Bristol’s Green Councillors are pleased that key budget amendments have been agreed by Full Council, clearly showing the majority of the city’s councillors support green proposals to address some of the flaws with the Labour administration’s budget. However the status of Bristol’s budget remains uncertain as the Mayor has not announced whether he will accept the amendments which passed at Full Council tonight (15 February).
The amendments that passed in tonight’s meeting included four ones proposed by the Green party to protect 30 minutes free parking to support local businesses, fund more Residents Parking and School Streets schemes in Bristol and fund public toilets and £4m of investment into parks and local neighbourhoods.
Green Group Leader Heather Mack said:
“After repeatedly stressing the importance of setting a budget the Mayor has now opted to end tonight’s budget meeting before it could vote on and set a budget approved by the majority of councillors, leaving the Council waiting, perhaps until next week, to hear whether he will accept some, all or none of the amendments councillors have voted for.
“It’s disappointing that the Mayor is even considering ignoring the amendments that have been agreed by the majority of Bristol’s elected councillors – including by those in his own party. For Bristol’s democracy to be at the whim of one person in this way is the perfect example of why the Mayoral system needs to be replaced by a system that puts the power to set the budget in the hands of Councillors alone, and doesn’t allow one person to dictate the outcome.”
The Mayor now has 5 working days to inform the Council of whether or not he will accept amendments agreed in the meeting – the Council will vote on proposals at the second budget meeting on 2 March.
Councillor Mack said:
“I hope the Mayor will use this time to take on important amendments that were proposed by the Greens tonight such as creating new residents parking zones, school streets, reducing staff cuts, supporting union organising, investing in parks and neighbourhoods, and reopening public toilets. If he does, I expect there will be the numbers in the Council chamber to pass a better, fairer budget for Bristol, that allows the Council to avoid making some of the worst cuts planned and makes the city safer and more accessible for everyone.”
“The flood reserves which we used to counter Labour’s cuts is not due to be spent until 2026 and cannot be used for other purposes – other parties knowingly misrepresented this at the meeting. In private other councillors accepted the logic behind this amendment, but in public they clearly felt the opportunity to bash Greens was too good to pass up – a shame as it means Bristol could now miss out on protecting disabled parking spaces, union facilities time, and a million pounds worth of council staffing.”