Saturday, 28 January 2012

Brighton and Hove Labour councillors join Tories on council tax

Labour say they oppose the Tories but locally whose side are they on?

It was always assumed that Brighton and Hove Conservatives would vote for a council tax freeze in the city, supporting their national party policy.

But for the first time yesterday (Thursday 26 January) Brighton and Hove Labour councillors formally declared themselves in alliance with the Conservatives, saying they would likely reject the Greens' proposals for a 3.5% council tax rise.

They chose instead the Tories' tax 'freeze' and the £5.4m in cuts to council services that would accompany such a freeze.

The council motion carries no weight and has no effect on the budget proposals themselves: it was just indicative of party feelings.

Green cabinet member for finance, Councillor Jason Kitcat said, "City politics have gone in a bizarre direction for the Labour Party to be uniting with the Conservatives to impose an additional £5.4m in cuts on the people of Brighton and Hove.

"We already face huge austerity measures from the Conservatives in Westminster and now Labour says it will be helping the Conservatives to make things even tougher in our city.

"These 'blue Labour' councillors have spent the last two months criticising the Greens for what they call frontline cuts.

"Now they're declaring that if they had their way, they would impose a further £5.4m reduction in services.

"Yet they don't seem to know how they would fund the £5.4m that the tax freeze would cost. So we call on the Labour councillors to get their act together and reveal their cuts in detail.

"We gave the city plenty of time to look at our proposals and suggest amendments, to which we listened.

"It's only fair on the people of our city that the both Labour and Conservative councillors should reveal their cuts or admit that they don't actually know how they would balance the books.

"It's time for them to put up or shut up."

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