Green Party plans 3.5% Brighton council tax rise

Brighton and Hove City Council will cut up to 120 posts despite plans to increase council tax by 3.5% each year for the next two years.

The Green-run council confirmed it had rejected the government's proposal to freeze council tax during its budget announcement on Thursday.

The party said the increase was the best way of protecting key services.

The Conservative Party said the budget was an "attack" on front-line services and hardworking residents.

The Green Party also plans to make £35m in savings over the two-year period and said it would try to avoid compulsory redundancies.

It said it had to increase council tax in order to balance its books following predictions that the government would cut its grant by £10.5m next year.

The party added that 100 to 120 posts would be cut and it estimated "at most 50 jobs will be lost due to vacant posts, hiring freeze and use of redeployment pool".

David Cameron called the planned council tax raise by Brighton and Hove City Council a "huge mistake" during Prime Minister's Questions last week.

'Protecting the vulnerable'

Jason Kitcat, the Greens' cabinet member for finance, said the proposals were designed to put the city's needs first, but the party had to make some difficult choices.

"In tough times we feel that in order to protect the most vulnerable in our city, we must deliver a responsible budget that protects the longer-term needs of our city.

"We will continue to consult with residents, staff, unions and partners on our proposals, which is the principal reason why we took the decision to publish these budget proposals early for cabinet in December."

The leader of the Conservative group, Geoffrey Theobald, described the budget as an "out-and-out attack" on front-line services and hardworking residents.

"When we were in administration we were always at pains to prioritise services that made this a city we could all be proud of and the Greens are now putting all that at risk."

The Labour & Co-operative deputy leader and finance spokesman, Councillor Les Hamilton, said the budget reflected "broken promises" on top-level pay and efficiency changes.

"Instead they want residents to pay for their failures with a 10.5% council tax increase over three years, while refusing the government money on offer to freeze the level of tax to help hard-pressed families, and are squeezing £1.3m more from residents and local businesses in parking fee increases."

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