Bristol Green Cllrs have been told that local Labour Councillors have been whipped to turn down all budget suggestions put forward by other political parties, despite earlier pledges from the Labour Mayor, Marvin Rees, that he would oversee a more collaborative approach to decision-making in Bristol City Council.
Councillors can put forward amendments to the Mayor’s budget, which will see cuts of £101 million and will affect frontline services across the city. All amendments must enable a balanced budget, and are debated in the chamber.
The amendments that Labour decided to vote against included Green amendment that re-directed councillor parking perks to the most vulnerable and an amendment which found an additional £1.7m at no extra cost to the tax-payer to reduce the cuts to the most vulnerable across the city.
Councillor Jude English said:
“For Labour councillors to decide to vote against all amendments from other parties, before even listening to the debate in the chamber makes a mockery of the budget meeting, and of the Mayor’s promise at the last Cabinet meeting to consider input through the amendment process.”
Councillor Eleanor Combley, who proposed Councillors relinquish their parking perks to bring in much needed revenue to reduce cuts said:
“The Mayor is asking local communities to step up or do without. They are being asked to find ways of running libraries and parks, check on elderly neighbours who are losing their safety net of a daily visit from community meals, and to find their way to some remote service point because their local council building is closing down.”
“Yet at a time when across the city front-line services to the most vulnerable are being slashed, councillors from other parties have refused to relinquish their free parking spaces that could instead be bringing in much needed revenue to support people with mental health issues, learning difficulties, sensory impairment or HIV.”
Clifton Down councillor Clive Stevens, who identified that £1.7m of money earmarked to increase reserves in five years’ time could be more sustainably directed towards solving urgent budget pressures this year said:
“After identifying this money we looked at where it could be best used to reduce the cuts across the city. I proposed to use £1m to improve the effectiveness of key services for the vulnerable or those out of food for example. Despite this, Labour have voted against this amendment which deeply saddens me and makes me wonder what they now stand for.”