Fair Pay For Public Sector Staff #ScrapTheCap

scrap_the_cap_blogpost_picIt is time to scrap the cap on public sector pay.

It’s time to do it because our public sector staff deserve it, because our public sector services cannot survive without it, and because we cannot afford not to.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, nurses have had a 14% pay cut in real terms since 2010.  The IPPR calculate that workers in the NHS have experienced a seven-year pay squeeze, with a two year pay freeze from 2011/12, followed by pay capped at 1 per cent for the following five years. This has significantly eroded the value of pay in the NHS; pay for a band 5 nurse is £3,214 or 10.1 per cent lower today than pay for the same role in 2010/11.

Up to a third of workers in some NHS trusts have quit in the past year. The number of full-time nurses and health visitors in England dropped by 469 between April 2016 and April 2017, according to a Health Foundation report. Staff retention is a huge issue with the leaver rate varying from under 10% in some trusts to more than 30% in some acute and mental trusts.

In May, the Royal College of Nursing got Freedom of Information responses showing one in nine posts are now unfilled – and about 40,000 nursing posts were vacant in England.

Frontline police officers are £6,000 a year worse off in real terms compared to 2010. In May the Argus reported Matt Webb, chairman of the Sussex Police Federation, saying it has helped several officers so far this year after they found their wages left them struggling to put food on the table.

The average rent for a one bedroom property in Brighton and Hove is currently £957 per calendar month, leaving officers just £463 to cover other household bills, food and fuel costs. A three bed house will set renters back £1,630 a month, or £19,560 for the year – £440 short of the average officer’s annual wage.

The former head of the armed services, writing in the Telegraph, said that soldiers deserve a pay rise. The starting salary of an army private has dropped by £1,000 in real terms since 2010, whilst rising rents in service accommodation and changes to tax credits have hit service personnel hard. We now have a real crisis in recruitment and retention across all three services.

A firefighter today is earning £2000 less in real terms than they were in 2010. A midwife has seen their pay cut in real terms by £3000. During this time the cost of living has risen 22%.

Ministers need to raise public sector pay to help retain skilled staff, the Institute for Fiscal Studies economic research group has said, especially in the south-east where living costs are highest. It says that more restraint “would take public pay to historically low levels relative to that in the private sector”, it says. Average weekly public sector pay has fallen by 4% in real terms in the past eight years, and “higher paid groups have fared least well.”

A modest pay rise is not unaffordable. If public sector workers saw their earnings rise by inflation over the next five years, it would add just 1% to annual departmental spending. And it would pay for itself through a local economic boost – not least in the UK’s poorest regions – and through a higher tax take.

Recent research by the GMB shows that while the government said that the pay cap would save £2.2bn this year, the bill for agency and temporary workers has risen by £2.5bn across the public sector.

Last year, a study found there had been a 61% rise in advertising spend since 2010 in secondary schools alone, costing £56m in 2015. Shortages in the health service mean NHS Trusts are paying millions every month to agency and bank nurses to ensure there are adequate levels of staff on wards.

An Age UK study estimated the NHS lost 2.4m bed days, costing it £669m over five years, as shortages of social care support means frail patients cannot be discharged.

According to a Unison study based on International Monetary Fund figures, every 1% increase in public sector pay would generate between £710m and £820m for the government in increased income tax.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said if public sector pay were to rise in line with inflation for the next three or four years it would cost the public purse £6 to £7 billion more than continuing with the cap.

The public sector pay cap is having a disastrous impact across the board in our public sector; schools, the NHS, our armed forces, social care, local government, the civil service, police, fire and more. Our economy is suffering because these public sector staff cannot spend in the economy, our nation is suffering because we are missing out on tax revenue, our services are suffering because they cannot pay the rates they need to attract new staff.

We need to scrap the cap, we can afford it, we cannot afford not to.

(Speech to full Council proposing the motion “Fair Pay For Public Sector Staff” 2/11/2017)


Getting On With The Job

Over the coming months, the Labour minority Administration on Brighton and Hove City Council, which I am proud to lead, faces a number of significant challenges.

We face a seventh austerity budget imposed on us by the Conservative government, taking £100m away from our service funding, and the same time as our costs are growing and Whitehall hands us ever more responsibility for things they previously paid for.

We face the challenge of securing funding and powers to secure our city’s heritage and infrastructure, at the Pavilion and on the seafront, particularly Madeira Terraces.

We have to continue to make progress on delivering 1500 new council homes and truly affordable homes through our Living Wage joint venture.

We have to meet the challenge of a rising tide of rough sleeping and homelessness caused by Government welfare policy.

We need to secure the progress made on getting a better deal for tenants in the private rented sector, and support the provision of student accommodation to ease pressure on the housing market.

We have to ensure the council and partner agencies are ready to help those hit by the Governments roll-out of Universal Credit.

We must secure progress on the new conference centre and concert arena, extension to Churchill Square, and funding for a new King Alfred. Jobs, homes and our city’s future economic prosperity depend on it.

We need to bring together the council and Clinical Commissioning Group to deliver the GPs, primary health care services and basic NHS provision residents need.

We must continue the improvement in recycling we have achieved, and the action against litterers and flytippers who are placing a strain on our city’s cleaning services.

We want to roll out troubleshooters into our communities to tackle problems as they arrive at a local level, and improve the way we provide customer services online.

We must push even harder for a better deal for Brighton and Hove from the Government, for the powers and funding to deliver what our communities need.

We have to ensure the places at our schools, all of which are good and improving, are there for the pupils that need them.

We must continue to prepare the city, our economy and our businesses for the impact of Brexit.

All this and much more needs to be done. Its the job I was elected to do, that the city expects me to get on with, and I will not be distracted or diverted from it.

Despite the challenges we face, Brighton and Hove can be as great as it ever was, and better, for everyone that lives here. That the job I’m getting on with.

Standing up to racism

Yesterday I made a public statement regarding anti-Semitism at the Labour Conference in Brighton and Hove.

As a city, we have clear policies on equalities, discrimination and racism. It is my job as Leader of the City Council to speak out against racism, bigotry and prejudice in all its forms. I’ve done so when the far-right came here to march. I’ve done so when refugees faced abuse, when the Muslim community faced hostility in the wake of events elsewhere.

Whatever my views on conflicts elsewhere in the world, my firm belief is that those conflicts should not be played out by groups or individuals against communities in our city. We are a City of Sanctuary, where people from all backgrounds should live alongside each other, live and work together, without the wars and conflicts in countries they may have connections with coming into daily life here.

Our right to free speech is bounded by the rights of others not to have their daily life subject to intimidation and fear. People are of course free to criticize and protest against the actions of the Israeli Government. Jewish people here are no more responsible for those actions simply for being Jewish than Syrian people are responsible for Assad or Americans are for Trump. Women in headscarves shouldn’t face abuse because of IS. Men in yarmulkes shouldn’t face abuse because of Netanyahu.

Legitimate debate on the Israel/Palestine issue should not be stifled, but neither should that issue it be a justification for the demonisation of an entire group of people based on their ethnicity or religion. My statement was not about that conflict.

Nor was it about the Labour leadership. Jeremy Corbyn and the front bench have been clear on their condemnation of anti-Semitism: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/26/new-antisemitism-row-for-labour-over-fringe-speakers-holocaust-remarks-miko-peled?

Conference approved a rule change with the support of 96% of delegates to make anti-Semitic behaviour even more explicitly against the Party rules than it was previously. I’m calling for those rules to be enforced, so that we can welcome Conference back to Brighton and Hove again.

Anti-Semitism is racism. The Labour Party is an anti-racist Party. Brighton and Hove is a city where all should feel safe and secure. These are things which should not be in question.

A Dynamic And Ambitious City

My speech to the Centre for Cities reception at Labour Conference.

“Since I last welcomed you to the Centre for Cities reception here in the kitchens of the Royal Pavilion two years ago, much has changed in Brighton and Hove. The i360 now towers over Brighton and Hove seafront, a 21st Century version of the Victorian piers, bandstands, aquarium and promenades built to draw tourists to our seafront.

The city voted overwhelmingly – 70% – to remain in the European Union, to stay a European city that is outward facing and Open For Business. I will fight to the last to see the will of the people in Brighton and Hove made a political reality.

Brighton and Hove Albion were promoted to the Premier League, bringing in tens of millions into the local and city region economy.

The EON Rampion wind farm has sprung up off our coast, representing a period of new technologies, new energy and new transport, heralding a changing economy with new ways of working. All this offering challenges and opportunities in the modern economy which we are not yet coming to terms with, but which we must if we are both to compete and protect the rights of people working in it.

The General Election saw Peter Kyle increase his majority by a record breaking figure in Hove, and Lloyd Russell Moyle take the last remaining Conservative seat in the city with a comfortable win in Kemptown. As much as in London, Bristol and the cities of the north west, Brighton and Hove has moved to Labour.

Our Labour-led administration on the City Council has pressed ahead with innovative new schemes to improve daily life, build new homes and grow our economy. New ways to run services, grow our income and meet the challenges of social care. Our mission is to get the basics right, protect the vulnerable and grow an economy for the many and not the few.

We do so against a combined opposition that can outvote us in the last remaining committee run council, under funding and service pressures that would have made my predecessors weep, and in a political environment more unstable and uncertain than at any time in living memory.

The next two years will see the pace of change accelerate, and the challenges we face grow. The Greater Brighton city region is expanding to include the thriving economy of Crawley, led by the excellent Cllr Peter Lamb who is here tonight, and the global transport hub of Gatwick Airport. Together we will be stronger in facing those challenges and ready to exploit the opportunities of the industrial strategy and devolution to city regions.

Greater Brighton will become the heart of the Southern Accelerator, a rival to the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, driving research and innovation in our universities, investment and growth in our digital and creative economies, a sustainable future for our financial services, tourism and visitor economy as Brexit draws closer.

We cannot rely on our proximity to the capital, as a region we must compete nationally, in Europe and across the globe in Japan and China, India and South America, Australasia and Africa, the Middle East and beyond for tourism, students, trade, investment and conventions. Through our strong partnership with Standard Life we will in the coming decade replace the Brighton Centre with a new conference and event arena at Black Rock, one which will secure our future just as the Brighton Centre did 40 years ago.

The challenge for Brighton and Hove, as the Centre for Cities has pointed out, is as great as for any city region in Britain as we sever our bonds with the EU. We will not allow this self created hurricane, born in the turbulent waters of Tory division, to lay waste to our economy. We will turn our faces to the coming storm. We will cast no one out; we will leave no one behind.

In the coming two years we will push ahead with ground-breaking health integration to ensure all our residents have access to GPs, screening and treatment. Our innovative new joint venture to deliver 1000 new homes affordable at under 40% of national living wage household income, will be given the go-ahead on Monday, and – I am announcing here for the first time tonight, we will forge a new relationship with businesses in Brighton and Hove and across the city region, starting with the Leaders Business Summit which I will convene in the new year.

Whilst we press ahead with building a new future for Brighton and Hove, we will continue to value and restore and preserve the heritage that made us what we are today; that made Brighton and Hove the unique place that it is, through work to restore our seafront and preserve our Royal Pavilion in trust for future generations.

That involves finding innovative new funding solutions and campaigns. Postcards and posters are around the tables promoting our Save Madeira Terraces crowdfunding campaign in association with Spacehive. Please donate pledge a donation if you can at www.savemadeiraterrace.org

We are a thriving, dynamic and ambitious city, a young city with a proud heritage, a great place to live and work, a city with a bold and ambitious future ahead of us. Brighton and Hove is the city I’m proud to lead, and pleased to welcome you to tonight. Thank you.”


Photo credit: @CoopInnovation

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.


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.

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.