Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Hundreds of protesters expected as Labour and Greens to unite “for the good of the city” to fight Conservative budget plans in Brighton and Hove - including plan to scrap Hove cycle lane

1 March 2011. Protests are expected inside and outside Brighton Town Hall this Thursday 3 March, when the City Council debates the budget for the coming year. Labour and Green councillors announced today they will unite to table joint amendments to the Tory administration’s budget at Brighton and Hove City Council's budget meeting. Meanwhile, outside the Town Hall, Stop The Cuts protesters will march from Kings House to Brighton. The Brighton Argus today estimated 'hundreds' would join the Stop The Cuts protests. A smaller group of cycle protesters will gather at Hove Town Hall to join the protests. The protesters are expected to arrive outside Brighton Town Hall at 4pm.

The Tory/LibDem Coalition Government imposes spending cuts of £82.5 million on Brighton Hove during the next four years, with £34 million to be cut this year.

The Conservative council budget proposals also propose a 1% reduction in council tax, while spending £1.1m demolishing a cycle lane and $4.5m building car parks.

The Labour and Green proposals include reversal of the Tory plan to reduce council tax by 1%. Their press release issued today says: "The £1.1 million it takes from the budget would be used more effectively and fairly to protect local services and jobs for the general good of the city."

They will also oppose the Conservatives' plans to tear up the cycle lane in Hove, "saving about £1 million that can be spent sensibly elsewhere".

“We’re uniting for the good of the city,” said Brighton and Hove Labour Leader, Gill Mitchell. “The Tory budget is reckless and unstable and based more on election gimmicks than sound financial planning.”

Green Party Convenor Bill Randall said: “We have put aside political differences to oppose the cuts that will increase inequality in the city, victimise the vulnerable and penalise the poor. Furthermore 250 council jobs will be lost. Putting together our proposals has been very difficult because we have been denied access to information by the Tories who are intent on putting the whole city into reverse.”

Details of the Labour/Green joint amendments will be released later today. The council has seats for 54 councillors. 25 are Conservative, 13 are Labour, 13 are Green one is LibDem, one is independent and one is vacant.

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