At today’s budget Full Council meeting in Bristol City Hall, the city’s Green Councillors have refused to vote for the Labour Mayor’s austerity budget that proposed cuts of £34 million across Bristol, including library and public toilet closures and a large funding cut to Adult Social Care.
Councillor Eleanor Combley said: “We are entering a new dark age for council finances and this Labour administration is going into it with their eyes closed. We still know little about the nature of the ‘savings’ the Mayor is suggesting or how these will impact on the communities we represent. What we do know is that the Mayor is proposing a £6.2m cut to adult social care and a £1.5m cut to Public Health. It seems inevitable that they will hit some of the most vulnerable people in Bristol the hardest. Over the last year we have asked the Mayor to actively oppose Tory austerity in a coordinated campaign with other Core Cities. Instead of collaboration and openness from the Labour administration, we saw more empty platitudes and a shutting down of engagement, including the purge of non-Labour Cabinet members late last year. Green councillors have today refused to vote for this austerity budget as we can’t possibly support such sweeping cuts, particularly without a much clearer explanation of how and where savings would be found and any clear vision for longterm council finances.”
Councillor Combley added: “Labour like to suggest that in pushing through these Tory cuts they are being ‘responsible’. I’m afraid I cannot agree with that – I see nothing responsible in closing down libraries and defunding vital services. The harsh reality is that we’re close to the bone already – there is precious little left that can be cut without hugely impacting on the Council’s statutory duties. Instead of passing more austerity budgets year on year and eroding the country’s public services, Labour need to explore radical alternatives and take the fight to the government.”
In his speech on the budget, Councillor Stephen Clarke said:
“Again and again we hear relentlessly positive language used to describe these terrible cuts. For example: we are told that we can cut £6.2m from the adult care budget and yet still get a ‘more joined up service’...maybe. Apparently we can make it ‘easier for people to get the help they need’ in the education and skills budget while cutting £90k...possibly. We are told that we can ‘improve outcomes for children’ in the children’s care and support service while cutting 277k...really?
“Why don’t we just say it like it is?! These cuts will (combined with earlier cuts) cause devastation to frontline services.”
Mayor must take action on fossil fuel funds
Green Councillors have submitted a motion to next Tuesday’s Full Council meeting (19 March) calling on Bristol’s Labour Mayor to meet with the head of Avon Pension Fund and discuss divestment of funds away from fossil fuel industries within 5 years. Despite a similar Green motion passed in 2015 (1), the Avon Pension Fund continues to hold significant investments in fossil fuel industries. A recent UN study found that resource extraction industries are responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss. (2) Bristol’s branch of local government union UNISON (the second largest union in the UK) also backs the campaign for pension fund divestment.
Bristol Greens back return of student climate strike
Thousands of students are expected to strike over climate action once again this Friday 15 March in Bristol. Green councillors welcomed the news and praised young people for putting the Climate Emergency on the agenda.
Job Advert: [Paid] Campaigns Manager Wanted
The Bristol Green Party is looking for a Campaigns Manager to help elect Sandy Hore-Ruthven as the UK’s first Green Mayor. You will be an experienced campaigns manager and have a commitment to Green values. The role will build the groundwork for an effective campaign for the elections in May 2020. Deadlines for applications is the 21st of March.
Green Group Leader's letter to the Prime Minister
As Bristol’s Labour administration voted through a budget which takes millions from adult social care and children & families services, Eleanor Combley, Leader of the Green Group, wrote to the Prime Minister to demand an end to the “triple whammy of cuts” hitting local authorities.
Green Councillor - Labour incompetence to blame for bin collection delays
Over 200 streets in Bristol were recently impacted by bin and recycling collection delays of as much as two weeks due to the failure of ‘worn-out’ vehicles due to be replaced.
Greens refuse to vote for Labour’s ‘no action’ budget
Bristol Green councillors have abstained from voting for the Labour administration’s budget at the budget council meeting this evening. While Councillors passed successful amendments, they said the budget overall was still not good enough, lacking key action on critical areas and continuing the rollout of cuts to services voted through by Labour in the 2018 budget.
All Green amendments at today's Budget meeting
Green Councillors have proposed 5 amendments to this evening's budget meeting at full Council. They include taking action towards carbon neutrality by 2030, creating more housing and providing better bus services.
Greens: scrap City Hall perks and pay foster carers more
A Green amendment to be debated at Bristol’s budget council meeting this evening proposes to increase allowances for in-house foster carers at Bristol City Council, funded by scrapping free parking perks for councillors and reducing the size of the budget for the Mayor’s Office.
Greens present budget amendments to create more housing and save money
Green Councillors have proposed measures to Bristol’s budget meeting tomorrow that would create additional council housing and independent housing for adults with social care needs – while saving the council hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
Fund climate change adaptation, stop fly-tipping and tackle local flooding
Green councillors have submitted an amendment to next week’s budget which funds practical measures to address a wide range of challenges in Bristol, both local and city-wide. Proposals include a scheme dubbed the “puddle police” which identifies problem drains across the city to reduce local flooding, tougher enforcement action on fly-tipping, and development of a 12 year plan to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030.
Accusations of racism within Bristol City Council
We are deeply concerned at the contents of the report and condemn unequivocally any racism taking place within the council. We regard it as completely unacceptable that any officer should feel enabled to behave in a way which is discriminatory, or that any culture of bigotry should be tolerated.
Bristol needs “Clean air, not hot air Mr Mayor”
Bristol Greens have condemned the Mayor of Bristol for his failure to meet a deadline to produce a Clean Air Plan. The plan was supposed to be written by the end of 2018 and Bristol Council was given until 21 February to respond.
Bristol's Green MEP arrested in anti-nuclear bombs protest
Bristol's Green MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato, is one of three MEPs arrested after breaking into a Belgian military airbase to protest against its stockpiling of American B61 nuclear bombs
People and Power: Populism, Fascism, and How to Defend Democracy
A recording of Bristol's Green MEP recently talking on People and Power: Populism, Fascism, and How to Defend Democracy
Plans for £6m+ a year investment into buses at no cost to the Bristol taxpayer
Green councillors in Bristol and the Green Party Mayoral Candidate for 2020 have put forward an amendment to Bristol City Council’s budget to be discussed at the Council Budget meeting on Tuesday 26th. The amendment proposes a £6.5m annual investment in buses, making them more affordable, improving reliability, speed and numbers of routes, to be funded through a congestion charge on cars from outside the city.
School climate strike children’s brave stand has our support
We are inspired that our children, spurred on by the noble actions of Greta Thunberg and other striking students, are making their voices heard, say 224 academics
"Voices of young people must be heard"
Green councillors have called for Bristol’s Mayor, Bristol City Council and local teachers and parents to support those students choosing to join this Friday’s school strike on climate change. On Friday 15th February, school children from across Bristol will be taking part in the first nationwide ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ inspired by the actions of 16 year old Greta Thunberg in Sweden. This Friday, many of Bristol’s schoolchildren will be joining the 70,000 schoolchildren from 270 cities and towns across the world who have been taking part in ‘Fridays for Future’ demanding that politicians take action to confront the climate emergency.
Mayor must end support of airport expansion
"How can Mayor Marvin Rees unequivocally support the expansion of Bristol Airport (BBC Sunday Politics 3rd February), when he has voted for a Green plan to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030 and has tasked council officers to explore how to achieve this aim. Their report won’t be due until May, so on what evidence is he making this decision?
Bristol's Green Lord Mayor to save money, cut pollution with new hybrid car
Green Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Cleo Lake, has a new hybrid car for her Mayoral vehicle after the expiry of the lease on the previous diesel vehicle
Bristol Council buys new home for children in care thanks to Green budget amendment
An item coming to Bristol Council Cabinet today approved the purchase of a home for children in care, putting a budget amendment introduced by Green Group leader Councillor Eleanor Combley into practice.
Last chance to have your say on “reckless” airport expansion
There is one week left to respond to a public consultation on Bristol Airport’s expansion plans, which closes on 26 January
Government threatens legal action against Bristol Mayor over poor air quality
Government threatens legal action against Bristol Mayor over inaction on poor air quality
Bristol Green councillor named politician of the year
Councillor Carla Denyer (Clifton Down) has been named politician of the year by The Big Green Political Podcast.
Green condemnation of death threats to mayor and deputy mayor
"Westminster is now in gridlock" says MEP after Brexit vote
Responding to last night’s defeat for the government in the Brexit vote and today’s vote of confidence in the government, Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, said: “Westminster is now in gridlock. The failed leadership of Theresa May and weak or non-existent opposition from Labour’s front bench has brought us to a crisis; one which our politicians seem unable to resolve. That is why the only way forwards is to go back to the people.
Bristol Green Party welcome two city MPs supporting a People’s Vote
Senior Bristol Green Party representatives have today warmly welcomed Darren Jones MP and Kerry McCarthy MP’s publicly stated support for a 2nd Brexit referendum alongside 69 of their parliamentary colleagues but have expressed ‘bitter disappointment if not surprise’ that neither Thangam DebbonaireMP or Karin Smyth MP signed up to the call.
Labour wasting council time with attacks and “self-congratulatory cheerleading”
At a Bristol Full Council meeting today, Green councillors criticised the Labour group for wasting valuable policy space with a 'self-congratulatory' motion, and tabled amendments to the motion which would have committed all councillors to protect valuable Council services in forthcoming budget.
BRISTOL GREENS CALL FOR A PEOPLE’S VOTE ON BREXIT
BRISTOL GREENS CALL FOR A PEOPLE’S VOTE ON BREXIT
Corbyn’s Brexit stance leave Labour facing mass defections
Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s speech, Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for South West England and leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “Theresa May is plainly not the only senior politician who has mastered the art of can kicking, as Jeremy Corbyn’s speech today avoided providing definitive answers to any of the major questions facing the country over Brexit.
Action needed for Bristol to be carbon neutral by 2030
Bristol’s Green Councillors have today launched a new report outlining the action needed for Bristol to meet its new commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.