Following The Chancellor of the Exchequer unveiling his Budget to Parliament in March this year; Brighton and Hove Council have followed suit.
They have now set their budget for the financial year of 2014 and 2015. They aim to address inequality as well as deal with the challenges of a reduction in funding from Government.
The main focus of this year’s budget is protecting existing services for residents, visitors and businesses, as well as investing in social care and public health. The budget also emphasises the need to update the council’s ICT infrastructure; the council’s capital investment programme will see £80 million invested in council services.
£11.3 million will be spent on primary schools in the area, £34 million on housing and £7.8 million in new transport and street lighting schemes. Savings of over £16.7 million will also be made in the year ahead which is much needed as a result of government reductions in funding to the council, and increased demand for some services.
2014 is also the year that has seen the council introduce the NHS Get Smokefree initiative in the Brighton and Hove area. The scheme has been adopted in a bid to promote healthier living and a range of support services are now accessible for residents.
Smokers can also receive face-to-face support form pharmacies and local NHS Stop Smoking Services and can also download the Smokefree App on their mobile phones. A Quit Kit can also be accessed for those eager to stop, as can a daily email and text support service. These resources are available through www.quitnow.smokefree.nhs.uk.
Brighton & Hove Stop Smoking Service support individuals through their journey and offers advice, support and nicotine replacement therapies. The stop smoking service also runs a range of support groups including Drop-in clinics and one-to-one sessions at venues across Brighton. Stop smoking clinics are also accessible in workplaces across Brighton and Hove and are run by specialist advisors.
The council has also introduced a Broadband voucher scheme, which provides funding of up to £3,000 for small businesses and charities or voluntary organisations to access faster broadband connection speeds. The scheme also benefits Landlords or tenants in shared commercial buildings as it allows them to pool their vouchers to pay for a shared connection with high bandwidth. The scheme uses Super Connected Cities funding from the government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport.
Local businesses can see if they are eligible for the Connection Voucher Scheme via the superconnected cities website. All Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with premises in Brighton & Hove are eligible and can submit their application online.
The council have recently launched the ‘HERE HERE’ campaign which is an exciting new partnership initiative aiming to bring people and nature closer together, in the Brighton & Hove and Lewes Downs area, through becoming a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The council thinks the reserve will help everyone in the area to improve how they care for and enjoy the local environment.
The council is dedicated to making Brighton and Hove a lovely environment to live and pledge to make the residents at the heart of their decisions. They aim to respond to any queries quickly and provide a plethora of services to ensure that someone is always available to deal with residents issues.