The debate continues on our social care referendum proposal.

The council has saved almost £30 million in efficiency programmes in the last few years and has millions more planned. But it needs to save another £100 million over the next four years - more than any efficiencies can possibly cover.

Westminster cuts can no longer be absorbed, so we are seeking a democratic opinion from local residents.

Social care makes up a third of the spending that we have control over, so we have little option but to look at ways of saving money there. Not doing so would mean relatively small but well-used services such as libraries, children’s centres and parks would be decimated if not completely closed by government cuts.


There are of course other areas of council spending, but there are often restrictions on how money can be spent.

For example parking charges in the city have been frozen or reduced since 2012, and we plan to do the same again next year.

Parking income has to be spent on transport spending, and in Brighton and Hove this income pays for free bus passes for older and disabled people.

Much of the funding for transport projects such as the Lewes Road has come from external sources like the government and the EU.

And our role in the i360 tower project, if agreed, would be as the middle-man for a government loan, which would earn an extra £1 million a year to mitigate government cuts.

The pressures on our public services are greater than ever before.

Times are tough for many residents too.

But as both the Conservatives and Labour are committed to the same spending cuts until 2019, we must prepare.

So the time is right to ask you, the residents of Brighton and Hove, what you think is the right approach.

So much is at stake and so much has changed in recent years that we should let the people decide.