Bristol Green Party Logo

Wednesday, 18th Feb 2015

Green Group statement on Bristol Council's 'austerity' budget

Bristol Council's 2015/16 'austerity’ budget:  hurting the most vulnerable and reducing public services.  

Edited from Charlie Bolton’s speech to council budget meeting, 17th, Feb, 2015

The funding cuts continue to dominate thinking in local government.  They are part of the coalition government austerity programme which we, as Greens,  believe is quite simply wrong.  The cut of £80 million pounds, over three years to 2017, is a quarter of our total expenditure, and a lot to lose.  But, we understand from senior officers,  that whoever wins the forthcoming general election,  the effect in Bristol is likely to be a further loss of another 12%, or £45million, over the first two years of the next government.

The cuts are not an act of necessity: they are an act of ideology.    They victimise those who did not cause the crisis in the first place, and discriminate disproportionately against the poorest and most vulnerable in society.     Some cuts are quite simply vicious:  55% of recipients of Disability Living Allowance have either had their benefit cut, or seen it entirely removed.

But, they are also ineffective:  the Coalition austerity programme - designed to cut debt - has seen the debt increase by about 80% from 2010 levels.

At a national level, the alternative to austerity is simple:  it is to forgo austerity.   Alternative economic models do exist that suggest that you can spend your way out of recession and pay the money off in the good times. The Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that the coalition approach of cuts has potentially set the UK economy back to the tune of £100 billion.  

At a local level, we want to propose prudential borrowing to generate further income.  We suggest investing in the profitable City Design Team, and increasing funding to the council’s Energy Company - both of which could bring in income, and would be sustainable activities.  We do not agree that the MetroBus will radically alter bus usage in the city.  But we do want to see a quadrupling of the number of bus users in the city -  by creating more bus routes going to further parts of the city - and we also want to promote investment in infrastructure projects to increase cycling and walking activities.  

In addition, we are pleased to support the amendments for the new recycling centre in Hartcliffe, and a swimming pool in East Bristol - both much needed public amenities.

Overall, we agree with the intention and specifics of many of the proposed amendments  -  we praise council officers for their acumen in managing the cuts process:  it could have been much worse -  but we caution against being too complacent.  This time next year we will have the same, if not more savage, cuts to decide upon.

As Greens, we want to see a socially just and environmentally sustainable city, country and planet.   In Bristol, there are some positive moves towards sustainability.   Bristolians, however, are only going to consider their long term prospects when their short term future is secure.  

And, against the backdrop of the cuts, too many poorer and vulnerable people have been made victims in ways which can only increase their desperation.


Edited from Tim Malnick’s speech to council budget meeting, 17th, Feb, 2015

It’s completely clear to me that, as city councillors, we are discussing a city budget, the main parameters of which are dictated entirely outside our city – from Whitehall.

The Mayor doesn’t choose the budget he has to work with;  the revenue he raises and the funding he receives are largely outside of his control;  officers only choose what and where to cut, to do least damage -  but they will get the flak, when services start to struggle.

Local people here in Bristol have little choice over where central government cuts fall hardest.  

But the chancellor can choose.   He has made clear, conscious choices, each and every one of which affects the details of the budget, the options available, and the daily lives of people in Bristol.  From 2010,  he has chosen to cut more from local government spending than from any other area of government.

And the chancellor chooses, quite deliberately, to tell a particular story: a story that divides us into ‘workers and shirkers’, ‘hard working families and benefits cheats’ – when he knows full well that most benefit claimants are in work, have families and require help because their job contracts are too vulnerable, their wages are too low and their living costs too high. 

**

Having chaired the budget scrutiny committee I know there is much to support in the hard work behind this budget.  There is much on the horizon that is exciting for the city and gives us hope. 

My Green Party colleagues and I will continue to work hard, with officers and all members:  to develop the case for devolution – so our city has more say over how to raise and manage our own funds; to support initiatives like the energy company when, but only when, there are clear social, environmental and local economic benefits; to find funding models that let us leverage the money we do have to enable 3rd sector organisations and local SMEs to provide the goods and services we need and tackle our long term problems.   

In voting against the budget today, we are voting in support of all those exploring an economics based on human decency and real wealth.   

In voting against this budget today we are joining a growing movement in Bristol in the UK and across Europe that says,  "Enough. The price of austerity is not one worth paying. It costs more than it actually delivers.”


Comment from Darren Hall, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West:

“Most people are now aware that the government’s austerity strategy is just a smokescreen for ideological cuts to the public sector and has very little to do with the deficit.   Having worked in the civil service for over 10 years, I am horrified at the shameful destruction of the social systems that provide the foundations for our society, and especially those people that need our help the most. From legal aid to mental health, they are ripping chunks out of our society, and Big Society is just a laughable memory.

I think local councils, including Bristol’s, are managing to weather the cuts as best they can - but many are now at breaking point. It cannot, and should not continue."  

Greens criticise lack of action as climate and transport proposal is blocked

Greens criticise lack of action as climate and transport proposal is blocked

Green councillors have criticised what they called a “business as usual” approach as Labour and Tory councillors voted down a Green amendment to tackle Bristol’s transport issues and reduce carbon emissions.

Green Party welcomes Greta Thunberg to Bristol

Green Party welcomes Greta Thunberg to Bristol

Greta Thunberg has announced she will be visiting Bristol on Friday 28 February to join a Youth Strike 4 Climate demo.

Green budget amendment tackles transport and climate crisis

Green budget amendment tackles transport and climate crisis

Green Councillors have submitted an amendment to next week’s Council budget meeting to deal with Bristol's gridlocked transport system and boost the Council’s work to tackle the climate emergency.

Regions Transport Plan must be changed in light of Climate Emergency

Region’s Transport Plan must be changed in light of Climate Emergency

Green Mayoral candidate, Climate Emergency leader, and UWE transport expert call on the Metro Mayor and Council leaders not to approve the Joint Local Transport Plan in its current form next month, stating that proposed new roads will worsen the climate crisis and congestion.

Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected

Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected

Press Release from Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN), one of the key campaigning organisations .

Chocolate Path melts into river after council fails to act

Chocolate Path 'melts' into river after council fails to act

Green Councillors have accused Bristol's Labour administration of “enormous incompetence” for failing to carry out important works to repair Bristol’s ‘chocolate path’ long after funding was approved in September 2018, leading to its recent collapse and the closure of Cumberland road.

Why we need to tackle the ecological emergency too

Why we need to tackle the ecological emergency too

Carla Denyer writes for 24/7 about why we need to address the Ecological Emergency as well as the Climate Emergency

Greens to join march against Bristol Airport Expansion

Greens to join march against Bristol Airport Expansion

Bristol Green Councillors will be joining a march taking place 31 January in the city against the expansion of Bristol airport, as the planning decision in North Somerset draws nearer, with the date now set for 10 Feb.

Council passes Green motion to reboot democracy with Citizens Assemblies

Council passes Green motion to ‘reboot democracy’ with Citizens' Assemblies

At Full Council today (14 January) a Green Party motion passed to ‘reboot democracy’, committing Bristol to trialling participatory democracy schemes such as citizens’ assemblies.

Mayor continues to support airport expansion

Mayor continues to support airport expansion

Despite growing pressure from climate activists, local councils and Greens, Bristol’s Labour Mayor Marvin Rees continues to back the expansion of Bristol Airport, a development Greens say is incompatible with Bristol's own carbon neutrality targets.

Reboot democracy with Citizens Assemblies

'Reboot democracy' with Citizens' Assemblies

Green Councillors in Bristol have proposed putting decision making on some major issues in the hands of ordinary Bristolians through ‘Citizens’ Assemblies’ and other forms of participatory democracy.

Bristol Labour block opportunity to oppose airport expansion

Bristol Labour block opportunity to oppose airport expansion

Labour and Tory councillors voted against providing time to debate the Green motion in what could be the last chance for the council to make a statement before the planning decision at North Somerset Council.

Rescuing Our Healthcare  with 6 billion per year

Rescuing Our Healthcare - with £6 billion per year

We will push the government to prioritise the health and happiness of those in Bristol and across the UK.

Green Party Manifesto  to tackle Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice

Green Party Manifesto - to tackle Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.

A Green New Deal to tackle the Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.

One year on from declaring a Climate Emergency  is Bristol on track

One year on from declaring a Climate Emergency – is Bristol on track?

One year after declaring a Climate Emergency in Bristol, Greens say new information from environmental group shows the city needs to radically step up action to meet climate targets.

Green candidate Carla Denyer will be only Unite to Remain candidate in Bristol West

Green candidate Carla Denyer will be only ‘Unite to Remain’ candidate in Bristol West

Greens bid to win Bristol West  launch crowdfunder

Greens bid to win Bristol West – launch crowdfunder

Candidate Carla Denyer has launched a crowdfunder campaign aiming to raise enough funds to take the seat from Labour. Greens in strong position to win after Euro results place them ahead of Lib Dems, and Labour suffered devastating electoral defeat.

Tinkering around the edges is no longer good enough say Greens

‘Tinkering around the edges is no longer good enough’ say Greens

Green Mayoral Candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven responds to the Mayor’s State of the City address saying Bristol needs action not words. Greens say bold, immediate moves are needed to combat the social and environmental crises.

Report on former Chief Exec payoff

Report on former Chief Exec payoff

Green Councillor Clive Stevens has completed a report into why the Council made a £98,000 payoff to former chief executive Anna Klonowski

Greens send letter to the city to encourage all to hear Extinction Rebellion warning

Greens send letter to the city to encourage all to hear Extinction Rebellion warning

Green MP and Mayoral candidates Carla Denyer and Sandy Hore-Ruthven have issued a letter to the people of Bristol today, calling on the city to face up to the climate crisis.

Better buses starts with tackling congestion say Greens

Better buses starts with tackling congestion, say Greens

At a Cabinet meeting today (1 October), Greens called for bolder action to improve public transport in Bristol.

Mayor misses third government deadline on Clean Air plan

Mayor misses third government deadline on Clean Air plan

Today Bristol City Council has missed the third deadline set by national government to submit a plan to clean up Bristol’s air. Green Mayoral candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven has called for immediate action.

Nearly 1 year after Climate Emergency declared progress is too slow say Greens

Nearly 1 year after Climate Emergency declared, progress is too slow, say Greens

The Green Councillor who launched Bristol’s ‘Climate Emergency’ motion in November 2018 has called on councillors from all parties to join her in pressing the administration for urgent action.

Green Party sets sights on second Westminster seat  Bristol West

Green Party sets sights on second Westminster seat – Bristol West

Bristol West MP candidate Carla Denyer launched her campaign at the Bristol climate strike. Her climate emergency declaration was the first in Europe – driving action on climate change across the continent. Greens aim to elect a second MP to join Caroline Lucas in Westminster after European Elections win.

Green Party chooses Climate Emergency campaigner Carla Denyer to win Bristol West parliamentary seat

Green Party chooses Climate Emergency campaigner Carla Denyer to win Bristol West parliamentary seat

Former wind turbine engineer and current city councillor, Carla Denyer, has been picked to contest the winnable seat of Bristol West for the Green Party at the coming General Election.

Labour Mayor refuses to back Climate Strike

Labour Mayor refuses to back Climate Strike

Bristol’s Labour Mayor has refused to support Council workers taking part in what could be the world’s biggest ever Climate Strike on 20th September, after a Green Councillor asked him to do so at a Council meeting.

Labour vote down Green policies in Green New Deal

Labour vote down Green policies in ‘Green New Deal’

Green Councillors accused the Mayor of substituting empty words for climate action this evening (10 Sep. 19), at a Full Council meeting where Labour proposed a ‘Green New Deal’ motion but rejected a Green amendment to add practical policy commitments to it.

Environmental Lawyers put Bristol Council On Notice over climate inaction

Environmental Lawyers put Bristol Council ‘On Notice’ over climate inaction

Lawyers from leading environmental law charity ClientEarth have put Bristol City Council “on notice” over its lack of proper climate change plans, giving them eight weeks to explain how planning policy will incorporate carbon reduction targets.

Green Climate Emergency councillor calls on Mayor to support Climate Strikers

Green ‘Climate Emergency’ councillor calls on Mayor to support Climate Strikers

At a council meeting this evening Carla Denyer, the Green Party Councillor who initiated Bristol's declaration of a Climate Emergency, will ask Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees if he will support Council workers taking time off to join the Global Climate Strike of September 20.

Job Advert Campaign Manager wanted

Job Advert: Campaign Manager wanted

Could you work for Bristol Green Party? We're currently recruiting for a paid Campaign Manager to work on the Green Party Mayoral 2020 Campaign.

We use cookies on our website to improve your experience, by using our website you accept the use of these cookies. Read More Close