THIS year’s council spending plans for Brighton and Hove were described as “a polished over-ripe banana” by the opposition.

Council leader Dan Yates outlined the latest draft of the 2019/20 city council budget.

It now includes spending £250,000 on a year-round homeless night shelter and reversing a £50,000 cut to services for women and girls who are victims of violence.

But while Conservative group leader Councillor Tony Janio  praised officers for their work, he criticised the Labour leadership for lacking in imagination.

Speaking at the policy, resources and growth committee, he said: “I think the best thing to say is your officers have polished an over-ripe banana.

“This budget is an over-ripe banana lacking in imagination, it is dripping with no innovative schemes. Just nothing.”

Committee chairman and council leader Daniel Yates said: “It is officers who do most of the hard work to deliver services, ensuring the ongoing services we can afford, thanks to Tory austerity.”

This year’s proposed council tax increase of 2.99 per cent is the highest it can go without triggering a local referendum.

The council’s total spending budget for the year is £761.647 million with Government grants including education and housing.


The biggest budget areas are education, housing, adult social care and children’s services.

A year-round night shelter for rough sleepers and protection of services for victims of domestic violence was announced by the council on February 6.

Previously the night shelter operated during the winter only.

Now £250,000 will keep it going all year.

And a £50,000 cut in services for women and girls affected by violence was withdrawn after an extra £375,000 in savings was found elsewhere in the budget.

There is now just one stage left before the budget goes forward and the city council’s share of the bill for the average band D home increases to £1,595.45.

This increase works out at £46.38 up from last year but does not include the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner and East Sussex Fire and Rescue share of the bill.

Green Councillor Ollie Sykes raised the issues of job losses within the library services and community safety team for a saving of £242,000.

These work out as eight full-time positions in libraries and one in community safety.

He also asked about the £210,000 given to local authorities from central Government to help them prepare for Brexit.

In response director of finance and resources David Kuenssberg  explained this is on hold until the authority has an idea of what Brexit will look like but was for preparation rather than dealing with the impact.

Chief executive Geoff Raw said the council is working with other authorities in the region in preparation and expected more direct support from the Government once the picture is clearer.

The budget goes before the full council when it meets at Hove Town Hall on February 28.