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The Argus Council Tax Debate: Green leader Jason Kitcat responds
12:00pm Friday 7th February 2014 in News
As expected, the council leader came under heavy fire from both opposition leaders.
But the Green leader looked unflustered as he calmly lay out his party’s plans.
Coun Kitcat told the floor that the city’s social care was “in crisis”.
He said: “We have an ageing population. In Brighton and Hove there is going to be a 20% increase of over-85-year-olds in the next five years.
“Meanwhile Government funding is declining.
Inflation has risen. Since 2011 it has been 9.6%.
“But council tax in this city has risen less than 2% in that time.
“Services will degrade and stop all together.”
Addressing last year’s budget consultation, he told the floor 85% of respondents said they wanted to increase or maintain adult social care services.
A further 56%, he said, considered supporting a tax rise.
He said: “I accept council tax isn’t perfect and the referendum isn’t perfect, but that is all we have.”
The majority of questions from the floor were directed at the council leader, with one audience member asking why the local authority was the only one in the country unable to set council tax under the 2% guidelines.
He responded by saying many other leaders had contacted him to say they would like to but had been advised against it from party HQ.
He was also asked to defend the proposed £36 million loan on the i360 seafront attraction.
Telling the floor that the Government-backed loan could not be spend on other services, he said: “If the seafront falls down what is the future of our economy? What are people going to come and see?
“The reality is, if we don’t make these kind of moves there will be no other source of money.”
Concluding his pitch, he addressed the audience.
“So do we say we cannot afford to care – that we must roll back services as Government funding drops away? Or do we say that 61p a week extra is worth it to know that the essential services for the most vulnerable will be protected?
“Because one day the vulnerable will be us.”
- The Argus Council Tax Debate: Green leader Jason Kitcat responds
- The Argus Council Tax Debate: Labour leader Warren Morgan responds
- The Argus Council Tax Debate: Conservative leader Geoffrey Theobald responds
- The Argus Council Tax Debate: Political columnist Tim Ridgway's view
- The Argus Council Tax Debate: The people have their say