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Deadlock over council tax in Brighton and Hove despite six hour meeting
Updated 1:11pm Friday 28th February 2014 in News
Brighton and Hove City councillors were stuck in deadlock over budget plans as they failed to come to an agreement last night.
With all sides in a stalemate after the first round of voting council leaders tried in vain to force through a compromise, which almost sawan agreement on Labour’s budget choice of a 2% rise.
It was a bad night for the Green contingent, which sawall their budget amendments voted down as well as seeing their plans for a 4.75% referendum go down in flames.
The political pantomime was in full swing during the debate with each side laying out their plans while labelling the others a danger to the city’s services and financial future.
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The Conservative Party claimed the first victory of the night after seeing their amendment to allocate £25,000 of unallocated reserves put aside for the city’s Pride event.
Labour claimed an early victory when their amendment to provide £120,000 of interim funding for Able & Willing was carried by 31 votes to 19.
But each side made the most of the nearly three-hour debate to argue the point for their budget plans.
Green party and council leader Jason Kitcat argued that his party’s plan for a nearly 5 per cent increase was the only way to save the city’s adult social care services, which he said would be “in crisis in the next two years”.
Bringing a rousing round of applause from his own members he said: “For me the sign of our community is how we care for the vulnerable, elderly and disabled.”
Conservative leader Geoffrey Theobald said: “This must be the longest running council tax debate in our history.
“We’ve shown as a party how we can freeze council tax and put more back into a number of services. We’re against both the costly increases.
“I won’t allow them to vote for this when I believe the majority want a freeze.”
Labour leader Warren Morgan said the Conservative plan would lead to further cuts down the line while accusing the Greens of pushing for a council tax referendum as a gimmick to put on their election leaflets.
He said: “With the cost involved if you let the referendum go through all that will happen is you will incur costs of £900,000 only to arrive back where we were in the first place and a council tax budget of 2%.
“That money should be spent on what residents need now”
With all sides going back and forth the chance of a quick solution vanished when each party had their initial plan voted down.
And with the time burning away efforts to find a political compromise failed to get the budget through and they will have to try again in a week’s time.
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