This week, Labour’s bold budget for Hastings was passed by Hastings Borough Council, placing a focus on housing and climate to tackle the multiple crises caused by over a decade of Conservative government cuts and mismanagement. Labour councillors also recognised the need to assist people across Hastings with the rising cost of living.
With over 1,000 currently experiencing homelessness across our borough, Labour councillors decides that houses would begin to be bought by Hastings Borough Council, providing homes to local people whilst balancing the budget. A new climate change fund will also be set up to provide funding to innovative projects which seek to tackle the climate emergency.
The updated corporate plan reflects the fact that the council needs to focus on addressing the housing crisis in Hastings to survive into the future. Updates include working with partners and the voluntary and community sector around health and culture; work with other organisations and Southern Water following the flooding in January and other ongoing water and sewage issues; and making sure residents are aware of the need to have ID to vote in the future.
Despite their amendments passing, Green councillors abstained from voting on the budget. Conservatives on the council voted against this bold new vision for our town.
Cllr Simon Willis, lead councillor for finance, said: “This has been a very difficult budget to put together with our finance team. The ever-increasing costs of housing with decreasing national funding mean we have had to make some difficult decisions to help us balance the budget.
“Alongside the hard work we are doing internally we will also continue to lobby the government for the funding we need to deliver our services and to provide what our residents need in these difficult financial times.”
Cllr Paul Barnett, leader of the council, said: “Our top priority for the coming year is to tackle the housing crisis we have in our town. We know that making sure our residents have safe and secure homes can start to address many of the inequalities there are within Hastings. We are looking forward to working with the many voluntary and community sector organisations within the town as we look to become an enabling council.”