Brighton and Hove referendum budget rejected

Brighton Pavilion Brighton and Hove City Council has an overall budget of about £770m

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Plans to raise council tax in Brighton and Hove by almost 5%, which would have called for a referendum, have been defeated by opposition parties.

Labour and Conservative councillors voted to block the leading Green Party's budget.

Instead, the Green Party's original budget will be considered at a full council meeting later this month.

The budget includes an increase of less than 2% and cuts of £18m to adult social care services.

The council had been proposing a council tax rise of 4.75%.

Under rules set by the government, any authority wanting to increase council tax by more than 2% must put their plans to a local vote.

'Just a gesture'

Since the 2010 General Election, several English councils have discussed holding referendums, but none have actually done so.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said he still intended to propose the referendum-prompting budget as an amendment at the meeting.

He said: "The vote last night [Thursday] was just a gesture because the 4.75% budget is what we'll propose to the council on 27 February.

"We have put forward our proposal because in the next four years there is nearly £100m coming out of our budget so we do face a serious situation."

In February 2012, Green Party plans to increase council tax by 3.5% were also defeated by opposition Conservative and Labour councillors who voted to freeze the levy.

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