The Greens say a 4.75% increase is needed to find two and a half million pounds which they say they will otherwise cut from care services to the vulnerable in their budget. Yet they have failed to make savings of £2 million which were identified in last year’s Budget, and the Budget before that.
They have failed to get better value from council social care contracts, meaning costs in Brighton and Hove are far higher than in other councils. They have failed to give the consultants they are currently paying £70,000 for, enough time or enough scope to make savings that would offset these cuts. They have said that some things they spend money on are off-limits for savings, such as the youth service and tree planting.
Now the Greens want to pass on responsibility for their failure to residents in a referendum costing £300,000. They want to pass on the costs of their failure to the most vulnerable in our society. They want to pass on the cost of £23 million in Tory cuts to those who can least afford it and who are struggling to pay their bills. They are using vulnerable people as an excuse to make a political gesture.
A Labour council would pursue those unachieved savings, we would seek to get better value through procurement, and we would make taxpayer’s money go further through full integration with the NHS. Labour councils up and down the country are already doing this. We will look at the Greens’ Budget in detail next week, and our first priority will be to block the 4.75% rise and reverse the cut to Able & Willing, the supported employer for people with learning disabilities.
The Green proposals would add £5.09 to a Band D household, and £6.23 to a Band E household. We will be voting for a 2% increase meaning households will pay only around £2 more a month.