Green councillors say only a 5.9% council tax rise next spring will allow the council to meet a £25 million “funding shortfall” brought about by Government cuts.
In the last hour, the Brighton and Hove City Council Green leaders are proposing that next year’s budget should see a rise of 5.9% in council tax rates.
Such a rise is above the Government’s 1.99% threshold and would have to be agreed by a council referendum.
The Green party proposed a 4.75% for this year’s budget but opposition councillors rejected the proposal and a 1.99% compromise was eventually reached.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said that a 5.9% increase would be the equivalent to £1.48 extra per week for a band D household and that a council tax reduction scheme would remain in place to support the 17,000 households with the lowest incomes.
Coun Kitcat said that combined Government cuts of £18 million and growing pressure on services means the council faces a budget shortfall of up to £25 million in 2015/16 which he said was forcing councils across the country into a situation where essential services can no longer be protected.
He said: “This coming year we face the biggest cuts to the council budget so far in this Government’s relentless austerity programme.
"Council budgets have unfairly borne the brunt of the government’s cuts.
"Still we are committed to delivering essential public services for our citizen. However to do this we do need to raise council tax to ensure those services can keep going as demand continues to grow while budgets shrink.”
For more reaction on this see tomorrow's Argus.