Government grant – Brighton & Hove loses out

This announcement from the Government that they will only be giving Brighton & Hove City Council a 1.5% increase in central grant doesn’t come as a great surprise but is nonetheless disappointing for the residents of the city. We are once again at the ‘floor’ level of grant, meaning that this is the lowest possible increase we could have got. An increase of 1.5% represents roughly £1.5 million, which is a drop in the ocean when you consider that our overall budget is £750 million. Inflationary pressures alone more than wipe out this increase.

We are working extremely hard to cope with the double whammy of falling income and increased demand for services brought about by the recession. Despite the tough economic outlook, we are ensuring that as much money as possible is spent on the frontline services that so many of the city’s residents and visitors depend on. However, we are not helped in this regard by the ever increasing costs of centralised regulation, inspection and bureaucracy which have resulted from 12 years of a Labour Government which is not prepared to give councils the freedom to get on with it.

We have made over £10 million of efficiency savings over the last couple of years and we are proposing a further £7 million for next year. It is my number one priority to do everything I can again this year to keep council tax as low as possible whilst protecting frontline services. To do anything else at the present time would be to let down the residents and businesses of Brighton & Hove.

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December 2009
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