Brighton and Hove City Council's budget proposals for next year are announced today (Thursday, December 1).

Follow the proposals with The Argus's live stream video and Tweets from reporter Tim Ridgway using the hashtag #bhbudget.

Latest update:

Labour reaction

Labour councillor for finance, Les Hamilton, said: "“The Greens’ budget reflects more broken promises on top level council pay and a failure to make the organisational changes needed to make the council more efficient.

“Instead they want residents to pay for their failures with a 10.5% council tax increase over three years while refusing the government money on offer to freeze the level of tax to help hard-pressed families and are squeezing £1.3m more from residents and local businesses in parking fee increases.

“We will be scrutinising every aspect of the Greens’ Tory style cuts budget and making alternative proposals to deliver a better outcome for the people of the city.”

Tim Ridgway reports as part of plans to save £35 million over two years the Greens confirm 120 jobs are at risk.

Housing

Bill Randall said the Greens proposed to revive plans to provide housing in Circus Street, after he was asked about the need for more homes in the city.

When asked how the Greens were involving opposition parties when formulating the budget, Jason Kitcat says they have involved all groups "from the start".

Public debate

When asked about the likelihood of changes to the budget, Jason Kitcat states it is likely to change before a final decision is made, but the authority would like to hear from as many people as possible.

"We are providing as much information as possible and we will be taking the budget to residents."

Jason Kitcat says because of uncertainty the administration is opting for a two-year plan for sustainable long-term reorganisation.

Essential services

Bill Randall explains the council proposes bringing different services together to address complex issues such as child poverty. He hopes the Greens can "do a good job for the city".

When asked about service charges councillor Jason Kitcat said there will be some changes but the council wants to protect vital services for vulnerable people. He particularly cited youth services, the community and voluntary sector.

Council leader Bill Randall says the authority has introduced a living wage and the executive took a voluntary pay cut, in response to a question about pay.

Proposed increases

Councillor Jason Kitcat says the increase the Green propose is less than any under recent Labour administration, and less than or equal to any under the Tories.

The authority plans to make £32million in efficiency savings without impacting on staff wages. Most of the reductions will be made through 'natural wastage' and managing vacant posts.

Transparency

Councillor Jason Kitcat states the Green administration believes in openness and transparency. He states the previous Conservative administration planned a 2.5% increase over three years, whereas the Green propose 3.5%.

Council leader Bill Randall announces the authority's plan for "a fair budget for tough times".

)

More news from The Argus

%image(1733816,type="thumb") Like us on Facebook

%image(1828234,type="thumb") Add us to your circles on Google+