THE leader of the city council has promised to invest in protecting the community’s most vulnerable as plans to increase council tax by almost six per cent were announced.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan has outlined budget proposals for the next financial year, which would see investment of about £12.8 million in priority services, including adult and children’s social care.

The budget plans include providing an extra £6 million for adult social care, an additional £3 million for children’s social care services, £156,000 to tackle criminal exploitation of people affected by “county lines” drug dealing and £165,000 extra funding to support rough sleepers.

Speaking to The Argus this afternoon, Councillor Morgan said: “We have increased council tax by the maximum amount over recent years because we are having funding cut by the Government.

“They are cutting £100 million out of our budget over the course of ten years – that is accumulatively.

“We have increasing social care costs, going up by more than three per cent a year, with more people needing acute care and services at home.

“It takes far more than we bring in in council tax revenue to pay for those services.

“We are not about to go bankrupt but we are facing this pressure in the same way as councils around the country.

“I am very pleased that we are not making major cuts in any of our services.

“While we are taking several million pounds out of the budget because of the reduction in Government funding, there shouldn’t be a huge difference that people see.”

The Labour council intends to invest an extra £400,000 to support vulnerable people affected by welfare reforms and will also aim to focus on supporting young people with mental health issues.

The budget plans include more than £95 million of funding allocated for new and affordable housing schemes and ongoing projects, investment in parks and keeping the streets clean with more Big Belly bins and replacing the council’s website as part of a digital improvements scheme.

The cost of all services in the current budget for this year is £756 million, of which council tax funds only 17 per cent.

The proposed increase of 5.99 per cent, which includes the three per cent adult social care precept, would mean the average band D council tax would rise by £87.57 to £1,549.04 in the next financial year.

Councillors will debate the budget proposals during a meeting at Hove Town Hall next Thursday.