THE Greens’ proposed 5.9% council tax rise has been branded a “waste of time” by opposition councillors.

The planned hike, which was announced by the party earlier this month, was debated for the first time at Brighton and Hove City Council’s policy and resources committee.

The Greens, led by council leader Jason Kitcat, claim the rise is needed to meet a £25million funding shortfall.

However, opposition councillors slammed the proposal with the Conservatives calling for a tax freeze and Labour a 2% rise.

Councillors at the meeting on Friday voted for officers to begin work on a budget which would enable all options to be incorporated.

Green councillor Ollie Sykes, for Brunswick and Adelaide, told the meeting the rise was “eminently justifiable and reasonable”. He said: “It won’t solve all our problems but it will contribute to meeting the gap and raising the funding base in the future.”

The Conservatives dismissed the plans and called on officers not to waste their time with preparing a budget for the rise.

Councillor Ann Norman, for Withdean ward, said: “It has absolutely no chance of being passed by full council, let alone the city’s residents in a referendum, so we are putting forward an amendment today.

“I canvass in all areas of Brighton and Hove and I believe that residents would expect the council to take that tax freeze grant which is once again on offer.”

Labour, meanwhile, argued that cuts to council funding should not be passed on to residents and said a 2% rise should be aimed for.

Council Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour group, said: “We do not agree that passing on the Conservative government cuts to the people who can least afford it in the city is a solution to this..”

Last year the Green Party proposed a 4.75% increase in council tax. However, following the lack of cross-party support a rise of 1.99% was eventually decided on.