UP to 300 jobs could go at Brighton and Hove City Council as the authority attempts to make savings of £26 million in the next financial year.

The city council yesterday published initial proposals about how it would save millions of pounds in one financial year, with seven figure savings proposed for children’s services, adult social care and support for vulnerable people.

Union leaders accused the Green-administration of “fudging” the budget by opting for “more salami slicing”, leaving the deep and difficult cuts and radical service overall until after the elections in May.

But Green finance lead Councillor Ollie Sykes said the party was “putting the city first” in the budget and proposing radical measures.

Councillors now have three months to hammer out a deal about whether to increase council tax by 5.9%, 1.99% or freeze it as they try to balance the books.

Last year the council agreed to make £22 million of savings, although the authority is set to miss those targets by £4.4 million.

The equivalent of 300 full-time posts could go through voluntary redundancy, natural wastage and not filling vacant posts, although Coun Sykes said a council tax rise of 5.9% could save up to 90 of the posts currently set to go.

Among the most significant savings would see £2 million saved in a review of support services for vulnerable people including the homeless, substance abusers and domestic violence victims.

The authority is proposing to make £2.5 million cuts in children’s services including cutting fostering and adoption staff to save £263,000, changes to out of school care including ending the Moulsecoomb summer playscheme and cutting school taxis for children with special educational needs.

Another £1.6 million savings in adult care could include cuts in the number of beds at older people resource centres and a reduced home care service, while £2 million in savings have been outlined in learning disability care.

Radical proposals to remove all on-street pay and display parking meters by 2017 could save £225,000 while a review in pay and display and permit tariffs would save a further £571,000.

The council proposes to start charging for £5 entrance to non-residents to Brighton Museum from June which is anticipated to cut the venue’s current annual visitor numbers of 340,000 by up to 75% but to save the council £200,000.

Staff would be cut from the mayor’s office to save £100,000 a year while the Brighton Centre will get motion sensors in toilets and meeting rooms to save £5,000 a year in electricity.

The removal of the head of housing, the post from which Jugal Sharma was dismissed from this week pending his appeal, would save £100,000.

Owners of empty, unfurnished and uninhabitable properties could also lose council tax discounts which currently cost the council £1.3 million a year.

Coun Sykes said overview and scrutiny panels could be disbanded, changes made to the Older People’s Council, savings made in councillors’ pay and even the potential culling of half the total number of councillors.

The picture for the council is set to get even tougher in future years with the council’s bill set to rise by £58million over five years to £439 million by 2019/20 with rising costs and demand.

But by 2019/20 the council will get just £39 million in Government funding, compared to £103 million in 2014/15.

It will leave a shortfall of £102million. Other funding comes from council tax, business rates, rents and charges.

Ollie Sykes - Green

Councillor Sykes is the lead member on finance: It has been extremely difficult process. It’s going to get more difficult and it has been a difficult process for the past four years.

What we are saying is enough is enough.

Local Government has been cut more than any other area of Government.

Since 2010 local government funding has reduced by 55%, which is more than any other sector, and we think that has to stop.

We are being shafted by central government. We want to be paid for what we are obligated to do by central government.

We would like Labour to work with us and go to Eric Pickles and say we have had enough.

A 5.9% council tax rise is not the solution to the problem we face. It would give us £4.5 million extra to the other parties’ proposition.

But we think it is a reasonable rise when you look at the past four years where council tax has risen by 4% but the retail price index has gone up 16% and under the previous Labour administration when the average council tax rise was about 8.2% peaking at 14.5% when government grants were increasing.

We have put our proposals out as early as possible to allow people to review them and come up with their own ideas.

There is three months until the final budget meeting so this is the beginning of a conversation.

We are putting the city first and standing up for the city and we are standing up for public services.

People can say why not try the Barnet model or an Oldham model, but they are still making £60 million cuts. Their models are just tinkering around the edges.

Warren Morgan - Labour

Councillor Morgan is Labour group leader.

I see very little scope for anything other than a replay of this year’s budget.

We will go for the threshold of 1.99% because we think it’s affordable for residents and which gives a little bit of respite from the Government cuts.

I hope that as they did last year, some of the Greens will come across and support us along so we can set a lawful budget and not hand control of the council to Eric Pickles.

I have signed a letter for the Local Government Association along with members from all parties urging the Government to stop its level of local government cuts.

In the next 12 months, there will be councils elsewhere in the country in serious financial instability.

In the north of England where the worst cuts are being felt there are already high levels of deprivation while in the Tory heartlands there are councils where their grant is actually increasing.

It’s going to be monumentally difficult to balance the books with the cuts scheduled by 2019/20.

Social care costs are rising with an aging population which makes it difficult enough, while we are looking in terms of housing, seafront structure as well.

We have to find new ways of working. There are examples from Labour’s cooperative councils’ innovation network that have done good things.

The Greens have said that the extra money from the council tax rise will pay to keep people in their jobs, will support people on low incomes and for social care provision so they have spent that £4 million about three times already.

They should have investigated changes and reviewed services in a much more thorough way.

Geoffrey Theobald - Conservative

Councillor Theobald is Tory leader: The Greens know full well that a 5.9% council tax rise is not going to happen.

Even if they have a referendum the public aren’t going to vote for it, but they carry on anyway for electoral means because we have two left wing parties in the city vying for the same vote.

Both the Green and Labour party are so concerned not to upset the trade unions they won’t make changes. Look at the fiasco at the health and wellbeing board when they even went against their officers’ advice.

We have been saying for four years now, they have got to look across the whole of council services and look at the way in which other councils across the country are doing things.

Our own auditors say that our social care services are expensive compared to other councils and they could be run better by the voluntary and independent sector.

We should be testing the market, setting up staff-led mutuals to run services, but they are not doing any of that.

It’s frustrating because we are in a position now where we wouldn’t have started from but all we can do is tinker with what we have been presented with.

Alex Knutson - Unison

Mr Knutsen is Unison branch secretary: What we are concerned about this year is the cumulative effect of not just the past few years but reductions going back ten years and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

We have people coming from different departments saying they can’t see how they can keep going. Our members are saying it’s not possible to keep their services running.

These are what people term back room services. There are people collecting money for council tax and charges for council services. They are working unpaid overtime just to keep it going.

The stress issue is starting to deepen much further. People in back room services are saying they just can’t cope any more.

There will be less people to deal with face-to-face enquiries so when people come into reception there will be less people to deal with them or answer the phones.

People are already in a situation where they are being told their jobs are at risk of redundancy but it could be a lot worse than that if it’s a 0% increase.

We are being told between 200 and 250 jobs but a lot of posts are being deleted as they go along so effectively it’s more like 500 jobs.

All three political parties have a responsibility as politicians to say to the Government: “This is what is happening and it’s not acceptable”.

Three or four weeks ago all the staff were being told that this budget was going to be different. We are not going to do salami slicing, going to stop certain services because we cannot afford them.

But a month later and we are back to salami slicing.

It links to next May because it’s not politically acceptable to have big changes in an election year and that’s the cynicism of all three political parties.

Mark Turner - GMB union

Mr Turner is GMB branch secretary: It’s bad but it is not as bad as it could have been.

It’s all a bit of salami slicing and then it’s going to be next year when the difficult decisions are going to be made.

Whoever wins in May, will come in and find a note saying there’s less than nothing.

There are a lot of people that want to go, a lot more than 250 across the 8,000 workers, but are they the right people to cut in the right areas?

There have been meetings all this week in different departments and there are a lot of people who are walking around asking: “Have I got a job or not?”

Depending on what combination of what budget on February 26 it may well be that people not affected now will be affected in February.

They are saying £600,000 from children’s services but there’s no detail about what it will mean or what it means to the public.

For CityClean and CityParks, they are saying that £800,000 will come in a service redesign but how they are going to do that when they haven’t achieved the redesign from last year and the service is still in turmoil over that.

With libraries they are not making any cuts or changes.

If you look around the country and the south east that is one of the areas that local authorities have been cutting back.

We supported the Green council tax rise last year but we can’t support it this year.

Not because it’s more but because half of the Greens won’t be there in May, including their leader.