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Wednesday, 31st Aug 2016

Tory cuts and local Labour inaction will devastate council services

Following the announcement that on top of reducing the council’s budget by £60 million by 2020, a further £29 million will need to be saved this year, Green councillors have warned that further cuts will leave crucial council services devastated.

Leader of the Green councillors, Charlie Bolton said:

“Our council has already suffered six years of cuts from central government, and I just don’t see how this latest round of cuts can be implemented without having a devastating effect on the services that our city relies upon.”

“The Greens have long been warning that government reductions in funding to local councils combined with overly optimistic council planning will leave services that are already cut to the bone devastated. In May this year Tony Dyer, the Bristol Green Mayoral candidate and the national spokesperson for local government warned the in-coming Labour administration that the gap in council finances could be much larger than predicted. [1]”

“Despite these warnings there remains no clear plan with unions warning that the Council may be "unable to fulfil its legal duties, particularly around social care for elderly and vulnerable people" [2]. 
 

Molly Scott Cato, MEP for South West England and economics spokesperson for the Green Party said:

“Labour’s infighting is preventing proper coordinated opposition to the cuts. The people of Bristol will want to know how their MPs plan to represent them. We need to see them robustly argue in Westminster against these hugely damaging cuts to services and jobs.

“The new Prime Minister must now show she has abandoned Osborne’s savage austerity agenda and reverse these cuts. She needs to demonstrate she recognises the importance of the day-to-day services councils provide.”  

Councillor Charlie Bolton continued:

“Across the country Labour-run cities are facing a tirade of cuts, yet there is no joint campaign to effectively oppose them. I’m keen to know how Marvin plans to play a leading role, working with the local government association and our core cities partnership to develop such a campaign.”

“I am extremely worried about the announcement that up to 1 in 6 council employees could lose their jobs. I would like to know what alternatives to job-losses have been considered, and why these are being rushed through so quickly.”

“People voted Labour at the last election because they expected a credible opposition to stand up for Bristol against these devastating Tory government cut, not to just oversee jobs losses and services slashing.”

Notes

[1] In May this year Tony Dyer said “From what I have seen it has the potential to be much larger than £60million, as that is based on the assumption that there will be a four per cent increase in council tax each year. I think the council has overestimated the amount it will gain in business rates. There was also a savings scheme called the "single change programme" which was aiming to make the council more efficient in terms of its processes and job roles. The programme aimed to make £65million in savings but there is at least £13million yet to find. All in all this brings the total debt to around £80million." http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/mayoral-candidate-warns-80million-bristol-city/story-29254872-detail/story.html

[2] UNISON said the cuts could leave the Council "unable to fulfil its legal duties, particularly around social care for elderly and vulnerable people". It's now calling on Marvin Rees to list the services Bristolians can expect to see if Central Government cuts keep coming. http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/update/2016-08-22/job-losses-would-have-a-devastating-impact-on-services/

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