The Brighton & Hove City Council budget for 2018/19 has been set at Budget Council today (Thursday 22 February).
Councillors debated how to allocate more than £900million of the council’s budget.
An increase of 5.99% in the Brighton & Hove element of the Council Tax was agreed. This includes a 3% precept to fund the increasing demands and cost of adult social care.
As a result, the average Band D Council Tax will rise by £87.57 to £1,549.07 in 2018/19.
The council provides more than 700 services residents see or use every day. It currently costs just under £2.1 million to run our council services every day.
Councillor Warren Morgan, leader of the council, said: “We have risen to the challenges given to us, we have taken the tough decisions, put the resources we have left where they can be used best.
“On the back of two years where we have had to save in excess of £40 million, we’ve worked hard to identify a further £12 million savings in this Budget, a task that becomes harder with each year that passes.
“Lord Porter, Conservative Chair of the Local Government Association, has warned that the majority of councils have little choice but to increase council tax bills again this year. He has also warned the government that ‘there cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable social care system’, and called for ‘significant new investment into our social care system” to stop the winter crisis becoming an “all-year round NHS crisis’.
“Our priorities continue to be getting the basics right, protecting the vulnerable and growing the economy for the good of all in Brighton & Hove.
“Critical to the success of this city, vital to our public services, essential for business and so important to the health and wellbeing of our residents is the availability of good quality and truly affordable housing. It is perhaps the biggest challenge we face. We’re building 500 council homes. We will be delivering a thousand more at truly affordable rents and we’re buying back council homes.
“Our budget protects the most vulnerable in our city. More than £9 million has been agreed in pressure funding to cover the increasing demands and costs for adult social care, people with learning disabilities, and children’s social care placements.
“We’re also regenerating across the city. Preston Barracks, derelict for twenty years, sees the start of construction on a major new £300 million regeneration project delivering 1,500 new jobs, nearly 400 new homes and over £280 million in economic growth for the Lewes Road area over the coming decade.”
“Having made £40 million in savings since 2015, and with a further £12 million next year, the demands upon our services are stark moving forward.
“I do not want to see an increase of council tax by 5.99%, it’s an increase few can afford.
“The current funding situation leaves us no choice if we are to keep our services running. It’s a choice almost all councils have had to make.
“Time is fast running out on the funding, structures and services of local government, in town halls and county halls and city halls of every political colour across this country.”
The budget supports priority services, including adult social care, children’s social care and other services to combat inequality.
Key funding includes:
Protecting the vulnerable:
- An extra £6 million for adult social care
- An extra £3 million for children’s social care services to support increasing demands and costs of caring for children in care
- Council nurseries, children’s centres and services for Care Leavers protected
- £156,000 funding to tackle criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults
- £165,000 additional funding to provide support for rough sleepers
- An additional £400,000 for support and advice for vulnerable people impacted by welfare reforms
Getting the basics right:
- Building much needed new homes on council-owned land through the New Homes for Neighbourhoods council house building programme and the affordable housing joint venture. There's over £95 million currently allocated for schemes on site and in the pipeline
- For the third year running, no libraries are proposed to be closed
- All 19 of the council’s subsidised bus routes protected for the next four years
- Parking charges are largely frozen for the coming year
- Investment in park and street scene improvements (including more Big Belly bins) and Hove Station footbridge
- New council “community troubleshooters”, helping bring council services closer to communities and getting earlier resolution of neighbourhood issues
- Continuing to improve our online services through our Digital First programme, including replacing our website
- Reducing our management costs
Growing the local economy:
- Investment capital to look after the city’s assets, to support the local economy by attracting visitors, and to make Brighton & Hove a better place for residents to live
- Next year, schemes totalling £30million are starting, using capital funds gained by reducing our use of council buildings. Schemes include an upgraded two storey Shelter Hall, Brighton Town Hall redevelopment, Valley Gardens, the Royal Pavilion Estates, Preston Barracks and the Madeira Terraces. There are schemes worth more than £200million planned in our 10 year programme starting next year.
- We will also be investing in a major street lighting improvement programme
Find out more on our budget web page
- The council’s gross revenue budget, which covers council services, is more than £750million
- The capital programme budget of more than £180million includes investment in housing, regeneration, schools and highways and transport
- The council’s net General Fund budget of £209million is the sum after accounting for HRA (Housing Revenue Account), schools funding grants, housing benefit and rents, fees and charges.