A Labour council elected in 250 days time will have very clear priorities for Brighton and Hove; to get the basics of local government such as refuse collection right, and to focus on the immediate priorities of the city and it’s residents: jobs, homes, schools and tackling the poverty and inequality that has grown under this Conservative Government.
Our manifesto will be published in the early Spring, but a labour council under my leadership will:
- make cleaning the streets, collecting the rubbish and increasing recycling a corporate priority for the city council. Our refuse and recycling service Cityclean will stay in-house, and management of the service will become the responsibility of the Policy and Resources Committee chaired by the Leader of the Council.
- tackle poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity in the city through a wide-ranging Fairness Commission. Independently chaired and paid for through existing budgets, it will bring together all existing measures and look at what other steps can be taken to tackle low-pay, less secure employment, poor housing and any other factors that limit the opportunities of the more than ten thousand people in Brighton and Hove in poverty, of whom more than four thousand are using food banks to feed their families. In the seventh richest economy in the world and in the richest region in the UK that is a disgrace.
- boost the economy to the benefit of all, not just a few in the city centre, ensure all young people have access to education, training, apprenticeships and employment opportunities no matter what part of the city they live in. We cannot afford to waste their potential.
- seek to address the housing and secondary school places shortfalls that will become crises in the next four years, including looking at regulating landlords and the private rented sector to the benefit of tenants. We will have to face the growing costs of social care and find new and better ways of delivering quality care that we can afford through better procurement and in close co-operation with our trades union partners.
- meet the challenge of adapting to the £100 million in cuts imposed by the Government by working with local voluntary sector, business, community and co-operative sector partners to keep services local, accountable and deliverable where they cannot be kept in-house. We should not, in my view, be spending city council money buying in services from outside the city and losing the value of that spend from the city’s economy. Other Labour authorities, including those in the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network, have developed innovative solutions to cuts in funding. Where there is ageing infrastructure we need to find investment; where there are major projects we need to ensure that decent jobs, affordable homes and real apprenticeships are delivered as part of the package.
These aims are in line with my values, with Labour values of fairness, of supporting those in poverty, of promoting opportunity for all, of making our city and all of our communities a better place to live. Much of this will need the support of a Labour Government elected on the same day. If you share those values and goals then work with us, join us and support our campaign to win in 2015.