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'Reckless Tory and Labour tax freezes pushing Brighton to breaking point’

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'Reckless Tory and Labour tax freezes pushing Brighton to breaking point’

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government, Finance

'Reckless Tory and Labour tax freezes pushing Brighton to breaking point 'Reckless Tory and Labour tax freezes pushing Brighton to breaking point

Brighton and Hove faces being "pushed to breaking point" by further government cuts unless a council tax rise is brought in, the city's Greens have warned.

The Greens claim that "reckless" Labour and Tory backing for previous tax freezes and against a referendum has lost city services over £10 million.

Coalition cuts have seen £18m slashed from the city's budget, and Brighton & Hove City Council faces a budget shortfall of £25m for the coming year.

As part of its plans to address the council’s intense budget pressures, the minority Green administration has proposed a council tax rise of 5.9% to help protect essential public services.

Under government rules, this would require a referendum of Brighton & Hove residents, which to save costs would be held on the same day as elections already planned for May 2015.

A 5.9% increase is equivalent to £1.48 extra per week for a band D household. This is 99p more per week than the 1.9% default increase assumed to be Labour’s preference.

There will continue to be a council tax reduction scheme in place to support the 17,000 households with the lowest incomes.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “This coming year we face the biggest cuts to the council budget so far in this Government’s relentless austerity programme. Council budgets have unfairly borne the brunt of the government’s cuts.

"Still we are committed to delivering essential public services for our citizen. However to do this we do need to raise council tax to ensure those services can keep going as demand continues to grow while budgets shrink." ”

Chair of the Children and Young Peoples Committee Sue Shanks said: “The council has a responsibility to the children of Brighton and Hove, to ensure that they are given the very best start in life.

"Child poverty is increasing under this government and council services such as children’s centres, youth services and libraries provide an important lifeline for families. We want to ensure these valued services can keep delivering because every child matters.”

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