Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. This is our last briefing of 2023: half of Team Seagull is, as you read this, about to head off on their Christmas holidays, the rest are already gone or packing their bags. 2023 has been really great for the Seagull, but we're all a bit tired and need a break! We hope you all have wonderful few weeks, and we'll see you in the new year :)
If you worry you'll be hurting for Seagull content over the next few weeks, the team put together this meaty explainer on the recent councillor expulsions:
News This Week
Pavilion Labour selects Tom Gray as parliamentary candidate
With Caroline Lucas stepping down and Labour seeing Brighton Pavilion as a seat they can win back, the campaigning at the next election is likely to be fierce. After a hustings meeting at the Hilton Metropole hotel on Sunday, the constituency's Labour Party selected Tom Gray as their prospective parliamentary candidate, beating out local councillors Birgit Miller (Goldsmid) and Lucy Helliwell (North Portslade) and comedian and actor Suzy Izzard.
Local sources have told the Seagull that Gray marshalled a substantial phonebanking operation, both local and national, to rally support. Gray is part of the Mercury Prize-winning band Gomez, chair of the Ivors Academy music writers association and founder of the Broken Record campaign for better compensation for artists from streaming services.
Ban on conversion therapy presented to Parliament by Brighton MP
Kemptown and Peacehaven MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, has introduced a Private Members Bill, Conversion Practices (Prohibition) Bill, to the House of Commons.
It was presented to Parliament on Wednesday 6th December by Alicia Kearns, on behalf of Lloyd.
The long title of the bill is 'A Bill to prohibit practices whose predetermined purpose is to change a person’s sexual orientation or to change a person to or from being transgender; and for connected purposes.'
The next stage for this Bill, the second reading, is scheduled to take place on Friday 1st March, something which Lloyd said is a 'crucial milestone after so many years of delay from the Government's promised bill'. He said:
Once we have the date confirmed tomorrow it's about rallying support within the House to ensure it can't be blocked.
Your support will make a real difference in pushing this bill forward and making a positive impact on the lives of so many people.
Affordable homes a 'priority', says council leader
The council has set out its plans for an 'inclusive and accessible city that is open for all', after council leader Bella Sankey's speech to Brighton & Hove's Planning Agents' Forum, a group made of architects, town planners, and other planning professionals.
Councillor Sankey and councillor Liz Loughran, Chair of the Planning Committee, briefed the forum on the housing difficulties faced by the city, council plans for the future look and feel of the city, and the need for good transport links and net zero carbon emissions.
Councillor Sankey talked about the impact of poor accommodation on people's helath and wellbeing, and said that more affordable homes is a 'priority'.
We want to grow the local economy, but without affordable accommodation businesses in the city cannot recruit the staff they need.
We recognise the key role the council has in shaping Brighton & Hove as a place. We are investing in schemes like Kingsway to the Sea, the renovation of Madeira Terrace and the King Alfred Leisure Centre project. We are a listening council and we know we cannot achieve our goals on our own.
The council has launched a new website section to make it easier for residents to find information about major development schemes and home building projects in the city. The information, videos and maps can be found here.
🖋 News in Brief 🖋
- A by-election will take place to elect a ward councillor for South Portslade on Thursday 11th January, filling the vacancy caused by the resignation of councillor Les Hamilton. The candidates, and information on the election, can be found here.
- The festive period can be a difficult time for people, but Team Seagull want you to know that you're not alone. If you need help with your mental health this winter (or at any time), there are services available to help.
The Big One
What's happening? A new fundraising appeal has been launched aiming to support Brighton & Hove residents struggling to meet food and energy costs through the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Who has it been launched by? The Brighton & Hove Cost of Living Action Appeal is being run jointly by Brighton & Hove Citizens Advice and Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, with support from Brighton & Hove City Council.
How much are they hoping to raise? The appeal is aiming to raise £35,000 in response to the impact the increasing cost of living is having on people in Brighton & Hove.
What is the cost of living situation like in the city? Food and energy bills are going up and incomes aren’t rising as quickly, and that's true for everyone across the country. Food partnership members have had to step up to meet this increasing need.
Over the last year in Brighton & Hove, the demand for emergency food parcels and vouchers has risen by 25%.
City food banks gave out 1,339 emergency food parcels and 81 groceries vouchers. One in three of the recipients of emergency food help were children.
Households most likely to be in energy poverty include those where someone in the home has a disability and they have to keep utilities on for health equipment such as hoists, nebulisers and fridges for medication, as well as for warmth and cooking.
How much was raised in last year's cost of living appeal? £76,000!
How will the money be spent? All donations will be split equally, with 50% going to provide help with fuel poverty and 50% going to pay for emergency food. The fund will pay for prepayment vouchers for utilities or payments into utility accounts, alongside food parcels or food vouchers. It may also be used to purchase equipment that helps with food and fuel poverty such as slow cookers, microwaves or electric blankets.
What have those running the appeal said? Councillor Tristram Burden, Brighton & Hove City Council’s lead member for the cost of living crisis, said:
We’re seeing first-hand the devastating impact rising energy and food costs are having on our most vulnerable residents.
We’re continuing to work with our partners across the city to explore all available options for support. Funding is limited, increasing pressures on already over-stretched services.
The Cost of Living Action Appeal is a vital initiative to ensure any spare funds from citizen’s who can afford to help go where they’re needed most.
Every contribution means fewer people have to choose between heating and eating. Please donate to the appeal.
Where can I find more information on support with the cost of living? The council have information about whether you’re eligible for discounts on energy bills, and advice and tips and about saving energy and keeping your home warm. They also have information on emergency help and money advice and health and wellbeing support.