cut or woefully operated? Look at the debacle that is the rescheduled refuse collections - an utter shower. And if BHCC can offer a ridiculous loan to the private sector for an iSore then surely funds exist to improve public services and things that are important to the town? Just say "No". Crystal Ball

1:16pm Thu 23 Jan 14

peterthomas says...

Less consultancy, lower high end salaries and deliver existing services properly - then there is a possible platform to discuss rate increases. The consultancy spend is an obscenity and the quality and delivery time of a lot of services - refuse/road repairs/revision - pitiful.
Less consultancy, lower high end salaries and deliver existing services properly - then there is a possible platform to discuss rate increases. The consultancy spend is an obscenity and the quality and delivery time of a lot of services - refuse/road repairs/revision - pitiful. peterthomas

1:36pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Boshay says...

Isn't it about time he followed his namesake and 'took a break'?
Isn't it about time he followed his namesake and 'took a break'? Boshay

1:49pm Thu 23 Jan 14

brightonian57 says...

So many lies Jason, why should we believe anything you or your council sat now?
So many lies Jason, why should we believe anything you or your council sat now? brightonian57

2:30pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Thay Qon U says...

It is not as JK emotively calls it a social care referendum - it is a Local Authority (Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases) Regulations 2012 under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.

The last published figures (in The Argus) showed that there was some £16,000,000 of arrears of Council Tax from earlier years to be collected by BHCC - that should help with any alleged budget shortfall.

How much of that has been collected Jason?
It is not as JK emotively calls it a social care referendum - it is a Local Authority (Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases) Regulations 2012 under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011. The last published figures (in The Argus) showed that there was some £16,000,000 of arrears of Council Tax from earlier years to be collected by BHCC - that should help with any alleged budget shortfall. How much of that has been collected Jason? Thay Qon U

4:34pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Mark63 says...

No, No, No, No, No, No, No!
Stop wasting money on anti-car policies and spend it where its really needed.
You seem to be able to massage the truth on most things, I'm sure moving thieved parking income to social care wouldn't matter a jot to most of us - and one we may even applaud (and no tax hike needed). Just stop bullying the motorist!
No, No, No, No, No, No, No! Stop wasting money on anti-car policies and spend it where its really needed. You seem to be able to massage the truth on most things, I'm sure moving thieved parking income to social care wouldn't matter a jot to most of us - and one we may even applaud (and no tax hike needed). Just stop bullying the motorist! Mark63

4:40pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Richada says...

Dear Cllr Kitcat,

As with the rest of the vast majority of Council Tax paying (that is those who actually FUND the council rather than those merely voting for it) residents of Brighton and Hove, I know that my words will fall on totally deaf ears.

Why?

Because you are completely out of touch with, and worse, do not care a jot for, the residents of this city and are only hell bent on making your mark in history by attempting to wage war on the national government.
Many of us, sick to death with bickering party politics in local government, saw the Green Party as a real alternative, something new, more honourable, honest and worthwhile.

What did we get?

A bickering party who couldn’t agree even amongst themselves who have turned our great city into a national laughing stock.

With many, failed, vanity projects (some you proudly champion above) no matter where the funds have been obtained, rubbish piling up in the streets you now have the temerity to attempt to throw the final insult at us by expecting hard pressed, long suffering, council tax payers to fund your excesses to the tune of a further 4.75%.

How do you justify this?

Blackmailing us with the fate of the “vulnerable”!

Sadly, we stopped believing both your figures and spin some time ago. Most of us expressing opinions in the Argus in this way are beyond insulted by HJarrs continual defence of the indefensible and now read it in order to mock.

Personally, I would hope that you have the good grace to resign at the point it becomes unavoidable but to actually face the truth here; that being that the vast majority of us do not want £230,000 of our hard earned cash squandered on a referendum in order to throw out a 4.75% Council Tax increase.

Many congratulations though in setting back local politics a decade and bringing about the restoration of the party political bickering that we are all so used to and loath.

In case you have not understood me Mr Kitcat, thats a NO to a 4.75% increase.
Dear Cllr Kitcat, As with the rest of the vast majority of Council Tax paying (that is those who actually FUND the council rather than those merely voting for it) residents of Brighton and Hove, I know that my words will fall on totally deaf ears. Why? Because you are completely out of touch with, and worse, do not care a jot for, the residents of this city and are only hell bent on making your mark in history by attempting to wage war on the national government. Many of us, sick to death with bickering party politics in local government, saw the Green Party as a real alternative, something new, more honourable, honest and worthwhile. What did we get? A bickering party who couldn’t agree even amongst themselves who have turned our great city into a national laughing stock. With many, failed, vanity projects (some you proudly champion above) no matter where the funds have been obtained, rubbish piling up in the streets you now have the temerity to attempt to throw the final insult at us by expecting hard pressed, long suffering, council tax payers to fund your excesses to the tune of a further 4.75%. How do you justify this? Blackmailing us with the fate of the “vulnerable”! Sadly, we stopped believing both your figures and spin some time ago. Most of us expressing opinions in the Argus in this way are beyond insulted by HJarrs continual defence of the indefensible and now read it in order to mock. Personally, I would hope that you have the good grace to resign at the point it becomes unavoidable but to actually face the truth here; that being that the vast majority of us do not want £230,000 of our hard earned cash squandered on a referendum in order to throw out a 4.75% Council Tax increase. Many congratulations though in setting back local politics a decade and bringing about the restoration of the party political bickering that we are all so used to and loath. In case you have not understood me Mr Kitcat, thats a NO to a 4.75% increase. Richada

6:08pm Thu 23 Jan 14

IandRgb says...

"Britain's only Green council administration – in Brighton and Hove – is to take the bold step of trying to stage a referendum to see if there is consent among local people for a council tax rise of 4.75%."

After the Con-Libdem government has failed to deliver on its coalition promise of local referenda which can be "instigated" by members of the electorate, it is good to see that a local council will consider handing over an important public matter to the people. Councillors who may be thinking of trying to block the Brighton ballot are advised to recall that opinion surveys of British adults have shown strong support for the wider use of direct democracy such as referendum.

The Green party has expressed support for more direct democracy, for example in some of their manifestos. However it is a touch ironic that the Brighton Green council leader a few years ago wrote that he opposes direct democracy. We are reminded here that politics is "the art of the possible" and, to quote Konrad Adenauer who when confronted with one of his political about turns snorted, (rough translation) "Why should I bother about the nonsense I uttered last year?".

The evidence:

Jason Kitcat jeep@free-project.or
g wrote:

Personally I'm opposed to Direct Democracy... I won't rehearse the
reasons here, see http://www.free-proj
ect.org/writings/ for my article
"Direct Democracy: A valid future?"

Source: CICDD (Direct democracy e-forum) 21/11/03 7:20
"Britain's only Green council administration – in Brighton and Hove – is to take the bold step of trying to stage a referendum to see if there is consent among local people for a council tax rise of 4.75%." After the Con-Libdem government has failed to deliver on its coalition promise of local referenda which can be "instigated" by members of the electorate, it is good to see that a local council will consider handing over an important public matter to the people. Councillors who may be thinking of trying to block the Brighton ballot are advised to recall that opinion surveys of British adults have shown strong support for the wider use of direct democracy such as referendum. The Green party has expressed support for more direct democracy, for example in some of their manifestos. However it is a touch ironic that the Brighton Green council leader a few years ago wrote that he opposes direct democracy. We are reminded here that politics is "the art of the possible" and, to quote Konrad Adenauer who when confronted with one of his political about turns snorted, (rough translation) "Why should I bother about the nonsense I uttered last year?". The evidence: Jason Kitcat jeep@free-project.or g wrote: Personally I'm opposed to Direct Democracy... I won't rehearse the reasons here, see http://www.free-proj ect.org/writings/ for my article "Direct Democracy: A valid future?" Source: CICDD (Direct democracy e-forum) 21/11/03 7:20 IandRgb

6:28pm Thu 23 Jan 14

NickBtn says...

The greens were elected on a protest vote against the mainstream parties. "How bad could it be?" we asked. Well, worse than we thought

Pro green policies haven't arrived. Just lots of anti policies, particularly anti car. Has recycling or pollution gone done under greens? No, both up. Has the day to day running of the council improved? No. Especially when we see again and again rubbish not collected

There is still huge waste at the council. Savings could and should be made. Could be run much more effectively. Any rise should be no more than the average wage rise (at less than one percent). Labour are proposing a rise above this so squeezing families further - something that they say they are against but then do anyway (which is why they lost support, saying one thing, doing another)

So keep any rise to less than wage inflation - lower than one percent

And, to misquote HJarrs, Vote Green - get rubbish!
The greens were elected on a protest vote against the mainstream parties. "How bad could it be?" we asked. Well, worse than we thought Pro green policies haven't arrived. Just lots of anti policies, particularly anti car. Has recycling or pollution gone done under greens? No, both up. Has the day to day running of the council improved? No. Especially when we see again and again rubbish not collected There is still huge waste at the council. Savings could and should be made. Could be run much more effectively. Any rise should be no more than the average wage rise (at less than one percent). Labour are proposing a rise above this so squeezing families further - something that they say they are against but then do anyway (which is why they lost support, saying one thing, doing another) So keep any rise to less than wage inflation - lower than one percent And, to misquote HJarrs, Vote Green - get rubbish! NickBtn

8:41pm Thu 23 Jan 14

The Prophet of Doom says...

Look to History for those who have been judged, and dealt with, by the very people they were supposed to serve...
Look to History for those who have been judged, and dealt with, by the very people they were supposed to serve... The Prophet of Doom

10:36pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Matt@onbeach says...

Well done to the Argus for reporting the view of all parties, however the Greens just keep digging a deeper hole. The Greens are doomed,
I see that the young greens are organising a canvas public support protest in Brighton on Saturday. Despite setting the event up three days ago on Facebook and inviting 849 members. Only 12 so far have pledged their support. Epic fail all round.
Well done to the Argus for reporting the view of all parties, however the Greens just keep digging a deeper hole. The Greens are doomed, I see that the young greens are organising a canvas public support protest in Brighton on Saturday. Despite setting the event up three days ago on Facebook and inviting 849 members. Only 12 so far have pledged their support. Epic fail all round. Matt@onbeach

11:18pm Thu 23 Jan 14

the red head says...

Kitkat, our Eco footprint is terrible, our refuse collections are in chaos, the 20mph zones are unenforced, unworkable and unhelpful to business,nresidents who now see their quiet roads used as rat runs and cyclists riding dangerously with a new found stuff you attitude. Most of your councillors are at odds with each other, tourists regularly flood sites with complaints about the cost of coming to Brighton, specifically parking costs, you squandered community projects such as the despicable destruction of bowling greens (irony!) and have put in place dangerous road schemes, especially along the shoreham road where traffic has to swing out to avoid cycle lanes when turning left, the Lewis road which is either jammed or forcing traffic onto alternative routes making life hell for everyone and the seven dials which was overkill on an overdue project that should have been done for half the cost in half the time. The i360 is not wanted. Your expansion of more and more student housing is not wanted. Your inability to run this council without spending loads of money on advisers and counsellors, ridiculous reports by consultants and on and on, because you and your colleagues are lacking in expertise, lacking in confidence and lacking in sense.
You refuse to apologise, choosing to always always blame others. You set up your ideology as proven idealism when instead all the facts now obvious in this town prove it unworkable for a busy, commercially led community. Say sorry, say you were wrong and then go. Just go.
Kitkat, our Eco footprint is terrible, our refuse collections are in chaos, the 20mph zones are unenforced, unworkable and unhelpful to business,nresidents who now see their quiet roads used as rat runs and cyclists riding dangerously with a new found stuff you attitude. Most of your councillors are at odds with each other, tourists regularly flood sites with complaints about the cost of coming to Brighton, specifically parking costs, you squandered community projects such as the despicable destruction of bowling greens (irony!) and have put in place dangerous road schemes, especially along the shoreham road where traffic has to swing out to avoid cycle lanes when turning left, the Lewis road which is either jammed or forcing traffic onto alternative routes making life hell for everyone and the seven dials which was overkill on an overdue project that should have been done for half the cost in half the time. The i360 is not wanted. Your expansion of more and more student housing is not wanted. Your inability to run this council without spending loads of money on advisers and counsellors, ridiculous reports by consultants and on and on, because you and your colleagues are lacking in expertise, lacking in confidence and lacking in sense. You refuse to apologise, choosing to always always blame others. You set up your ideology as proven idealism when instead all the facts now obvious in this town prove it unworkable for a busy, commercially led community. Say sorry, say you were wrong and then go. Just go. the red head

9:00am Fri 24 Jan 14

Brighton1000 says...

the red head wrote:
Kitkat, our Eco footprint is terrible, our refuse collections are in chaos, the 20mph zones are unenforced, unworkable and unhelpful to business,nresidents who now see their quiet roads used as rat runs and cyclists riding dangerously with a new found stuff you attitude. Most of your councillors are at odds with each other, tourists regularly flood sites with complaints about the cost of coming to Brighton, specifically parking costs, you squandered community projects such as the despicable destruction of bowling greens (irony!) and have put in place dangerous road schemes, especially along the shoreham road where traffic has to swing out to avoid cycle lanes when turning left, the Lewis road which is either jammed or forcing traffic onto alternative routes making life hell for everyone and the seven dials which was overkill on an overdue project that should have been done for half the cost in half the time. The i360 is not wanted. Your expansion of more and more student housing is not wanted. Your inability to run this council without spending loads of money on advisers and counsellors, ridiculous reports by consultants and on and on, because you and your colleagues are lacking in expertise, lacking in confidence and lacking in sense.
You refuse to apologise, choosing to always always blame others. You set up your ideology as proven idealism when instead all the facts now obvious in this town prove it unworkable for a busy, commercially led community. Say sorry, say you were wrong and then go. Just go.
Summed up perfectly well done
[quote][p][bold]the red head[/bold] wrote: Kitkat, our Eco footprint is terrible, our refuse collections are in chaos, the 20mph zones are unenforced, unworkable and unhelpful to business,nresidents who now see their quiet roads used as rat runs and cyclists riding dangerously with a new found stuff you attitude. Most of your councillors are at odds with each other, tourists regularly flood sites with complaints about the cost of coming to Brighton, specifically parking costs, you squandered community projects such as the despicable destruction of bowling greens (irony!) and have put in place dangerous road schemes, especially along the shoreham road where traffic has to swing out to avoid cycle lanes when turning left, the Lewis road which is either jammed or forcing traffic onto alternative routes making life hell for everyone and the seven dials which was overkill on an overdue project that should have been done for half the cost in half the time. The i360 is not wanted. Your expansion of more and more student housing is not wanted. Your inability to run this council without spending loads of money on advisers and counsellors, ridiculous reports by consultants and on and on, because you and your colleagues are lacking in expertise, lacking in confidence and lacking in sense. You refuse to apologise, choosing to always always blame others. You set up your ideology as proven idealism when instead all the facts now obvious in this town prove it unworkable for a busy, commercially led community. Say sorry, say you were wrong and then go. Just go.[/p][/quote]Summed up perfectly well done Brighton1000

10:17am Fri 24 Jan 14

ARealBessie says...

I don't suppose you've ever heard of the Ford's Mr Kitkat? Some of your councillors certainly have.
The Ford's are an elderly couple who served Brighton's poor and vulnerable from Their Kiosk on The Level for 60 years. Children from the local surrounding housing estates could buy an ice-lolly for 60p whilst their Mums and dad's could enjoy a cup of tea for a quid.
Given that you and your fellow councillors are currently claiming to champion the poor, my question to you is this: Where were any of your councillors during the 3 years the Ford's were deliberately driven out of business by the council whilst being bullied, verbally abused, and physically intimidated by skating enthusiasts (who objected to the Ford's desire to see a new skatepark in it's old location - Turned out the skaters and BMX-ers had been briefed by the council long before 'public consultations' that unless the skate park was built in the north, it would never be built at all.) All the Ford's received from their Green councillors was silence.
Funnily enough, considering The Level is the one public recreation space traditionally used by Brighton's poorest and most vulnerable residents, where were any of your councillors during the entire 2 year public consultation period? Your councillors didn't give a d@mn about the views of the poor and vulnerable then. No, The Level didn't see a single councillor (Green or otherwise) until, in Pete West's words, 'the money (was) in the bag!' - at which Boozy Bill made an obligatory appearance for a handy little photo op' to celebrate the HLF victory..
At least £500 000 of HLF funding went on building The Level's new cafe (though I hear the actual spend was substantially higher) now leased to the Velo Cycling chain. Velo serves Eggs Benedict and Smoked Salmon On Toast for over a fiver. Granted the cafe is doing well. Yummy mummys' with money to burn and cyclists have been well catered for. On the other hand, the 'poor and vulnerable' of The Level's community are left to MacDonald's.
I don't suppose you've ever heard of the Ford's Mr Kitkat? Some of your councillors certainly have. The Ford's are an elderly couple who served Brighton's poor and vulnerable from Their Kiosk on The Level for 60 years. Children from the local surrounding housing estates could buy an ice-lolly for 60p whilst their Mums and dad's could enjoy a cup of tea for a quid. Given that you and your fellow councillors are currently claiming to champion the poor, my question to you is this: Where were any of your councillors during the 3 years the Ford's were deliberately driven out of business by the council whilst being bullied, verbally abused, and physically intimidated by skating enthusiasts (who objected to the Ford's desire to see a new skatepark in it's old location - Turned out the skaters and BMX-ers had been briefed by the council long before 'public consultations' that unless the skate park was built in the north, it would never be built at all.) All the Ford's received from their Green councillors was silence. Funnily enough, considering The Level is the one public recreation space traditionally used by Brighton's poorest and most vulnerable residents, where were any of your councillors during the entire 2 year public consultation period? Your councillors didn't give a d@mn about the views of the poor and vulnerable then. No, The Level didn't see a single councillor (Green or otherwise) until, in Pete West's words, 'the money (was) in the bag!' - at which Boozy Bill made an obligatory appearance for a handy little photo op' to celebrate the HLF victory.. At least £500 000 of HLF funding went on building The Level's new cafe (though I hear the actual spend was substantially higher) now leased to the Velo Cycling chain. Velo serves Eggs Benedict and Smoked Salmon On Toast for over a fiver. Granted the cafe is doing well. Yummy mummys' with money to burn and cyclists have been well catered for. On the other hand, the 'poor and vulnerable' of The Level's community are left to MacDonald's. ARealBessie

4:53pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Anna Phylactic says...

Jason Shitkat
Jason Shitkat Anna Phylactic

9:40pm Sat 25 Jan 14

I'm H Jarrs and I can't stand cars! says...

HJ said that if Kitty cat asked to borrow a fiver, he wouldn't lend it as he feared it would end up in the pockets of consultants - legally of course
HJ said that if Kitty cat asked to borrow a fiver, he wouldn't lend it as he feared it would end up in the pockets of consultants - legally of course I'm H Jarrs and I can't stand cars!

3:02pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Richada says...

Cllr Kitcat says......

"Much of the funding for transport projects such as the Lewes Road has come from external sources like the government and the EU. "

Oh it's SO good to know that it isn't just Brighton Council tax payers money going into a deathtrap, bottomless pit.........

..........Hold on a minute.......these "external sources", of course, this money is "magic", we tax payers are not supporting the goverment and EU at all are we?

You really do make it sound so easy blowing millions of pounds of taxpayers hard earned money.
Cllr Kitcat says...... "Much of the funding for transport projects such as the Lewes Road has come from external sources like the government and the EU. " Oh it's SO good to know that it isn't just Brighton Council tax payers money going into a deathtrap, bottomless pit......... ..........Hold on a minute.......these "external sources", of course, this money is "magic", we tax payers are not supporting the goverment and EU at all are we? You really do make it sound so easy blowing millions of pounds of taxpayers hard earned money. Richada

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