This week, along with dozens of councillors, candidates and Labour members, I launched the ten key commitments on which Labour in Brighton and Hove will fight the next election, the ten pledges that we are asking you to support.
This city is crying out for change, desperate for a competent council leadership which will improve the lives of residents across the city in every community. Labour will deliver that change, will set the city council the task of tackling poverty and promoting opportunity for all. If these are values you share, then say you are with us.
In our contract with Brighton and Hove we set out our ambitions, to get the basics right, get the bins collected, push recycling rates up and ensure our streets are clean. To build five hundred new council homes for those waiting for somewhere to live. To build and run a secondary school so that those at primary school now have somewhere to go in three to five years’ time.
If you believe an affordable home should be within reach for every family, if you believe an excellent school is the right of every pupil, then say you are with us.
If you vote Labour next May, in the local and General Elections, you can expect action on real apprenticeships and a fight to eliminate youth unemployment in the city. We will deliver on the major projects the city needs, bringing much needed and long delayed new facilities along with more jobs and more homes. If this is the future you want for the place where you live, then say you are with us.
The financial challenges the council faces are immense, with over £120 million cut from what it has to spend each and every year, and the costs of social care and infrastructure decay increasing rapidly. Despite that a Labour council will not demand more from residents already struggling to meet their living costs so we will not increase council tax or parking fees beyond inflation. Just as the council’s income has fallen, so has yours, and we know you need better pay, not higher bills.
These challenges will require difficult choices and imaginative thinking not just from councillors but from partner organisations and indeed residents, but we will work with you, listen to you, talk to you about how we meet those challenges together. If you want to share in this endeavour, if you believe in our co-operative principles, then say you are with us.
These ten commitments will form the foundations of our detailed manifesto next year, and the direction of travel of our Labour administration for the four years of our term of office if elected in May. If you want a positive change from the Greens running the city, if you think the Conservatives have little to offer beyond more cuts and a council that does less and cares less, if you want a council that works with you to build better communities in every part of Brighton and Hove which offers greater opportunities for every resident, then say you are with us.
I’ve signed this contract with the people of Brighton and Hove, and I urge everyone to sign up to it online as well. These are not just our pledges to you, these are goals for our city – goals for the place I have called home all my life – that I want us to commit to together. Say you are with us – sign up on our new website, our Facebook page and on Twitter. Say you are with us, and in two hundred and twenty days’ time elect a Labour council for Brighton and Hove.
Our Contract With Brighton and Hove
Our goals: better jobs, more homes, excellent schools and decent basic services.
Our values: fairness, sustainability and competence.
If you elect Labour councillors at the local elections next May:
- We will make collecting refuse, increasing recycling and cleaning the streets a top council priority. The Leader and senior councillors will personally oversee work to improve the service.
- We will commit to tackle the city’s housing crisis by building at least 500 council houses by 2019, and securing 40% affordable homes in new housing developments.
- We will consult on introducing a register of landlords to protect tenants in the private rented sector, promote secure tenancies and tackle rip-off fees through a Tenant’s’ Charter.
- We will build a new secondary school to meet the growing need for places across the city, and it will be run by the council under powers restored by a Labour government. We will work to ensure all schools are accountable and offer excellent education.
- We will aim to keep any increases in council tax and parking charges within inflation-level rises, with additional income invested in public services, road safety and transport infrastructure that the city needs and residents want.
- We will establish a Fairness Commission to tackle the growing poverty and inequality in the city, independently chaired, reporting within a year and funded within existing budgets, to set out an action plan for the Labour Administration and partner organisations to implement.
- We will work to support a broad, sustainable and prosperous economy that benefits all parts of the city, with secure jobs paying the Living Wage and action to combat zero-hours contracts. There will be innovative proposals in our manifesto to help small and medium sized businesses in the city.
- We will ensure that major projects that are built in Brighton and Hove offer jobs, homes and new facilities for the city, are affordable, are rigorously scrutinised and are delivered on time with private investment not taxpayer debt.
- We will seek to eliminate youth unemployment in the city within four years, with real apprenticeships and career opportunities for young people.
- We will aim to keep public services local and democratically accountable, with power devolved to communities. Sustainability and Co-operative principles will run through the solutions we develop to meet the funding challenges we face.