Brighton Council fails to pass cuts budget after Green rebellion

Brighton_Royal_Pavilion

Green-controlled Brighton & Hove City Council failed to set a budget last week after six Green councillors voted against implementing cuts.

This could be the first example of councillors refusing to set a budget because of opposition to austerity since Liverpool’s Militant-controlled Labour council in the 1980s.

The move came at the budget setting meeting last Thursday (26th Feb), in a meeting which went late into the night,  the Argus newspaper has reported.

It follows Brighton and Hove Green Party members unanimously voting in January to demand Green councillors refuse to pass another cuts budget, as Bright Green reported at the time.

Another budget setting meeting will take place this week to try and end the deadlock. As a minority-controlled council, Labour and the Conservatives could unite to set their own budget, and if no budget is set then a budget will be implemented by a council administrator, it is understood.

The Argus reports on Thursday’s full council meeting:

“With the Greens proposing a referendum-inducing 5.9% rise and a Conservative freeze failing to gather enough support, it was the city council’s third party Labour’s 1.99% rise which became the only likely outcome – but it did not happen.

Labour’s plans relied again on sufficient support from Green councillors, with leader Jason Kitcat attempting to convince enough of his colleagues to pass a budget on the night and avoid further delays and uncertainty.

The three budget options were all voted down at the first attempt.”

Green council leader Jason Kitcat, who is not standing for election again this May,  condemned Green councillors who voted against setting a budget which involved further cuts, according to the report.

We’re also hearing that the Tories and Labour voted down a Green proposal to protect services for the vulnerable by getting rid of paid party political advisers, as well as a proposal for a 6% rise in council tax to prevent further cuts.

More updates to come.

Follow the Bright Green site for coverage of the result of the upcoming council vote on Tuesday. 

Is this a breakthrough for the anti-austerity movement? Does it set a precedent for Green councillors across the country? And where next for Brighton Greens and the council? May’s election there will be interesting indeed…

Do you live in Brighton? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

UPDATE: One of the original ‘Liverpool 47′ Militant councillors who refused to pass cuts budgets in the ’80s has sent her solidarity. A sea-change for the left – and something to unite around?

Perhaps Left Unity will now be even more inclined to back Green candidates this May after pledging to support an anti-austerity alliance.

Note: The title of this piece was changed from the initial ‘Brighton Council votes against cuts and refuses to set budget‘ after some rightly pointed out that it was not the administration as a whole which voted against a cuts budget, but was the result of the ‘Brighton Six‘ – the rebel Green councillors.

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