Happy New Year. At the time of writing we have not been informed if we will move tiers while the backlog of trucks to Dover has seen many anxious about food supplies, writes Brighton and Hove City Council leader Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty.

I have been meeting council officials to prepare the city as best we can and pressing for as much clarity as possible from government.

Thanks to the repeat failure of the Conservative government to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, however, we begin this year in a worse situation than we ended the last.

Ministers ignored repeat warnings and haven’t take the pandemic with the deadly seriousness it deserves.

Our city faces tough restrictions once again, with its heavy impact on health and our local economy.

The Argus: Hove seafront on the second day of Tier 4 coronavirus restrictionsHove seafront on the second day of Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions

Cases have risen rapidly as have the quantity of hospital admissions.

The new Covid-19 strain is of considerable concern too because scientists advise it is more easily transmitted.

Many local businesses hit hard by the pandemic will have barely regained losses over the Christmas period.

Unemployment has risen sharply in the city and while I know many of our industries have rallied, the reality is that many in the city will now be worried for their jobs and livelihoods, never mind paying the rent or just making ends meet.

This is why we have kept a specific focus on the extra help many will need in the months ahead and next week will report on this.

As well as pressing government ministers for an increase in the support they provide, I continue to push for jobs and investment and have met with many employers, encouraging them to open here.

READ MORE: New strain of Covid-19 is 'spreading fast' in Brighton warns health chief

There is now a lot of encouraging evidence in reports from the Greater Brighton Economic Board and the Local Government Association that we can grow “green collar jobs” in fields such as home insulation.

This will ensure we keep jobs and livelihoods in our region. Understanding the pivotal role the cultural economy will play in the recovery we are publishing a recovery plan for culture along with event and arts organisations too.

Our city still needs further government support to recover and as the vaccine roll-out will take time, now is not the time to pin our hopes on one action alone.

We know that together we make a difference so it’s never been more important to play our part. Please continue to wash your hands, make space and wear a mask to help keep infections low.

What is also clear is a lot can happen in short space of time.

The Argus: Brighton during the first national coronavirus lockdown Credit: Simon DackBrighton during the first national coronavirus lockdown Credit: Simon Dack

There have been amazing efforts from communities across the city who helped bring Covid-19 rates in the city down drastically in a matter of weeks, saving lives and supporting our NHS.

As a council we have mobilised emergency food help and support, we’ve provided meals for children during these holidays and access to bills and welfare assistance. We continue to stand ready to act.

Of course, we must help drive down the pandemic because we need to be able to keep our city resilient to the other challenges of 2021.

This year we want to ensure our city not only survives but can continue to thrive.

On Brexit as well as helping many EU nationals stay, we have been preparing for all eventualities pressing government for more support and clarity.

On the climate crisis the clock is ticking with now less than nine years to play our part in reducing toxic emissions.

Next week we will publish our action plan from the climate assembly and continue this vital work in, for example, installing solar panels on council buildings, rewilding Waterhall and rolling out a plan to insulate our draughty housing.

Reducing our toxic carbon emissions is also about creating a better city we want to live in – with cleaner air and better-connected neighbourhoods.

READ MORE: Interactive 'heat map' shows areas of Sussex with the highest Covid rates

In February we will set a budget.

This represents an enormous challenge after the combined impact of Brexit, the pandemic, climate crisis and a whole decade of government austerity.

But we are working hard to ensure that despite this our city has the resources to address some of these challenges head on.

Greens won’t stop acting in the best interest of city. We are keeping our focus on what we know we can achieve in the months ahead.

Our city has been thrown one of its greatest challenges in the pandemic.

But I am reminded every day in Brighton and Hove of the strength of our communities and the efforts so many are making to pull our city through.

I am confident we will rise again from the pandemic.

As we start a new year I would ask you all to continue to stay safe, to think of others and help all of us get back to what our city does best.