Well it’s official, Councillor Jason Kitcat, the leader of Brighton & Hove Council, has failed to avoid a strike by GMB refuse collectors and street cleaners. For residents of Brighton & Hove it could be time to hold their noses during these hot summer days.
Many residents in Brighton & Hove believe the ruling Green party would prefer that there was no rubbish collection at all and everything was recycled. Some residents I have spoken with believe that Cllr Kitcat seems to be driven by a green zeal that doesn’t recognise the hard work and important role that refuse collectors play in a city like Brighton & Hove. No one can blame the council for wanting to balance the books, but rather than cutting waste and council bureaucracy, Green councillors appear more willing to cut services and the salaries of staff on the bottom rung.
It’s been reported that some staff may lose up to £4,000 per year. Parts of the public sector has rightly seen a pay freeze to bring an out of control wage bill under control, but cutting the basic salary of some of the most lowly paid staff while failing to cut out wasteful spending at the top is like a reverse of that famous man in green, Robin Hood.
What is interesting to note is that some residents of Brighton and Hove would perhaps feel more sympathy with a council taking tough decisions if Kitcat’s actions came as part of a promise to pass savings onto local residents via a reduction in Council Tax. Yet, all of this comes at a time of rising Council Tax bills for everyone in the city. Not a week goes by when we’re not informed of the latest green fad or initiative emanating from a city hall that loves nothing more than to blow taxpayers’ money on its own pet projects.
Rubbish collections are a basic council service that taxpayers rely on. A bin strike will only leave resident’s suffering. Jason Kitcat needs to accept the very welcome offer from Cllr Warren Morgan to host a meeting to get everyone back around the negotiation table and ensure that local taxpayers are getting value for money out of their bills rather than paying for their bins not to be emptied this summer.