As January blues begin to kick in and the grim extent of the cuts to Bristol City Council becomes even clearer, Green councillors have responded to the Mayor’s Corporate Strategy consultation 2017-2022 (1) calling for bold opposition and creative alternatives to the downward spiral of austerity.
Greens are warning that the £92 million cuts forced on the Council by the Tory austerity programme will devastate public services across Bristol. The Greens are calling upon Bristol’s Mayor to take a leading role in opposing national austerity alongside other cities, networks, unions and progressive parties. They have also put forward an alternative vision for local government financing, including calls for a return of unallocated business rates to local government and for Bristol to receive its fair share of infrastructure spending.
Leader of the Green Councillor Group, Charlie Bolton said:
“Further cuts to the council will destroy many of the public services we all rely on. Services for older people, those with disabilities, our young people and children will all be slashed. Local traffic schemes that keep our children safe as they walk to school, well-loved library services and the parks that provide the ‘green lungs’ for our city will all be affected.”
“But it doesn’t have to be like this. These cruel cuts to our services are a choice that is being made by this Tory Government – to dismantle our public services instead of raising money by closing tax loopholes, reforming our finance system, bringing good growth to our economy or increasing tax for the top 1%. Essential public services are being abandoned, yet Government remains committed to the soaring costs of replacing Trident, building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point and developing the HS2 vanity project. (2)”
Molly Scott Cato, MEP, Green Party Economics Spokesperson and Green Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West said:
“We know austerity is a downward spiral. As you cut the state you reduce job quality and tax revenue, leading to less money available for investment, which in turn cuts the state still further. It’s time to say loud and clear that austerity has failed and that we value our public services and believe they should be properly funded.”
Tony Dyer, Green Party Local Government Spokesperson and Green Parliamentary candidate for Bristol South added:
“Many of our cities are being disproportionally affected by Tory cuts. Bristol has already suffered three times more cuts than neighbouring authorities (3). The 10 Core Cities outside London are all run by Labour. They are home to almost 19 million people and contribute more than a quarter of the combined wealth of England, Wales and Scotland – so why aren’t we seeing more vocal opposition to this latest unjust assault on our services? We call upon Bristol’s Mayor to take the leading role in opposing national austerity alongside other cities, networks, unions and progressive parties. ”
1. Green Councillor response to the Corporate Strategy Consultation 2017-2022 here>>
2. The combined cost of replacing trident, building a new power station at Hinkley Point and developing HS2 will come to over £100bn.
Figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies demonstrate that cuts have not been shared equally across the country: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8780
Helping small businesses
Bristol Council is due to step back from levying street trading fees on businesses trading in suspended parking bays during the coronavirus outbreak. Instead of daily fees adding up to approx. £7000 per year, the council will instead request a yearly charge of just £100 for businesses that seek to take advantage of the social distancing measures imposed by the authority to trade in suspended bays. The move follows persistent pressure fro
Motion on reparations blocked as other parties refuse extra time
Cleo Lake's motion calling on Bristol Council to lobby the government over historic slavery reparations and support Bristol's black cultural centres has been dropped from a council meeting
Council to consult on planning changes to prevent overconcentration of student housing
Following three years of work by a cross party group of councillors, Bristol Council is consulting on a new housing planning policy designed to foster mixed and balanced communities
Enslavement reparations needed
A Green Party motion to be debated at next week’s Bristol Council meeting calls on the Council under the Mayor’s leadership to provide more support for black cultural centres in Bristol and to lobby the government to set up an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice which would discuss reparations for the trafficking and enslavement in African people.
Rebooting democracy in Bristol
Two female politicians from different parties have been working together to reboot democracy in Bristol. Green Councillor Paula O’Rourke and Labour Deputy Mayor Asher Craig are leading the ground-breaking new approach of using citizens’ assemblies to help Bristol emerge from lockdown.
Campaigning during COVID
Bristol Green Party statement on current campaigning
Drop street trading fees for local businesses
A petition is calling on Bristol Council to drop charges for local businesses trading in suspended parking bays during the coronavirus outbreak.
#GiveNTech to combat digital exclusion
Working with institutions like Avon Fire Authority and Bristol Waste, Cleo Lake’s #GiveNTech campaign to combat digital exclusion in Bristol been providing laptops to families and individuals since its launch in May.
Greens welcome 'Downs Loop' proposals
A public consultation is under way on proposals for traffic calming and turning worn paths into an accessible loop around the Downs
Citizens Assembly to steer Bristol Covid recovery
Following a motion proposed by Green Councillors in January, Bristol Council is moving forward with plans to carry out a Citizens Assembly
WECA transport plans must “walk the walk not just talk the talk” say Greens
Green councillors have said they are disappointed that WECAs cycling and infrastructure plan “lacks urgency and ambition”.
Greens welcome first steps towards addressing Bristol’s dirty air
Green councillors have welcomed the announcement that next week Bristol bridge, Baldwin Street and Union Street will be closed to through traffic and new bike lanes installed along Park Row, Upper Maudlin Street and Marlborough Street. The changes mark much needed first steps towards improving dangerous levels of air pollution in Bristol. They will also help people move safely about our city during the pandemic by making more room for walking and cycling.
Greens respond to Council licensing changes
Bristol’s Green Councillors have expressed solidarity with communities concerned about the loss of Cumulative Impact Areas, and promised to continue to support the residents they represent.
Greens support trans rights protest 18th July
Cleo Lake welcomes new statue on Colston plinth
Bristol’s former Lord Mayor and artist Cleo Lake welcomed the filling of a ‘political vacuum’ in Bristol by a black woman and black lives matter activist.
Mayor has questions to answer on investment in clean energy
Bristol’s Green Councillors say that the Mayor has tough questions to answer about the City Leap project, which was supposed to be delivering funding for clean energy across the City.
Green Budget Amendment creates more space for foster families
The first family is already benefiting from new rooms in a pilot scheme set up by Bristol City Council thanks to Green councillor Martin Fodor’s budget amendment, which pays for extra rooms in cramped council housing. Bristol has a shortage of larger council houses – the waiting list is twice as long as for smaller properties, and families needing larger homes have to wait for around 2 years.
Cleo Lake to ask Mayor to lobby government over reparations
At a Bristol Council meeting on Tuesday 7 July, Green Councillor Cleo Lake, activist and former Lord Mayor, will ask the Mayor to lobby the government to set up a commission to acknowledge, apologise and instigate reparations for the UK’s role in the Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans.
Clean air is a right not a luxury
“Our right to clean air is as basic and important as our right to clean drinking water. It’s now nearly 4 years since the Council passed a Green motion calling for a Clean Air Zone and yet despite the Council spending millions of pounds on consultants, Bristol is no closer to clean, breathable air. After four years of failure from Marvin Rees to act on clean air, I fully support protesters taking peaceful socially-distanced action to voice their frustration at the city's continuing illegal and unsafe air quality and call on the Mayor to speak with the protesters to explain just how he intends to clean up Bristol's air, with the urgency that is needed."
Good progress on homelessness but MPs must do more nationally
Green councillor and Bristol West MP candidate Carla Denyer has praised staff at Bristol City Council for their work tackling homelessness during lockdown , but highlighted that some more radical changes are still needed to fix the UK’s broken housing system. Councillor Denyer has called on the Government to do all it can to support renters, but has also made a particular plea to local Labour MP and Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire to reconsider her party’s proposals , which seem to favour landlords over their tenants.
Green Councillor Carla Denyer named one of the top women in engineering
Green Councillor Carla Denyer has been named as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2020 by the Women’s Engineering Society.
Bristol needs clean air now
As Extinction Rebellion gears up for a week of action and protests around Bristol’s illegal air quality levels, Green Councillors say clean air is now more important than ever. With growing evidence that dirty air exacerbates the impact of coronavirus and growing calls for a nationwide review on the Government’s air quality strategy, Greens say the time for talking is over – immediate action is now needed to clean up Bristol’s dangerous air.
Prevent a second wave of Coronavirus – give Bristol tools to track and trace
As lockdown restrictions are eased in Bristol, early evidence suggests the government’s ‘track and trace’ program is not reaching enough people to be effective.
Let this mark a new era for Bristol
Green Party Councillors in Bristol and the Green mayoral candidate join the voices calling for a new era to begin, now that Colston's statue, and the oppression it represents, no longer looks out over Bristol.
Safe streets needed now
As more people return to work and children return to school it is more important than ever that we have streets that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and enable social distancing, Bristol’s Green Councillors have said.
Greens of Colour call for independent COVID inquiry to factor in institutional racism
Green Party demands independent BAME Covid-19 inquiry: The Green Party has backed calls for an independent inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic people. Greens of Colour chairperson Azzees Minott said: “The government’s inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on BAME people has let communities of colour down.
Tackle rising unemployment with a Green New Deal
Green councillors have been calling for a ‘Green New Deal’ to reboot the economy, provide jobs and tackle the climate crisis. On 2nd June Bristol City Council's Cabinet meeting included the news that the Council is forecasting a funding gap of around £86 million as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is made up of a combination of loss of income and additional expenditure to pay for the response to the emergency. Unemployment is also forecast to rise steeply in coming months.
Bristol's carbon neutral 2030 target essential
Green Councillor Carla Denyer proposed Bristol Council’s original Climate Emergency motion – the first of its kind in Europe – in November 2018. She said: “Hidden away on page 107 is a warning that there is now a high risk of failure to deliver the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. This is very concerning. We cannot afford to lurch from one emergency to another. Some form of Green New Deal is essential to help the city and country to ‘build back better’. A green recovery is the only way to deal with the huge economic challenges while tackling the climate crisis, creating security and leaving behind the inequality that has damaged our society for so long.”
Secrecy and concealment as Bristol Energy loses millions of pounds
Bristol Energy has lost tens of millions of pounds of Council tax payers money, so Greens ask why this week's Cabinet meeting will hold the discussion's on what has gone wrong in secret.
Cleo Lake launches #GiveNTech campaign to tackle digital exclusion
Green Councillor Cleo Lake has launched a campaign to redistribute unused IT equipment to tackle digital exclusion during pandemic