Yes – it’s that time of year again when thoughts are turning to Christmas – and how bloody expensive it is.
But as most people will be spending the first weekend of December thinking about their household budgets – my attention will turn to the Brighton Council budget for next year.
On Sunday, December 1, I’ll be speaking at a conference on the 2014/15 council budget that’s been organised by the Brighton People’s Assembly.
I’ll be speaking about the massive Government cuts to Brighton and Hove Council’s budget, our ability (legally and politically) to raise funds locally through Council Tax and fees and charges – and how the council should set a budget with the smaller pot that results.
I’ll discuss what principles should the council should use, whether it should, for example:
Seek to preserve services / benefits for the most vulnerable?
Ensure there are no service cuts?
Ensure there are no (compulsory) job losses?
Maximise CO2 emissions reductions from council activity?
None of the above?
Something quite different?
I’ll also talk briefly about why I voted against the council budget last year – and what options, politically, exist for acting differently this year: refusing to set a budget entirely, for example, or setting a so-called ‘needs’ budget, introducing a Progressive Council Tax or Land Value Tax.
What would resistance against Tory cuts look like? What would it mean, in practise, for the left? For the residents of Brighton and Hove?
And then I’ll look at how the Green administration’s draft budget for next year measures up against these principals, and look at the impacts for people locally, before discussing the timetable – and how best for people to input into the process before final decisions are made.
The principle purpose of the meeting is to mend (and build anew) relationships between ourselves as a political party and left-leaning residents and groups in the city gathering under the people’s assembly banner.
All the Green and Labour Party councillors in the city have been invited: I hope lots of them come!
details of the conference (which will be preceded by a Green Left Commitee at the same venue at 1pm: all GL members welcome) as follows: