2019: Beginning The Campaign For A Labour Majority For Brighton and Hove

The fight starts now for a Labour majority in Brighton and Hove at the next local elections in May 2019. We need six more councillors for a majority, ending more than a decade and a half of no overall control.

We’ve achieved a huge amount since winning minority control in 2015, despite savage Conservative Government cuts to our funding, and two opposition parties on the council who have wasted no opportunity to delay or frustrate the positive things we are trying to achieve for our city.

https://warrenmorgan.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/10×10-our-half-term-report/

So why do we need that majority, and what would we do with it?

Our goal is to build the homes Brighton and Hove needs – affordable homes, more temporary accommodation to tackle homelessness, excellent quality council houses, homes that people need for their families, homes that businesses need for their workers. We’ll push further on our work to make the private rented sector better for tenants and better for Brighton and Hove.

We want to go further and faster on building a city economy – and city region economy – that benefits everyone. More jobs that are secure, that pay well and that give people the security they need for their families. We believe Brighton and Hove belongs in Europe, with thriving universities, creative digital companies and an outward-looking visitor economy.

We want to build a city that cares for residents from their early years through to a healthy and active later life. Social care and good physical and mental is at the heart of what we do. There is no greater challenge – and no bigger opportunity – to lead on making a fundamental difference to the lives of ordinary people here in Brighton and Hove.

We have to stand up for our city to Government, for fairer funding for the services and infrastructure we need, for the business rates local businesses pay but which the Treasury takes, and for the ability to build the homes we need. At the same time we need to innovate in finding ways to pay for the basic services our families and communities rely on, working in partnership with the public sector and the voluntary sector at every step.

We need to be a powerful voice for the infrastructure we need, from housing to health, from rail to ultra-fast broadband. The people of Brighton and Hove need us to speak up for them regionally, nationally and internationally – we can’t continue to lose out because we’ve no clear leadership and a Tory group with near-parity.

Stronger communities are, we believe, the answer to the biggest challenges we face. With so many pressures seeking to divide us, we have to lead in our neighbourhoods, across generations, against racism, homophobia, transphobia and any forces that push our communities apart. Together we can achieve more. United we can face down bigotry and prejudice in all its forms.

These are difficult times. Our challenges are great and the future is uncertain. Our job is to give people hope, hope that their home city can not only weather the storm but build a Brighton and Hove that delivers excellent basic services, that cares for and improves the lives of everyone that lives here, and grows our economy for the benefit of the many, not the few.

Join us. In the next few months we will start building our team of 54 candidates to win that majority and take Brighton and Hove forward. We’ll be recruiting a full-time campaign organiser too. If you are not already a Labour member, join here.

Don’t let the Tories – just two seats behind us on the council – hold us back. Don’t let the Conservatives win just because it is “their turn”.

We believe in a fairer, co-operative and progressive vision for our unique and exciting city, a Labour vision. If you want to be part of the next stage in our journey, then join us, talk to us, stand with us.

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What We Were Told, And What Is The Truth

We were told that leaving Europe would mean £350 million extra a week for the NHS. We now know that this won’t happen.

We were told that 100,000 overseas students outstayed their visas. We now know this wasn’t true.

We were told that non-UK EU residents needed to run our agriculture and public services would stay. Tens of thousands are leaving.

We were told that London’s place as a world financial centre was secure. Now we know tens of thousands of jobs will move to Frankfurt.

We were told that cut loose from Brussels, our economy would flourish. It is already stagnating.

We were told families would not be split up. Now people are being told to go, then told it was a mistake.

We were told that anyone asking for the “divorce payment” of £60-£100 billion to leave the EU could “go whistle”. Now we are told we will have to pay up.

We’ve been misled. We’ve been fooled. We’ve been conned. We have been lied to. I’m sick of it.

We shouldn’t be spending up to £100 billion to leave the EU, meaning jobs are lost, industry suffers, skilled staff disappear, families are broken up.

If there is £60 to £100 billion available in the Treasury for that, I want it spent instead on proper funding for local council services, replacing the £100 million a year my council will have lost by the end of the decade.

I want it spent on a proper system of social care for our ageing population, on not just adequate but world-class mental health care. I want that £350 million extra a week for the NHS.

I want money spent on decent and affordable new homes so that people have somewhere to live and businesses can get the staff they need, where they need them.

I want investment in our universities, to promote research and development into the medical, biomedical and technological steps forward that contribute to science and learning, innovation and healthcare, local and national economic wellbeing.

I want the machinery of government focused on making this country a better place to live and do business, not on disentangling 40 years of international co-operation.

We are going ahead with an extraordinary act of national self-harm, costing us tens of billions in the short term, hundreds of billions in the long term. It will put our social and economic future at grave risk. We are not “taking back control”, we’re taking our hands off the wheel and closing our eyes to what’s ahead. It is the most important and urgent issue of our time.

We should at the very least have a second referendum based on the facts, and on the deal struck with the EU, if one is at all.

Better still, our leaders should admit we were misled, and abandon Brexit before further irreparable damage to Britain is done.

Tony Bloom and Chris Hughton: Freedom of Brighton and Hove

FreedomMr Mayor, Brighton and Hove Albion is part of this city’s history, it is part of the fabric of this place, it is so important to so many in this place as the sea of blue and white that washed over Hove Lawns last Sunday showed to the world.

It is four years since this council awarded Dick Knight the Freedom of the City in recognition of his role in saving Brighton and Hove Albion.

Twenty years ago, just as this council was coming into existence, so our football club teetered on the edge of going out of existence. A club founded in 1901, a club that was the first body to unite our two towns, a club my family has supported for almost a century.

A club that is valued so highly by so many, across generations, across every part of our community. The Albion, as we saw on the last day at the Goldstone, in the demonstrations for a new stadium, in the fans on the pitch a month ago, and in the thousands on the seafront at the weekend, transcends mere fixtures and statistics. It is an emotion which binds us.

Today Brighton and Hove Albion has once again joined the top flight of English football, is in the Premier League for the first time, and in just three months will emerge on to the global sporting stage. That is down to the club and the team led by the two men we, on behalf of the people of the City of Brighton and Hove, meet to honour today.

It is fitting that it is exactly eight years ago today that Mr Tony Bloom took over as Chairman of Brighton and Hove Albion. The gratitude of tens of thousands of Brighton and Hove Albion fans goes to him, a man whose family is steeped in the club, a man whose support of the club has been unparalleled not just in financial terms, but in heart and soul as well.

He is that rare thing in football, an owner and investor who is also a loyal, diehard, lifelong fan. No-one can doubt, seeing him celebrate goals, victories and promotion home and away, not just from the directors box but from the terraces alongside the travelling supporters, just what the club means to him. The millions he has invested in the team will now reap the rewards, for the club, for the fans and for this city.

Promotion, profile, pride. Premier League.

After almost winning promotion to the Premier League at the first few attempts following the move to the fantastic American Express Community Stadium, in December 2014 it seemed our opportunity had slipped away and relegation threatened.

The appointment of Mr Chris Hughton, a football professional of the highest calibre, with an illustrious career as a player at Spurs and for the Republic of Ireland, and as a manager at Newcastle behind him, heralded a return to success.

Under his inspired leadership the Albion have won an astonishing 50% of their games, coming agonisingly close to promotion last season, but this year making it certain with three games to spare.

For me no moment this season summed up what he inspires in his players more than the team lifting Antony Knockaerts shirt aloft following the death of his father. His calm, confident and determined leadership is an inspiration to all in sport and beyond.

His contribution to the sport and success at every level has won him a long list of awards. In March Football’s “Black List” recognised his achievements in coaching, a week after he won coach of the year at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards. He has been awarded Championship Manager of the Month nine times, more than any other manager.

He was League Managers Association Manager of the Year in 2010 and 2016. He holds two FA Cup winners medals, a UEFA cup winners medal, and two Championship promotion honours.

It is my honour as Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, and my pleasure as a lifelong Albion fan, to propose that Tony Bloom and Chris Hughton are awarded the Freedom of the City of Brighton and Hove today.

In making this award we recognise the achievement of everyone associated with the club, from the board to the backroom staff, the players and coaches, the sponsors and Albion In The Community, and of course the fans who stuck with the team, who fought for survival and the new home at Falmer that Tony Bloom and Martin Perry delivered.

Together, we are Brighton and Hove Albion, and we are on our way to the Premier League.

On Sunday tens of thousands cheered and applauded Tony Bloom, Chris Hughton and the team from one side of the city to the other, on a day none of us who were there will forget.

Today Mr Mayor I move that we honour the Albion’s Premier League success by awarding these leaders, these heroes of our football club, the Freedom of the City of Brighton and Hove.

10×10: our half-term report

ManifestoFrontTwo years ago this week I was elected to lead the city council, alongside an excellent team of councillors who are working hard like me to make a difference.

We promised “a council that works for you”, and we’ve worked quietly and persistently to get the basics right, to do what you expect from your council.

This week new communal bins are appearing on our streets, joining the smart compactor bins introduced last year. Garden waste brown bins have been hugely popular. Soon new wheeled recycling bins, already well received in Portslade and Hangleton, will arrive on doorsteps to further boost our recycling rates.

We are investing £7m in better street lighting. We are halfway to building 500 new council homes, and work on 1000 affordable homes begins soon.

We’ve protected our Royal Pavilion from cuts and will save the Madeira Terraces. Our libraries are all still open and for longer hours. Our family of schools continues to improve.

We are protecting the vulnerable in the city, with a new ethical care charter, with millions more being spent on care for children, older people, people with disabilities and those tackling chronic health issues.

We’ve stopped cuts to domestic violence services. We’ve made tackling mental health stigma and rough sleeping top priorities. We’ve invested in our credit union, and last week abolished child funeral charges and council tax charges for care leavers.

Our city economy has to benefit everyone, not just a few. Last month I launched the Southern Accelerator to win investment in infrastructure. We got our target of 1000 new apprenticeships two years early. We are drawing in billions of pounds of investment into our seafront and elsewhere. We have made significant  improvements to our planning service.

Despite the huge challenges of cuts to our funding, the spiraling costs of social care, and Brexit, we are delivering. Our auditors say we are delivering good value for money, and the recent Local Government Association review said that firm foundations are in place so we can now  progress quickly.

These are just some of the 100 positive things we’ve achieved in two years, and we will be listing them in batches of ten over the next two weeks on Facebook, Twitter and our website.


We won’t let up in the next two, there is much more to do. Soon we will announce new plans for our third year in office. I hope that after that time you will put your trust in us again to keep getting the basics right, protecting the vulnerable and growing our economy for everyone.

_________________________________________________________________

10×10: Here are our one hundred achievements:

First 10

  1. Building 57 council homes at Kite Place https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-council-housing-scheme-takes-shape
  2. Rolling out wheeled bin recycling https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/cash-wheelie-bins-will-increase-recycling
  3. New life for Shelter Hall https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/parking-and-travel/roads-and-highways/rebuilding-former-west-street-shelter-hall
  4. Setting 1000 apprenticeships challenge http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/jobs/apprenticeships/1000-apprenticeships
  5. New trust for Royal Pavilion & Museums https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council-moves-secure-long-term-future-museums
  6. Investing in “smart” street lighting https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/future-bright-super-smart-street-lighting
  7. New Brighton and Hove Communities fund https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/a-proposed-new-way-forward-trust-funds-managed-council
  8. Fighting HIV http://gscene.com/news/city-to-join-initiative-to-eradicate-hiv-in-brighton-hove-by-2030/
  9. Improving the Planning service https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/planning-services-steps-improve-performance-working
  10. Campaigning to help rough sleepers https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/make-change-count

 

Second 10

  1. Rescue plan for Madeira Terraces https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/people-power-called-upon-help-save-madeira-terraces
  2. Care Leavers Trust Fund agreed https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000883/M00006141/AI00052207/$BrightonandHoveChildrensCommitteeSavingsandTrustFundforCICmay2016.docA.ps.pdf
  3. Signing up to the Ethical Care Charter http://www.brightonhovelabour.com/new_contract_will_deliver_labour_s_ethical_home_care_pledge
  4. Rent Smart partnership for private tenants http://www.brightonhovelabour.com/rentsmart_helping_private_rented_sector_tenants http://rentsmartbrightonhove.org/
  5. Council’s value for money rating improves https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000699/M00006102/AI00053286/$20160926095149_009706_0039542_AuditStandardscoversheetSept.docxA.ps.pdf
  6. Litter patrols begin https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/drop-litter-pick-a-fine-0
  7. Credit union strengthened https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/bhcc-seeks-strengthen-citys-credit-union-services
  8. Libraries hours extended https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/libraries-open-extra-thanks-pioneering-out-hours-scheme
  9. Child burial fees removed http://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/child-burial-charges-scrapped-in-brighton-and-hove-1-7947735
  10. Big Conversation on city parks https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/big-thanks-3500-responding-parks-survey

 

Third 10

  1. Freedom of the City for Bloom and Hughton https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgconvert2pdf.aspx?id=109142 http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2017/04/17/council-leader-proposes-honouring-premier-league-brighton-and-hove-albion-bosses-with-freedom-of-the-city/
  2. Affordable homes joint venture delivers 1000 homes https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-project-build-affordable-housing-city-agreed
  3. New communal bins https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-bins-keep-brighton-and-hove-tidy
  4. City in top 30 for primary schools https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city%E2%80%99s-primary-pupils-top-30-nationally-key-stage-2
  5. Preston Park velodrome restored https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/preston-park-velodrome-reopened
  6. Fairness Commission work completed https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/fairness-commission-announces-their-recommendations-city
  7. City to gain new “Lane” http://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/work-begins-on-new-lane-in-brighton-1-7808245
  8. Time to Change pledge signed https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/pledgewall/organisations/brighton-hove-city-council
  9. £12m boost for Waterfront arena project https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/video-%C2%A312m-govt-funding-towards-brighton-arena-0
  10. Rough Sleeping Strategy agreed https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/housing/general-housing/rough-sleeping-strategy

 

Fourth 10

  1. City Plan agreed https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/major-milestone-citys-planning-blueprint
  2. Action to Poverty Proof the School Day https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000883/M00006145/AI00055223/$20170201142233_010022_0042571_PovertyProofingtheSchoolDayupdatedraftforcommittee15January.docxA.ps.pdf
  3. National tourism event Explore GB hosted https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/best-british-showcased-brighton-hove
  4. Care leavers to be exempted from council tax https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000912/M00006702/AI00056866/$20170425101629_011577_0043649_CommitteeReportTemplate100614newsavedformat.docxA.ps.pdf
  5. Motor Neurone Disease Charter signed http://www.mndassociation.org/news-and-events/latest-news/success-two-more-councils-adopt-the-mnd-charter/
  6. Council begins commercial waste collection http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/environment/recycling-rubbish-and-street-cleaning/commercial-recycling-and-rubbish
  7. Amnesty returns 6 homes https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/tenancy-amnesty-returns-six-homes
  8. Office move saves £2m https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/%C2%A32-million-saving-a-year-hove-town-hall-officially-opens
  9. Fuel poverty tackled https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city-gets-top-marks-tackling-fuel-poverty
  10. Support services shared to save money: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/four-councils-sharing-legal-services-save-%C2%A31-million-a-year

 

Fifth 10

  1. 45 extra care flats opening in July https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/housing/council-housing/brooke-mead-extra-care-housing-scheme-0
  2. Garden waste collection service introduced https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/garden-waste-scheme-grows
  3. £18m improvement plan for Pavilion Estate https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/contractors-appointment-kick-starts-first-phase-royal-pavilion-estate-project
  4. Pilot for reducing holiday costs https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-term-dates-announced-school-year-2017-2018
  5. Direction of travel for adult social care agreed https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000826/M00006003/AI00047597/$20151009095054_007754_0033367_HWBReportTemplate261114.docA.ps.pdf https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000826/M00006003/AI00047597/$20151009095055_007915_0033368_AdultSocialCareJourney.pdfA.ps.pdf
  6. Residents to get online access to services https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council-invests-digital-services-put-customer-first
  7. “Southern accelerator” for city region http://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/politics/greater-brighton-should-be-a-powerhouse-for-the-south-1-7914766/amp
  8. Tackling anti-social behaviour https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/public-space-protection-orders-come-force
  9. Zip wire given the go ahead https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/brighton%E2%80%99s-300-metre-zip-wire-approved
  10. Parking meters go contactless https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/contactless-pay-and-display-machines-just-ticket-drivers

 

Sixth 10

  1. New Volunteering Policy and Action Plan https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000885/M00006263/AI00054532/$20161116111634_009892_0040530_PowerofVolunteeringBHCCActionPlancommiteereport.docxA.ps.pdf
  2. Meeting the challenge of social care costs https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000117/M00006132/AI00055568/$20170215114506_011422_0042857_Generlafundreport.docx.pdf4
  3. Seafront swimming pool on the way https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/yet-another-big-investment-city%E2%80%99s-billion-pound-beachfront
  4. Enforcement action taken against HMOs https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-licensing-could-cut-impact-shared-and-student-homes
  5. LGBT schools support rated best in the country: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council%E2%80%99s-lgbt-support-schools-rated-among-best-country
  6. Transport team awarded top prize https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/brighton-hove-wins-top-national-transport-award
  7. Helping child refugees http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14953821.Brighton_and_Hove_offers_new_life_to_65_young_refugees_fleeing_homeland_violence/
  8. “Crime not to care” campaign is great success https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/your-street-set-become-a-crime-scene
  9. Creating new council temporary accommodation https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000884/M00006162/AI00054328/$20170110095512_010072_0041279_Nov2016ReviewoffutureoptionsforStonehurstCourtv2.docxA.ps.pdf
  10. Planning application in for Preston Barracks http://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/preston-barracks-development-plans-submitted-to-city-council-1-7841314

 

Seventh 10

  1. 93% of city schools now good or outstanding https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city%E2%80%99s-ofsted-success-%E2%80%98a-fantastic-achievement%E2%80%99
  2. Tourists give high rating to city https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/report-shows-visitors-are-happy-brighton-hove
  3. Fairer housing allocation process https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/changing-way-council-homes-are-allocated
  4. Big Belly Bins introduced https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council%E2%80%99s-bigbelly-bins-able-devour-more-waste
  5. Support for British Sign Language Charter https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000885/M00006265/AI00055696/$20170303090257_011360_0043168_BHCCBSLCharterCommitteeReportMarch2017FINAL.docxA.ps.pdf
  6. Textile recycling boosts communities https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/community-groups-benefit-new-textile-recycling-scheme
  7. Lead Member for Mental Health is first for council http://www.brightonhovelabour.com/improving_our_efforts_to_suicide_prevention
  8. Civic Centre vision for Brighton Town Hall https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/future-brighton-town-hall
  9. Rail South proposal to help commuters http://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/opinion/warren-morgan-my-plan-for-a-new-body-to-run-our-rail-services-1-7792962
  10. Air quality improves https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city%E2%80%99s-air-quality-improving

 

Eighth 10

  1. £2.5m funding for homelessness prevention https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/bid-success-boost-homeless-prevention-and-rough-sleeping-work
  2. Recycling up https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city-waste-services-improving-residents-and-businesses
  3. CAMHS plan agreed https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgconvert2pdf.aspx?id=102539
  4. Supporting carers https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000826/M00006147/AI00052527/$20160704103201_009286_0038497_SupportingCarersCarersRapidNeedsAssessmentCarersStrategyandCarersC.docA.ps.pdf
  5. Funding for Saltdean library also helps Lido project https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/library-funding-could-boost-saltdean-lido-restoration
  6. Domestic Violence funding protected https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000117/M00006132/AI00055568/$20170215114508_010289_0042863_Appendix6CombinedISFPSPRG090217.docx.pdf75
  7. Building blocks in place says LGA review https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/outside-view-improving-services
  8. Think tank for the city http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2016/10/16/think-tank-to-look-for-ways-to-bring-about-better-brighton-and-hove/
  9. Bike Share arriving soon https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/brighton-hoves-new-bike-share-scheme-track-summer
  10. Improving procurement https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000117/M00006132/AI00055568/$20170215114508_010289_0042863_Appendix6CombinedISFPSPRG090217.docx.pdf84

 

 

Ninth 10

  1. City-wide council homes programme shortlisted for award https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/New%20Homes%20for%20Neighbourhoods%20Update%20March%202017.pdf
  2. New street sweepers https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/clean-green-sweeping-machines-hit-citys-streets https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/clean-sweep-recycling
  3. Patient transport back on track http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2016/11/01/patient-transport-contractor-to-lose-60m-contract/
  4. Free wifi https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-free-city-centre-wi-fi-network
  5. More in-house fostering saves £350k in agency placements https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000912/M00006399/AI00054494/$20161128145904_009882_0040733_PRGQ2201617progressupdateCorporateKeyPerformanceIndicatorsappendix.pdfA.ps.pdf22 https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/fostering-%E2%80%93-it-can-be-great-your-own-children-well
  6. Most parking charges frozen https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/parking-charges-mostly-frozen-next-year
  7. Fortnightly residents e-newsletter begins https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/council-and-democracy/news/your-brighton-hove-email-newsletter
  8. Park improvements https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/work-set-start-%C2%A353000-revamp-brighton-park https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/all-smiles-playground-re-opens
  9. I am Whole mental health campaign supported https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/iamwhole
  10. Free swimming for under 16s http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14494640.Free_swimming_for_under_16s_in_Brighton_and_Hove_to_continue/ http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/sports-and-activity/free-swimming

 

Tenth 10

  1. Restoring Stanmer Park https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/stanmer-park-restoration
  2. SEN nurseries are outstanding https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council%E2%80%99s-sen-nurseries-maintain-%E2%80%98outstanding%E2%80%99-ofsted-ratings
  3. Food poverty action plan wins award http://bhcommunityworks.org.uk/sector-star-winners/ https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000826/M00006148/AI00053166/$20160909164754_009485_0039198_FINALFoodPovertyActionPlan2015.pdfA.ps.pdf
  4. “Let’s get you home” campaign supported https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000826/M00006146/AI00050663/$BCFapp3.pptxA.ps.pdf
  5. £1 billion seafront investment plan https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000912/M00006398/AI00053700/$20160930112107_009680_0039629_BHSIPFinalVersionSept2016.pdfA.ps.pdf
  6. Action for refugees http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-34981828 https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council-seeking-landlords-and-coordinating-help-refugees-syria
  7. King Alfred given go-ahead https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council-chooses-crest-nicholson-redevelop-king-alfred-site
  8. Support for social prescribing and befriending http://impact-initiatives.org.uk/contact-point-befriending-launched-tackle-isolation-brighton-hove/
  9. Smart tech to manage city traffic flow https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000823/M00005632/AI00050296/$Enc.%203%20for%20201617%20Local%20Transport%20Plan%20Capital%20Programme_v1.docxA.ps.pdf
  10. £2m management savings https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000117/M00006132/AI00055568/$20170215114506_011422_0042857_Generlafundreport.docx.pdf54

 

Councils cannot take another five years of Conservative Government

Town HallMuch will be written about this coming General Election, with Theresa May keen to make it as much about Brexit as possible. Whatever the outcome, she won’t get it all her own way; most people vote in General Elections on issues much closer to home, on prospects for them, their family and community.

It is perhaps a paradox that many local elections become a verdict on national government, whilst many of the factors that can determine peoples votes in a General Election are in fact controlled by councils. Local services and their future could, indeed should, be a major factor in this election.

Council and mayoral elections in May should not just be a warm-up act for the main attraction in June. Those who run town halls, city halls and devolved authorities still wield much more power than individual MPs, despite the enormous cuts and additional pressure they face.

Since the Conservatives first took power in 2010, alongside the Liberal Democrats (who should hang their heads in shame for their betrayal of local government), councils have faced cuts of between 30-40% in their funding, as the Revenue Support Grant has been steadily reduced. For my own council this will mean around a hundred million pounds a year less in 2020 that we had in 2010. Meanwhile the range of costs and responsibilities we have has been steadily added to by central Government, for example free bus travel for older people which costs us £10 million a year.

Schools funding is also being cut, with the Government hoping that blame will fall on councils, through whom the money is passported, rather than Whitehall. Housing for many councils is another challenge, but again any extra cash is funneled through developers not councils who can target need, not maximize profit.

Planning decisions, whilst nominally left in the hands of quasi-judicial planning committees, are now effectively in the hands of central Government through planning inspectors and the National Planning Policy Framework. Decisions are made in favour of the developers, but councils get the blame when new housing overtakes green fields.

Meanwhile the costs of social care are increasing rapidly, with an ageing population living longer with acute health needs. The Conservatives will talk of the billions more they have put into care, but in truth this is money generated by giving councils no option but to increase council tax bills by up to 5% a year. Here in Brighton and Hove, with a younger than average population, our social care bill far outstrips what we raise through council tax. Once again, the blame falls on town halls not Whitehall, as taxes go up but services shrink.

I fear that another five years of Government will be bleak for local Government. Increasingly the ability of local people to influence decisions will reduce further, away from the supposed ideal of “localism” championed by David Cameron (remember him). If Brexit does immense damage to the national economy, the impacts will be felt locally, and costs will be passed down. We could see a drift to the American model, where small councils meet infrequently to hand out private sector contracts where accountability is far removed from the resident.

The people responsible for making sure the bins are emptied and streets cleaned, for making sure restaurants don’t poison you and that buildings are safe, for running the mortuary and the registry office, should not be forgotten in this election. If your local council services are not on your mind when you vote in May and again in June, then they should be.

The Conservative Government’s Budget will not help Brighton and Hove

BudgetThe Conservative Government’s national insurance increase on the self-employed will hit up to 20% of the city’s workforce, many of whom are already affected by benefit reductions.

The money for social care is nowhere near enough to address the crisis, and as yet we don’t know where it is coming from. On past experience it will be from the budgets of local councils already slashed by 20% in a year, or already announced money brought forward.

After big cuts to our state schools, new free schools and grammars got hundreds of millions. There was nothing for housing, nothing for rail infrastructure, nothing substantial for the NHS and nothing on the impact of Brexit. This Budget won’t help our council, our small businesses or our public services in Brighton and Hove.

Faced with huge Budget challenges, we are delivering for Brighton and Hove

received_10154080748042534.jpegCan I begin my speech today proposing the 2017/18 Budget by expressing thanks, on behalf of myself as Leader of the Council, on behalf of the Administration, and I hope every elected member here, to all of the officers and staff of Brighton and Hove City Council for their part in bringing it before us today and delivering it.

From the Chief Executive and the Executive Leadership Team, to Department Heads and front-line staff, they have met the challenge of putting together the most difficult and challenging Budget in this council’s history. They have put in place savings of over £20 million through innovation and hard work, through modernisation and service redesign, through stepping up and doing more. Some staff, as is inevitable with savings of this magnitude, are facing up to a future outside of the council.

None of this Budget, none of what this council does every day, would be possible without our officers and staff, from the Executive Director bearing huge legal responsibility, to the Cityclean operative making sure our streets are cleared and our refuse collected. So before we begin our debate today I’d ask all members to join me in showing our appreciation for what staff do.

It is one of the three key priorities of this Administration to get the basics right within the scope of our reducing resources. That means investment, innovation, savings, new partnerships, service redesign – finding ways to do more, to do better with less. If we are asking our residents to pay more in council tax, we have to meet this challenge, not shy away from it.

We are investing in the basic services people use everyday. New wheeled recycling bins, replacement communal bins, new Big Belly compactor bins to make our streets cleaner. New parking meters with card and contactless payment to give people even more easy parking payment options. Fines for litterers and fly-tippers to crack down on those who pollute our public spaces and expect others to pick up the cost as well as the mess.

Commercial waste collections, garden waste collections and vehicle servicing are bringing in new revenue to maintain and improve the services we provide. In-house textile recycling is now raising money for local charities. The £7million invested in modern street lighting will mean our network is more energy efficient and will cost less to run.

Our recycling rates are again increasing. This Budget contains no cuts to front-line Cityclean staff. The Big Conversation has led to proposals for a new City Parks Foundation and new partnerships with sports clubs to make their activities in our parks – football, tennis, bowls – sustainable.

I pay tribute to my colleague Cllr Gill Mitchell for driving these changes through and delivering success after success after success. We have continued to improve residents’ satisfaction with our services – in fact we are the only public sector organisation in the city to achieve this, and it should be applauded.

We will in the period of this Budget revolutionise our customer services and our relationship with the residents of the city, with Digital First delivering new online bulletins for residents and staff, improved transactional services and a better website, alongside a significant element of the planned four year savings through digitisation and streamlining of hundreds of functions in this authority. We want to drive customer satisfaction still higher, so we are reviewing the top 20 interactions that residents have with us as a council, to ensure that even more customer journeys are positive ones.

Cllr Emma Daniel is leading our neighbourhoods work, taking the council back out into communities, taking forward the work of the Fairness Commission we established, helping join up our services across council teams, tackling issues at an earlier stage to improve outcomes and save money, getting the local right. I thank her and her committee for the innovative work she is leading in helping transform this council and the way it works with all our residents, all our communities.

We are succeeding in delivering the schools our young people and our economy need. Under Cllr Tom Bewick and Cllr Daniel Chapman we have seen the number of schools rated Good or Outstanding increase by 10 per cent to 92 per cent overall, above the national average for the first time. We are now in top 25 authorities for primary schools nationally. We should praise all in our schools for their efforts to make this happen.

We plan to re-design the Early Help system and modernise the special school provision across the city. We’ve seen awards for our LGBT work in schools recognised as the best in the UK, and we’ve doubled free childcare. For those leaving school we will deliver 1,000 apprenticeships in 1,000 days.

As soon as we balanced the Budget we restored over two hundred thousand pounds to the youth service budget that was proposed in December, half of that recurrent every year. As a council we will still be funding services to young people by over two million pounds to promote routes into employment, better mental health, and work to keep young people out of substance misuse and crime.

Under Cllr Alan Robins we have taken up the challenge of implementing the libraries plan agreed last year, we have maintained the number of libraries, extended their opening hours and set them on course to be the hubs at the heart of our communities. All of our decisions are difficult, but we have to put the long-term benefit of the city at the heart of our decision making.

In pursuit of that benefit we have protected the Royal Pavilion and our museums for future generations by placing them in a trust that can access the charitable and lottery funding they need.

We will see in the coming months the continued construction on Phase 1 of £18m refurbishment of the Royal Pavilion Estate.  Our familiarity should not breed complacency when it comes to what is, alongside our seafront, the heart of our tourist and cultural offer.

We were elected to deliver a council that works for everyone, a council that gets the basics right, universal services delivered, and essential infrastructure improved.

The second of our key objectives is protecting the most vulnerable, focusing the resources we as a council and as a city have on those in priority need. It is a duty incumbent on us all.

I would like to thank my colleagues Cllr Karen Barford and Cllr Daniel Yates for their incredibly hard work and able leadership in health and social care, the largest and most challenging element of our budget. So much of their vital work is behind the scenes, but essential to the future of our council and its care services, how we work with the NHS, how we deal with the needs of an ageing population.

Despite the immense financial challenges, the message to our residents is clear. Where need is identified, we will continue to provide a service. We will help you stay fit, healthy and active, but when you need our help we will be there.

We are funding projected demand pressure for adult and children’s social care and temporary accommodation to the tune of an extra £12 million. Providing these care services alone will cost over £160 million next year, far more than the £127 million we will receive in council tax.

I am incredibly proud of the work being done by Cllr Caroline Penn on behalf of this Administration on improving the mental health of this city and tackling stigma. As a nation we are recognising the impact of mental health, the need to look at it in a new way, and to put it at the heart of our health and wellbeing agenda.

Elsewhere, we have saved £350,000 by increasing our in -house foster care placements, we have signed up to ethical care charter, and we have backed the Fast Track Cities initiative on HIV/AIDS. We have been recognised for tackling fuel poverty that costs so many tenants in the city so much and is so fundamental to overall poverty levels in the city.

I am pleased that whilst we wait to determine the full impact of benefit and tax changes locally, we in this Budget will maintain a significant discretionary fund to help those who do find themselves in poverty, supporting the vital work done by our neighbours in this building from Money Advice, the Credit Union and Citizens Advice.

I am proud that in this Budget we are protecting funding for domestic violence services, with over £600 thousand going in to community-based interventions, prevention and recovery services, and refuge and floating support. All the time I am Leader of this council, this will remain one of our top priorities.

On housing, the private rented sector and rough sleeping I commend the work done by Cllr Anne Meadows, Cllr Tracey Hill and Cllr Clare Moonan. We’ve won agreement for a thousand affordable homes in our joint venture, our pledge to build 500 council homes is on track, a new allocations policy has been set, and the ground-breaking Rent Smart initiative was launched across a wide range of partners.

Our Rough Sleeping Strategy has been adopted and implemented, we have boosted our temporary accommodation with two new in-house schemes at Oxford Street and Stonehurst Court, and we have launched the joint Make Change Count appeal raising funds to help people off the streets.

Whether it is health or housing, care or communities, renters or rough sleepers, we are working hard to help those who need it.

The third objective we have committed this council to is growing an economy that benefits all.

Brighton and Hove is open for business. Apprenticeships are up by 19 per cent in the city, putting us above the national average for the first time. Retail is set to get a massive boost with John Lewis coming to the city, Redevco investing in the new Lane and Hanningtons estate, Standard Life investing hundreds of millions into the Churchill Square extension, and Ikea proposing a store on land in our city region owned by Brighton and Hove Albion.

Our colleges and universities continue to equip our young people with the skills and innovation needed to compete in the local, national and global market, and I have forged ever closer working relationships with them in partnership work that benefits the city as a whole.

I’d like at this point to commend in particular Cllr Julie Cattell, Chair of Planning and Deputy Chair of Economic Development, for the immense work she and all our dedicated planning officers have done in the last 18 months to turn our planning department around – to have it running at pace is key to business confidence and the continued growth of our economy. Cllr Jackie O’Quinn is also doing a fantastic job at the helm of the Licensing Committee.

We are bringing in billions of pounds to the city in regeneration projects, including the Waterfront arena, Shelter Hall, Preston Barracks, and King Alfred through bodies such as Greater Brighton, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, and Brighton and Hove Business Partnership. We are campaigning for the Brighton and Hove Living Wage, opposing zero-hour contracts, growing career opportunities and working to deliver the full potential of all our residents. We are putting in place a new Civic Office to bring further inward investment into the city.

Brighton and Hove is indeed a place to invest, a place with a talented, trained and innovative workforce on which to draw, a unique location for business to spark and grow. We are open for business, we will grow an economy where everyone shares in the benefits of that growth.

I would like to use this opportunity to make two new announcements today, ones which I hope will command support across this chamber.

The loss of a child is one of the most unimaginable things any family could have to bear. I pay tribute to the campaign led by Carolyn Harris MP in the House of Commons, which has won support from all parties, to end funeral fees in the case of child deaths. A number of councils have responded positively to this campaign.

Whilst we do not charge for child burials or cremations, we do charge for the grave plot and the headstone, meaning families can face costs of almost £170. Mr Mayor I am asking Council today to support me in saying that this will be the last Budget where we will set charges for the burial of children, and that we will take the necessary steps to end child funeral costs in the city council Budget as soon as possible.

I would like to pay tribute to the former Chair of the Children and Young People’s Committee Cllr Tom Bewick for the work he did in that role during the first two years of our Administration, in particular his instrumental role in setting up a Care Leavers Trust for young people who have not had the benefit of a stable family environment as they start out in life.

All of us have a responsibility as Corporate Parents to those children and young people in our care and leaving our care. That is why, Mr Mayor, I would like this council to support the campaign by the Children’s Society and exempt fully all local care leavers from council tax until the age of 25. We will be bringing forward proposals to enable that during the course of the coming year.

I want at this point to address the broader issue of local government funding.

Mr Mayor it is the fault of successive governments that no sustainable solution to the funding of council services has been devised. The removal of the Revenue Support Grant between 2011 and 2020, over a hundred million pounds a year in our case, leaves us increasingly reliant on council tax and business rates. These are two property taxes based on outdated valuations, regressive in their impact and utterly insufficient to fund the services local councils are charged with providing.

Let me be clear on the proposals in this Budget to raise the council tax level in Brighton and Hove by 4.99%. I opposed similar rises in the past and I stand here proposing this increase with a very heavy heart. This rise will hit people on lower incomes hard at a time when they are seeing living costs increase and benefit support reduced. It is right that we maintain a substantial discretionary fund to support those pushed towards poverty, homelessness and the food bank.

However with the pressures of social care costs increasing here as they are in every top-tier authority, we have little choice but to apply the full three per cent social care precept as we try to close the gap and ease funding pressure on other services.

Calling for a national funding review, my West Sussex counterpart Cllr Louise Goldsmith said at their Budget meeting last week that nationally social care services are “seriously, seriously underfunded” and that the social care precept provided “just a few drops of help in a vast ocean of need.”

The results of The Municipal Journal and LGiU annual finance survey were published last week. Nearly eight out of 10 respondents to the survey of more than 160 council chief executives, leaders, finance directors and portfolio holders from 131 local authorities across England said they lacked confidence in the sustainability of the sector’s finances.

13% admitted there was a danger they would no longer have enough funding to fulfil their statutory duties in the coming year, with half of those based in the South East.

The president of the Association of Local Authority Treasurers Societies, Duncan Whitfield, said the next two years would be ‘make or break for some of the more beleaguered authorities’.

The survey also found an overwhelming 94% planning to increase council tax in 2017/18 and four out of five of those eligible said they were likely or very likely to take up all or some of increased social care precept. Four out of five top-tier respondents named social care as their greatest immediate pressure.

Lord Porter, the Conservative peer who heads the Local Government Association, said this week:

“Social care faces a funding gap of at least £2.6 billion by 2020. It cannot be left to council taxpayers alone to try and fix this. Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers remain united around the desperate need for new government funding for social care. By continuing to ignore these warnings, social care remains in crisis and councils and the NHS continue to be pushed to the financial brink.

“The Government cannot ignore this any longer. Genuinely new government money for social care is urgently needed. Without this, our most vulnerable continue to face an ever uncertain future where they might no longer receive the dignified care and support they deserve, such as help getting dressed or getting out and about, which is crucial to their independence and wellbeing.

“Councils face an overall £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020. This will push councils perilously close to the financial edge over the next few years and force them all to make significant reductions to the local services communities rely on, including filling potholes, collecting waste, maintaining our parks and green spaces and running children’s centres, leisure centres and libraries, to plug growing funding gaps.”

Chief executive of the LGiU, Jonathan Carr-West, said: ‘Local government finances across the country are in a dire state. Everyone is expecting someone to fail. They are just hoping it won’t be them.’

Thanks to the work of this Administration, our officers and the support of members across party in this council, it will not be us. But we are far from the least affected.

The Government has said that from 2020 councils will retain all of their business rates, rather than the 50% they do at present. Although that in theory offer this authority the prospect of in excess of fifty million pounds, it is clear that revaluation, rebates and redistribution may mean we see no net benefit. This will not be anything other than a fiscally neutral move by the Treasury, leaving them no worse off and local government no better off as a result

Over the last 4 years, this council has saved £76 million in order to ensure that we keep pace with the demand and inflationary cost of social care and temporary accommodation, within an envelope that is shrinking as the result of diminishing funding from central government. No one is immune from savings, and I have ensured my Administration has saved £70,000 from the special responsibility allowances set by the Independent Remuneration Panel.

Our revenue support grant will all but disappear in 2020.  Health budgets for 2017/18 and beyond have not been set. It seems unlikely that the full impact of welfare reform has yet been felt.

I am pleased to say that we are rising to this financial challenge, and managing this council’s finances well. I thank my colleague Cllr Les Hamilton for his role in ensuring we are on a sound and sensible course.

At this halfway point in our Administration’s first term, in the face of unprecedented funding challenges, with 40% reductions in our spending power, I am determined that we will maintain the vast majority of our services in some form, and strive to keep the number of compulsory job losses to levels below those of many other authorities in the same situation. Achieving that in this Budget has been an immense task, but as most will acknowledge, we are not in circumstances that are unique or that are of our own making.

We are by no means the worst off as a council, but we are far from being the one with the best deal. As a council we are modernising and reforming, managing responsibly and competently, innovating and changing the way we do things, making savings while investing in new resources and revenue generation. This year we instructed officers that a projected overspend of close to £4 million had to be reduced to within the risk provision we prudently set. We delivered. Our auditors, Ernst & Young, have recognized our sound financial management and recently gave us an improved and positive rating for securing value for money for the taxpayer.

During this year we will deliver savings through sharing services with other councils via the Orbis partnerships, both in support services and legal. Having stress-tested the four year integrated service and financial plans first agreed in February 2015, we have identified further initiatives that will help us, for example a fresh approach to the neighbourhoods agenda and to enforcement.

Through our investment in Digital First we will have a renewed focus on those projects that deliver the biggest savings – starting with mobile working and using predictive analytics in the adult social care service. We have ensured that the council’s ambitious Modernisation Programme will continue apace – its work streams will deliver most of the required savings for 2017/18 to add to the £17 million forecast for this year.

Mr Mayor we have adopted a financially responsible approach, a more commercial approach, a more co-operative approach, a more customer-focused approach. We are getting a grip on demand led services, streamlining processes and delivering £2 million in management savings last year and next year. All of us should be proud of what this council is achieving, in the face of the challenges common across local government, and in the face of our own specific housing and infrastructure challenges here in Brighton and Hove.

We are leading the city through by strengthening our collaboration with all our partners and asking the Better Brighton & Hove think tank to research, address and solve the economic, social, and public service challenges facing the city.

In conclusion, all of us were elected to serve the residents of this city, to make it a better place to live now and in the future, to preserve our heritage and invest in our economy. We are the temporary custodians of a valuable and historic place, a collection of rich and varied communities and culture, a city with incredible resources and immense potential.

We should be united in saying that Government should help us do what we were all elected to do, help us get to the basic services right, protect the most vulnerable, and ensure everyone benefits when our economy does well.

We should be united in asking Government to devolve to us the powers to fund what we need to do, and to deliver what our residents and businesses need.

We should be united in calling for an urgent review of how local government is funded and how it meets the challenge of providing social care services, not to apportion blame but to address a national crisis.

I say to this council, very simply, we should be united in support of this council, our residents and for Brighton and Hove.

We in this Group will support a significant number of the opposition amendments, because we recognise the work put in and the intent from opposition parties to make our budget better. I hope they in turn recognise our work and our intent in making the difficult choices, significant savings and sound financial decisions we have in this Budget today. The amendments today total less than 1% of the total revenue, HRA and capital budgets we have in front of us today. So let us view how we vote tonight in that perspective.

Let’s be united for care homes, nurseries and libraries. Let’s be united for those youth services we all care about, united for the seven hundred services this council provides for the people of this city, from the simplest cleaning job to the most complex legal social care case.

Let’s be united in support of the social worker and the street sweeper, for the dedicated men and women employed by this council who have adapted and adjusted and upped their game year after year after year.

Let us be united for the community and voluntary services we support, we commission and we partner with in Brighton and Hove, for the small businesses who need our support in the face of unfair government business rates rises AND the council taxpayer hit by benefit changes and tax increases.

Getting the basics right, protecting the most vulnerable and growing the economy. Managing the resources we have well, increasing them wherever and whenever we can. Those  are my aims as Leader, our aims as an Administration, they should be ours as a council, ours as a city with a great future ahead of it.

I make an appeal across this chamber today. Be united. Join together. Support our city, support our communities, support our residents. Support this budget and be confident in the future of Brighton and Hove.

Europe: It isn’t too late to think again

21505_EU-flag-missing-starIt is becoming abundantly clear in my view that leaving the European Union will be a disaster for Britain, and bad for Brighton and Hove.

As a city, we voted overwhelmingly to remain. That view now seems to be shared by many other cities and regions who voted to leave. I choose to represent the majority of voters in Brighton and Hove who voted to remain. I absolutely respect the views of those who believe otherwise and who will reject the arguments I set out here.

Opinion has been moving against “Leave” for months. A poll of nearly 5000 voters in August found overwhelming support for Britain staying in the EU, reflecting a growing belief that we we misled and that there is no plan on how to make it happen.

There is a strong argument that we should not ignore the democratically expressed will of the people. However I believe that the reasons for the outcome were based for many on misleading information, and many would now not make the same choice in the polling station.

The idea that Brexit would reverse immigration was never realistic and controls on the free movement of labour will be catastrophic for many sectors of the economy. Migration was one of the key myths on which many based their vote, but myths are easily busted, and the impact on business through much greater regulatory burdens could be severe.

The promise of an extra £350 million for the NHS has been shown to be a false one. It was a betrayal of voters and their trust. Acknowledging a decision was wrong should mean we review it, not plough on regardless.

The referendum was not binding. The result was close, so close that Leave campaigners said quite clearly before the vote that should the result go against them by a similar margin they would contest the outcome.

Brexit will have a “catastrophic” effect on higher education, a vital sector in our local economy. Analysis by national law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) found Brighton’s economy is expected to see a significant slowdown in economic growth following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

The idea that Brexit will boost the economy and create jobs is another myth. Open Britain argue that the UK will have to borrow an additional £58 billion to deal with the consequences. Over a quarter of a million was racked up in legal fees in the first two months following the referendum, and costs of negotiating our departure over a decade are estimated at £65 million a year, at a time when social care is in crisis, the NHS is being run into the ground, local government is being starved of funds and rough sleeping is rocketing.

The respected Brookings Institute in Washington DC warned that Brexit could be “the greatest catastrophe of the 21st Century” leading to the breakup of the UK. The Peterson Institute for Economics called it a “disastrous experiment in deglobalisation.” Richard Branson said “there’s been very, very little to be gained from it and there’s been an awful lot to lose from it.”

Many claim that Brexit has had no impact on the economy, or indeed a positive impact on the economy. Of course we haven’t yet left the European Union, the worlds largest trading bloc, and predictions remain gloomy. In May of 2016 the UK was the world’s 5th largest economy. Just eight months later we have slipped behind France and India to 7th.

The resignation of the UK’s Ambassador to the EU lays bare the stark reality that the Government has no plan for exiting the EU that in any way benefits the country. The Government never had a plan because it never expected to lose the referendum. The pledge to put EU membership to the vote was entirely designed to stop the hemorrhage of Tory votes to UKIP at the 2015 General Election and secure a Tory majority.

The involvement of figures like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in the Leave campaign was clearly more about their ambitions to succeed David Cameron than what was right for the country.

Even senior Tories now warn that “this is grown-up stuff, with consequences”. If we trigger Article 50 in March, we have just two years to successfully conclude negotiations or leave with nothing. Today the Prime Minister said she would present a plan “within weeks“, denying thinking in Government is “muddled”. I do not have faith in this Government to deliver.

Sir Keir Starmer is right that we should find bold and progressive solutions to the issues that underpinned the narrow vote to leave, but I disagree with the view that the outcome of the referendum cannot be challenged. 70% of Labour voters now believe we are wrong to leave the EU, many of them now looking to the Liberal Democrats to represent their views. I believe Labour should speak for a pro-European Britain.

We have not yet triggered Article 50. The Supreme Court may yet rule that Parliament must have the final say. There are various legal options the Court could give Parliament to consider. MPs need to think about their responsibility to all of the people, the national interest and the future before deciding to carry on with what is at best a high risk leap into the unknown.

Brighton and Hove can and should remain oriented towards Europe, with 50% of our tourism coming from the EU. We are the home of the European headquarters of American Express, and other financial services groups like Legal and General. Our creative arts and digital sectors, our hotel and conference industry, our universities and language schools cannot afford barriers to trade with Europe. We can and shall remain open for business. 

I believe we should think again before it is too late, and remain members of the European Union for the benefit of our city and our country.

2016: fifty positive things your council has achieved this year

 

received_10154080748042534.jpeg2016 has been a year memorable for many of the wrong reasons. Here in Brighton and Hove though, there has been a lot that has been positive.

Here are just some of the things your Labour-led council has achieved despite huge cuts from government.

  1. Affordable homes joint venture approved to deliver 1000 homes: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-project-build-affordable-housing-city-agreed
  2. Air quality improves: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city%E2%80%99s-air-quality-improving
  3. Animal warden service revamped: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/new-animal-warden-service
  4. Apprenticeships up by 19 per cent in the city, putting us above the national average for the first time; new challenge set: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/jobs/apprenticeships/1000-apprenticeships
  5. Big Belly Bins introduced: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council%E2%80%99s-bigbelly-bins-able-devour-more-waste
  6. Big Conversation on city parks draws huge response: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/big-thanks-3500-responding-parks-survey
  7. Budget passed: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/budget-agreed-201617
  8. Care leavers’ trust fund established: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000883/M00006141/AI00052207/$BrightonandHoveChildrensCommitteeSavingsandTrustFundforCICmay2016.docA.ps.pdf
  9. City Innovation Challenge winners announced: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/council-and-democracy/council-finance/city-innovation-challenge
  10. Commercial waste collection service earns money for services: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/environment/recycling-rubbish-and-street-cleaning/commercial-recycling-and-rubbish
  11. Council house building programme on track to deliver 500 new homes: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/housing/council-housing/new-homes-neighbourhoods https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/latest-approval-new-generation-council-housing https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/work-starts-57-new-council-homes
  12. Credit Union strengthened: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/bhcc-seeks-strengthen-citys-credit-union-services
  13. Ethical Care Charter adopted: http://www.brightonhovelabour.com/new_contract_will_deliver_labour_s_ethical_home_care_pledge
  14. Fairness Commission completes work: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/fairness-commission-announces-their-recommendations-city
  15. Food poverty action plan wins best partnership at the city sector stars event: http://bhcommunityworks.org.uk/sector-star-winners/
  16. Foster parents increase by 8 per cent in last year; saving £350k on agency out placements.
  17. Free childcare doubled: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/%C2%A3120k-council-bid-success-free-childcare-plan
  18. Fuel poverty tackled: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city-gets-top-marks-tackling-fuel-poverty
  19. Garden waste collection service introduced: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/garden-waste-scheme-grows
  20. HIV prevention Fast Track Cities Initiative “90-90-90” adopted: http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14948188.Brighton_and_Hove_bid_for_HIV_Fast_Track_City_status/
  21. Housing allocations improved: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/housing-allocations-proposals-strengthen-focus-local-need
  22. King Alfred replacement given go-ahead: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council-chooses-crest-nicholson-redevelop-king-alfred-site
  23. LGBT schools support rated best in the country: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/council%E2%80%99s-lgbt-support-schools-rated-among-best-country
  24. Library hours extended: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/libraries-open-extra-thanks-pioneering-out-hours-scheme
  25. Litter fines introduced: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/drop-litter-pick-a-fine-0
  26. Madeira Terraces rescue plan in place: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/%C2%A34m-bid-goes-start-brighton-terraces-re-build
  27. Mental health for young people highlighted in campaign: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/iamwhole
  28. Motor Neurone Disease Charter signed: http://www.mndassociation.org/news-and-events/latest-news/success-two-more-councils-adopt-the-mnd-charter/
  29. Nursery in children’s centre rated outstanding: http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2016/05/16/brighton-nursery-rated-outstanding-after-ofsted-inspection/
  30. Office move saves £2m: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/%C2%A32-million-saving-a-year-hove-town-hall-officially-opens
  31. Parking meters go contactless: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/contactless-pay-and-display-machines-just-ticket-drivers
  32. Pavilion future secured: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/securing-future-royal-pavilion-and-museums
  33. Planning service improves: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/planning-services-steps-improve-performance-working
  34. Recycling improves: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city-waste-services-improving-residents-and-businesses
  35. Refugees helped with support from residents.
  36. Rent Smart launched for private tenants: http://rentsmartbrightonhove.org/
  37. Rough Sleeping Strategy agreed: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/draft-rough-sleeping-strategy-2016-consultation
  38. Seafront gets a billion pounds investment: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/council-and-democracy/news/search-news
  39. Schools success: number of schools rated Good or Outstanding up by 10 per cent (now 92 per cent) city is above the national average for the first time, and now in top 25 for primary schools nationally https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city%E2%80%99s-schools-top-50-key-new-government-performance-table https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city%E2%80%99s-primary-pupils-top-30-nationally-key-stage-2 https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/city%E2%80%99s-schools-are-way-ahead-key-stage-2
  40. Sharing support services to save money: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/four-councils-sharing-legal-services-save-%C2%A31-million-a-year
  41. Shelter Hall work underway: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/parking-and-travel/roads-and-highways/rebuilding-former-west-street-shelter-hall
  42. Street Lighting investment approved: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/future-bright-super-smart-street-lighting
  43. Street sweeping boost: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/clean-green-sweeping-machines-hit-citys-streets
  44. Temporary accommodation boosted: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieIssueDetails.aspx?IId=50474&PlanId=0&Opt=3#AI49506
  45. Textile recycling boosts funding for communities: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/community-groups-benefit-new-textile-recycling-scheme
  46. Transport team awarded top prize: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/brighton-hove-wins-top-national-transport-award
  47. Velodrome restored: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/preston-park-velodrome-reopened
  48. Volunteering pledge signed: http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2016/11/28/volunteering-race-equality-and-domestic-violence-on-the-agenda-at-brighton-and-hove-council-meeting/
  49. Wheeled bin recycling rolled out: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/cash-wheelie-bins-will-increase-recycling
  50. Zip wire given the go ahead: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/brighton%E2%80%99s-300-metre-zip-wire-approved

Bring on 2017: we will deliver even more for Brighton and Hove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My media week

pr-101_fundrazr-blogIt’s been a busy week on media with interviews on the Budget,social care, devolution and benefit changes. Here’s a round-up:

TV

Sunday Politics South East (from 48 minutes in): http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0833g95/sunday-politics-south-east-27112016

Radio

BBC Sussex, Wednesday: https://twitter.com/BBCSussex/status/804018608707928064

BBC Sussex Breakfast, Thursday (from 2 hours 8 minutes in) : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04fpc7l

Juice 107, Friday: not yet online

Press and online

Brighton and Hove News, Sunday: http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2016/11/27/facing-hard-budget-cuts-together-brighton-and-hove-council-leader-issues-a-call-for-help/

The Argus, Monday: http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14931607.City_faces_falling_behind_without_elected_mayor/

Brighton and Hove News, Wednesday: http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2016/11/30/brighton-and-hove-council-to-shed-300-staff-and-cut-51m/

City Council website, Wednesday:                                                             https://youtu.be/pyW6DvutooE?list=PLkn6wzCIq2ylpH785q-65w3B_snw35ew-

The Argus, Wednesday: http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14937620.__24_million_cuts_for_Brighton_and_Hove_City_Council_in_toughest_year_ever/

Brighton and Hove Independent, Wednesday: http://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/brighton-to-brace-itself-for-24-million-council-cuts-1-7706445

My blog, Wednesday:                         https://warrenmorgan.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/getting-the-basics-right-protecting-the-most-vulnerable-and-growing-an-economy-that-benefits-all/

The Argus, Thursday: http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14940320.__24m_cuts_for_Brighton_and_Hove_could_make_for__most_difficult_year_ever_/

Change.org petition, Thursday:                                                           https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-save-our-services

The Argus, Friday: http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14942281.Opposition_claim_Labour_administration_lack_coherent_plan_for___24_million_council_cuts/

Brighton and Hove Independent, Friday: http://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/opinion/warren-morgan-we-cannot-avoid-making-painful-cuts-1-7707138