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Greens refuse to vote for Labour’s ‘no action’ budget

Bristol Green councillors have abstained from voting for the Labour administration’s budget at the budget council meeting this evening. Councillors said that while there were some areas of the budget they did support and they were happy they had contributed some valuable elements to the budget through successful amendments, the budget overall was still not good enough, lacking key action on critical areas and continuing the rollout of cuts to services voted through by Labour in the 2018 budget.

During the budget meeting councillors voted to pass three Green amendments to fund action towards carbon neutrality, local improvements to tackle fly tipping and street flooding, purchase more housing for adults with disabilities and enlarge existing council housing.

However despite these amendments passing Green councillors felt they could still not support the budget overall. The Group Leader Eleanor Combley said that Greens could not support a Labour budget until “they commit to actually taking the decisive steps needed to make a difference in Bristol.”

Councillor Combley said:

“Bristol’s Labour administration had the chance tonight to show leadership and courage in supporting bold actions rather than words – and they blew it.”

“Despite some positive elements in the budget such as our own amendment to kickstart work on carbon neutrality, Greens couldn’t vote for a budget with no action on clean air, no action on congestion, and no action on transport. On top of this the budget proposed increasing the Mayor’s Office funding and maintaining councillor perks while rolling out millions of pounds in cuts to Adult Social Care and Children and Families services.”

“On clean air the Labour administration is leaving Bristol to choke, preferring to kick the can down the road rather than taking action. 300 people are dying each year because of toxic air in this city – particularly in some of the most deprived areas of the city – and the administration’s continued dithering on this is a disgrace. On tackling congestion and securing better buses for the city, Labour would rather talk about improvements than make them happen, backing away from taking the bold action that’s really needed to transform the transport system in this city – an important step in achieving carbon neutrality.”

“As usual I expect Labour will attack us for not voting for various items in their budget. As they well know, we are only able to vote for the budget as a whole not for individual items – such as our successful amendment – and unfortunately despite these positive elements this budget as a whole just isn’t good enough. Actions speak louder than words, and while Labour are happy to talk about the issues affecting Bristol, they won’t have our backing until they commit to actually taking the decisive steps needed to make a difference in Bristol.”

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