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£22m council savings to be revealed in budget today
Final budget plans outlining more than £22 million of savings to Brighton and Hove City Council’s budget are expected to be published today.
After a three-month long consultation the council will reveal its final spending plans for 2014/15.
The Argus understands the final draft budget will have some changes to the initial plans published in November.
Last night sources said it will have two budget options.
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The first will be based on a council tax rise of 2%, the maximum allowed under government rules.
The second will take into account extra money raised by the minority Green administration’s preferred council tax rise of 4.75%.
If agreed by members, this would also need the support of the public in a city wide referendum which will cost £230,000.
Of the £22.5 million of savings identified in November, about £6 million is set to come from the council’s adult social care budget.
- See today's Argus for coverage of our Council Tax Debate
But the document produced today is expected to reveal further details on how the council will fill a £2.5 million budget black hole.
The budget papers will be discussed by the council’s cross-party policy and resources committee on Thursday. The final budget will then be discussed at a meeting of full council at Brighton Town Hall on February 27.
Leader Jason Kitcat said the council “is in a more difficult financial position than ever”.
He added: “With Labour and the Tories committed to cutting national funding for councils to zero, it’s crucial we as a city debate what we are willing to do to support our grandparents, parents and siblingswho need care now and in the future.”
At either stage, opposition councillors could unite and reject the Green council tax plans.
Conservatives remain committed to a freeze while Labour wants a 2% rise.
Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald said: “The Argus referendum results show that there is clearly no public appetite for a council tax hike of any kind, let alone one more than double the rate of inflation.
“We will once again be arguing that the Greens should be accepting the £1.2 million on offer from the Government to deliver a council tax freeze which would save the average resident £70 a year.”
Labour group leader Warren Morgan said: “We will look at these new budget proposals in detail to see what the Greens are protecting and what they propose to cut.Werefuse to pass the cost of Tory cuts on to the city’s hard pressed residents struggling with the rising cost of living.”
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