Bristol’s Green councillors have today launched a Green Shadow Cabinet, pledging to work as a united voice for social and environmental justice across Bristol. Greens have chosen to have nine Shadow Cabinet roles, some of which are job-share, to provide leadership and accountability on the many issues that affect the city.
Leader of the Green councillor group, and newly elected Shadow Cabinet Member for Planning and City Design, Paula O’Rourke said:
“The Green Shadow Cabinet will be a voice for social and environmental justice across Bristol. We will press the council for the bold action the city needs, whether on housing, transport or the climate emergency. We hope to work collegiately with the Labour Cabinet at much as possible to get the best for Bristol. While we will aim to be a critical friend to the administration wherever we can, we also won’t shy away from using our strength in the Council to call out the administration, or hold the Labour Mayor and Cabinet to account where needed.”
“I’m so excited to get to work with such a talented and inspiring group of people. Our Green Shadow Cabinet bring skills, expertise and talent from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines. To name just a few, in the Adult Social Care Shadow Cabinet role, we have Councillor Lorraine Francis bringing her decades of front line social-work experience, working in a job-share with Councillor Tim Wye who has headed up commissioning of social care for adults in both the Council and the NHS. Councillor Christine Townsend brings 25 years of experience in state education and will take on the Education, Families and Children’s Services portfolio. And our own Hartcliffe born and bred councillor Tony Dyer will bring his extensive knowledge, experience and expertise to the role of Housing Delivery and Homes.”
Newly elected councillor Lily Fitzgibbon, who was a founding member of Bristol’s climate youth strikes, will job-share the role of Climate and Ecology shadow cabinet member with Councillor Carla Denyer who successfully pushed for Bristol to be the first city to declare a climate emergency. She said:
“We want to show the city that we must and we can do things differently. This means not only putting the climate and ecological emergency at the heart of all we do, but also enabling everyone to have a voice in the future of our city. Normalising job-share is part of this, enabling Carla and me to both bring our skills and expertise to the role. Together we will drive the council to take rapid action on the Climate and Ecological emergencies and fight the proposed expansion of Bristol Airport which would release one million tonnes of CO2 equivalents every year.”
Bristol Green councillors are the joint largest group on Bristol City Council, with Greens and Labour both getting 24 councillors elected this May. Bristol’s Mayoral system, however means that they now become the official opposition and have not been offered any posts in the Labour Mayor’s cabinet.
Leader of the Green group, Councillor Paula O’Rourke concluded:
“We are committed to working for the City and believe tribal politics should never come above the needs of the people of Bristol. But we are also equally committed to holding the administration to account where needed and pushing for what we believe is right for Bristol. I am so proud to be here, the leader of a political group which works by the principle ‘do the right thing – for its own sake’. Bristol has an opportunity to recover from the pandemic and be a stronger, healthier, Greener, and fairer city than it was before, not to return to a broken status quo. The winds of change are blowing, and Bristol politics is certainly not going to be in the doldrums over the next three years”
The Green Shadow Cabinet in full:
Photograph at top includes all shadow cabinet members other than David Wilcox and Heather Mack.
Planning and City Design – Paula O’Rourke
Development of place is one of the most important areas of change that faces our city. Paula will push for a careful balance to ensure that new buildings need to be more than just high density – they must also be good places to live and centres of the community, as well as preserving the heritage and unique style that is ‘Bristol’.
Transport and Active Travel – David Wilcox
Transport is currently one-third of Bristol’s CO2 emissions. David will work to reduce that and keep the city moving, productive, healthy and vibrant.
Finance, Governance and Performance – Heather Mack and Katy Grant (job-share)
Heather and Katy will push for transparency and rigour in the Council’s financial decisions. With only 35% of the city fully supportive of an elected Mayoral system, they are also very interested in exploring other options for city governance.
Communities, Culture, Equalities and Public Health – Barry Parsons and Ani Stafford-Townsend (job-share)
This role has included culture in its’ remit, as this is such an important sector for the city. Barry and Ani want to empower communities to act on the climate emergency and support Bristol’s cultural sector and workers. They will also believe that cleaning up Bristol’s air pollution must be a public health priority.
Education, Families and Children’s Services – Christine Townsend
Christine knows first-hand that Bristol’s children are being failed by a lack of local, suitable school places. Enabling children to attend school is a basic function of local government, and as a shadow member of cabinet she will make children’s universal service her main focus.
Adult Social Care – Lorraine Francis and Tim Wye (job share)
We are facing an adult care crisis that urgently needs to be addressed. Lorraine and Tim want to explore simplifying the Council’s procurement system so that local small organisations are not disadvantaged, and focus on how disadvantaged groups are impacted by decision makers across the City.
Climate and Ecology – Carla Denyer and Lily Fitzgibbon (iob share)
Carla and Lily will drive the council to take rapid action on the Climate Emergency and Covid recovery, push for robust actions in the recently delayed Ecological Emergency plan, and resist the disastrous proposed expansion of Bristol Airport.
Waste and Energy – Martin Fodor
We need to shift Bristol’s ambition towards reducing, reusing and recycling more and away from managing the mountain of waste. Martin will also prioritise Bristol’s local green energy projects so people can see the benefits in every street and neighbourhood.
Housing Delivery and Homes – Tony Dyer
Tony is dedicated to delivering truly affordable homes that meet the needs of Bristol’s residents whilst also contributing towards tackling the climate and ecological emergencies that must drive our housing policy.
Mayor Marvin Rees – lead on Planning and City Design
Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor – Finance, Governance and Performance
Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor – Communities, Equalities and Public Health
Councillor Helen Godwin – Women and families (Lead Member for Children’s Services)
Councillor Helen Holland – Adult Social Care
Councillor Nicola Beech – Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy
Councillor Tom Renhard – Housing Delivery and Homes
Councillor Don Alexander – Transport