Residents are paying too much in council tax for too little in return, the leader of a council’s Conservative group has said.

In an exclusive interview with The Argus leading up to the election, Steve Bell said he has been left “speechless” by an erosion of Brighton and Hove City Council services, despite council tax rising by the highest amount.

He said: “We’ve got failing services and the council has been saying to residents ‘You are going to have the highest increase in council tax and, for that, we will reduce your services’.

“It’s not often I’m speechless, but this is a constant erosion of services and, for all the money residents pay, people see a reduction in services, not an increase.”


Cllr Bell also criticised the Greens and Labour, claiming that both parties have been working “hand in hand” on a range of issues over the years.

He said: “It’s been a virtual coalition between Labour and the Greens, so in some respects, Labour has to put their hand up and say they have supported a lot of the ideology which has come out of the council.

“People need to look behind the scenes and see that the Greens have been working hand in hand with Labour for the majority of the decision-making.”

Cllr Bell said that parts of the city, such as Woodingdean - where he is a councillor, are often neglected by the council and said that the Conservatives have been working hard to ensure those areas get the support and services they need, including the resurfacing of the roads and renovation of local parks.

He said: “It’s been a hard fight but my fellow Conservative councillor Dee Simson and myself have been successful in ensuring the extremities get the services they need. We have been able to achieve quite a lot locally.”


Cllr Bell said that, despite the bleak national picture for the Conservatives, “our vote isn’t moving away”.

He said: “It’s more positive than it was for us in 2019. Whether that converts into winning seats and having people re-elected, you can never know.”

Voters will go to the polls across Brighton and Hove on Thursday to elect 54 councillors for the next four years.