Two Labour council leaders are supporting calls from the Green Leader of Brighton and Hove Council for the government to “come clean” on their future proposals for local government finance.
Ministers recently made comments at public events and in the House of Commons, suggesting that a future review would undermine councils' management of local finances.
Green-led Brighton and Hove began its budget-setting process early, and was the first to declare its intentions at the beginning of December. However, 26 councils of all political stripes have since followed after recognising the 'financial cliff-edge' they face after one year if they accept the one-off grant.
"The Green administration published our draft budget early to allow for proper consultation with residents,” said Bill Randall, Leader of Brighton and Hove, “But how can residents get involved in a meaningful conversation about how to protect services from government cuts if the government threatens to move the goalposts so late in the day?”
Randall added, "It flies in the face of localism to claim to give councils more power, but then apply penalties if they do something the government disagrees with”.
Bill Randall has written to other council leaders soliciting their support in asking for clarity on the content of future of government proposals. He invited them to join him demanding that “the government come clean on their threats”. The Leaders of Chesterfield and Darlington councils – both Labour - have responded with support so far.