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Thursday, 5th Jan 2017

Downward spiral of Tory cuts must be challenged

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. ”

Notes

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

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