Bristol Green Councillors have written to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ahead of a crucial council Budget meeting on Tuesday 21 February calling on him to provide “proper funding to invest in a fairer, greener and healthier future.”
Green councillor and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West Carla Denyer warned that without government action “the people of Bristol face catastrophic decline in services and living standards in the coming years.”
Green councillors are the largest group on the council, but decision-making is still in the hands of a Labour Mayor and minority Labour group as a result of the Mayoral system of governance, which will be replaced by the cross-party Committee system in May 2024.
“As Greens we are standing up for the city and its people and making sure the government understands the impact of its decision to leave local councils unsupported.”
Bristol’s Green councillors are calling on the government to provide the council with:
“Greens in Bristol have a number of issues with the Labour administration’s approach to the budget – for example, the inability to manage large capital projects has left the Council with significant debts, and Labour have often refused to consider Green budget proposals that could help address the city’s financial pressures.
“However the government has a responsibility to work with local councils to ensure we have the funds we need to provide the essential services people rely on. A decade of Conservative austerity has left councils around the country facing bankruptcy with no room to make further cuts.”
In the letter, the councillors say: “It makes no economic, social or environmental sense to cut local government funding to the point where councils struggle to deliver the basic services that people rightly expect and deserve.”
They urge Gove to “join local government in working to protect the most vulnerable and build resilient, joyful communities, so we can serve our communities in the way they deserve and give them hope for the future.”
Denyer pointed out that even the Conservative head of the Local Government Association has said “the numbers just do not add up,” and that “we desperately need to protect budgets and services from the impact of inflation, without which there will be real service cuts to some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Emma Edwards, the leader of Bristol Green Councillor Group said:
“As councillors, we work hard to support residents and build communities that are fairer, greener and healthier.
“In order to do so effectively, councils need a government guarantee that we will receive an increase in all council budgets in line with inflation and a three-year funding settlement.
“We need that funding certainty so vital services can continue to be delivered and we can increase investment in adult and child social care. We also need to insulate homes to make them warmer and cheaper for residents to run.”
You can read the letter sent to Michael Gove here..