THE city’s council tax take is consumed entirely by spending on social services leaving the budget for 700 other services to be found from business rates and dwindling central government grant money, councillors have warned.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s lead for finance, Councillor Les Hamilton, told The Argus that the gross expenditure on social care is now greater than the council tax take.

The news comes after council leader Councillor Warren Morgan said he was writing to the Secretary of State for Local Government to say the city is at “breaking point” under the burden of responsibilities for which it is granted no funds.

And new analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA) warns that nationwide, for every £1 of council tax collected in 2019/20, as much as 56p could be spent on caring for the elderly, vulnerable adults and children - up from 41p in 2010/11.

Cllr Hamilton said: “We’re given responsibilities and initially they [central government] grant us some money but then it doesn’t appear again and they say it’s gone into the grant.”

He gave the £11 million cost of pensioners’ free bus passes as a typical example of a service the council is now required to provide from its own funds, at the behest of Westminster.

He said the Revenue Support Grant from central government had fallen from approximately £130 million in 2010 to around £21 million today.

And although this shortfall has been partly made up by allowing the council to retain 50 per cent of its business rate take, in Brighton and Hove that only brings the combined figure to around £70 million.

Meanwhile, the LGA has warned the money local government has to provide vital day-to-day local services is running out fast.

And Government plans to allow councils to keep all of business rates income by the end of the decade are now in doubt as a result of the fact that the Local Government Finance Bill, which was passing through parliament before the election, was not reintroduced in the Queen’s Speech.