By Abby Rugg
Brighton and Hove’s council tax has been frozen after councillors agreed £750 million budget spending plans.
Photo Credit: Images_Of_Money (Creative Commons)
The Green Party’s administration’s proposed budget was voted through with a series of changes set out in an alteration proposed by the Labour & Cooperative Group.
That amendment also committed the City Council to save a further £250,000 in management and administration costs, close the council’s quarterly magazine City News and reduce funding for sustainability.
Brighton & Hove City Council leader Bill Randall said: “We’ve agreed a budget that’s designed to protect the most vulnerable residents in the city in the face of substantial reductions in public funding and rising costs.
“At the same time we face growing demands on council services including an ageing population and other demographic changes.”
Brighton will receive a tax freeze which will be paid for in part by accepting a £3m one-off grant from the government and by making a further £1.2m worth of savings.
The council’s minority Green administration, which had planned to meet part of these rising costs by increasing council tax by 3.5%, will now have to find additional savings in 2013/14 of almost £3.7m.
Other changes voted through were to reduce the parking budget used to support community events; providing an extra £25,000 to fund the mobile library; and withdrawing £200,000 worth of funds for putting empty private sector properties back into use.
The council will now implement savings of £17.2 million in the next financial year to cover the effects of inflation, reductions in government funding to councils and rising demand for services.
There will be some job losses but the council is trying to avoid compulsory redundancies.
Randall added: “We are doing everything we can to protect services and working more efficiently to reduce costs.
“This year we saved £7.7m through measures such as reducing the number of premises we use and we intend to save £20m over the next three years.”