At a Bristol Full Council meeting today, Green councillors criticised the Labour group for wasting Councillors time pushing a self-congratulatory motion, and tabled an amendment to the motion which would have committed all councillors to protect valuable Council services in forthcoming budget – however the Labour group joined the Conservatives in voting this amendment down.
Council meetings take place just 10 times per year and are valuable opportunities for local politicians to debate and influence local policy, partly through putting motions to the meeting. For example previous motions brought by the Green group have committed Bristol to a 2030 target for carbon neutrality, forced a vote on the Temple Meads Arena, and launched council work towards implementing Clean Air Zone. Last year Labour amended the rules so that the number of motions they are allowed to propose for debate doubled, while the opportunities for every other party halved.
During the debate the Labour motion was criticised by councillors from all opposition parties who characterised it as “pointless” and argued it contained little of substance other than praising the administration.
Speaking on the motion, Green Councillor Charlie Bolton said:
“The motion tells us how Labour brought forward a progressive budget last year. This was the one with £30million plus of cuts.
“Next time I see someone sleeping rough, I can say to them, ‘don’t worry, you may be homeless, but Bristol Labour passed a progressive budget’. People of Bristol – this is not a pot hole. It’s a progressive Labour Party pot hole. Public toilets closed? Fear not – Labour Bristol are taking the progressive pee.
“I could go on, but frankly, why bother. We could all turn Bristol into a version of Trumpsville. We could spend the next 16 months coming up with this sort of drivel – back and forth, back and forth. Alternatively, we could actually take a step back. I know Labour can be better than this – can’t we collectively agree to actually try to raise the level of debate slightly higher than this nonsense?”
Green councillors tabled an amendment to the motion which removed preamble text celebrating the Mayor and would have committed the administration to “protecting support for the most vulnerable through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Local Crisis and Prevention Fund, and standing up for local services” – however this was voted down by Labour and Conservative councillors.
Group leader Eleanor Combley said: “Why are Labour wasting the Council’s time with self-congratulatory cheerleading when, as we saw from the petitions at this meeting on dangerous pesticides, saving Hamilton House and the future of the Bear Pit, there are so many issues that Bristolians would rather see a vote and decision on.
“Opportunities for parties to debate motions at council meetings like this are few and far between and it’s a shame that Labour sought to use theirs to pat themselves on the back rather than addressing any of the issues facing Bristol today. In fact the whole meeting, including Member Forum questions, was dominated by tribal and partisan politics from a Labour administration repeatedly attacking the Greens, including for not voting for Labour’s austerity budget last year, which contained £5m in cuts to Special Education Needs support later ruled as illegal by the High Court.
“Labour know full well we are opposed to austerity. They like to talk about working together but then behave like this. This is not leadership. You can’t bully people into wanting to support and work with you by constant sniping, point scoring and stretching the truth to breaking point.”
- Full text of Green amendment with tracked changes is attached here.
Making Steps Towards Carbon Neutrality
Green councillors have welcomed the first steps at Bristol Council towards work for Bristol to go carbon neutral by 2030.
South West Greens launch ‘re-elect Molly’ European election campaign
The Green Party in the South West today launched their European election campaign. The Party will push for the re-election of Molly Scott Cato, who has a strong track record of achievement in the European parliament and is a leading and well-respected voice of opposition to Brexit both within the South West region and nationally.
Open letter to EU citizens in Bristol
Leaders of the opposition parties in Bristol joined together today to send an open letter to EU citizens living in Bristol.
Bristol Greens welcome Magid Magid
Green Councillors and candidates in Bristol are today (8 April) hosting Magid Magid, Green Lord Mayor of Sheffield
Green Councillors welcome landlord licensing extension
A cabinet meeting on Tuesday 2 April approved extension of Bristol Council's landlord licensing scheme to 12 wards in Central Bristol. Green Councillor Carla Denyer welcomed the decision.
Green Councillors condemn Mayor’s delay on clean air action
After repeatedly missing air quality deadlines set by the national government, Bristol’s Labour administration has gone back to the drawing board. The Council now expects to submit a final clean air plan a full year after the original deadline.
Bristol’s twin city in Mozambique devastated by cyclone – how you can help
After Bristol’s twin city Beira was devastated by a cyclone, a fundraising campaign has been set up by our city’s twinning association to help rebuild Beira directly and sustainably.
Green letter re Brexit shambles
Letter re Brexit-balls
Mayor refuses to come clean on ex-chief executive pay-off
Green councillors have said they are concerned and frustrated that Bristol's Labour Mayor refused to answer questions at yesterday's Full Council meeting about the controversial pay-off of the Council's ex-chief executive. A report into the severance package found that there was a lack of transparency over the £196,000 pay-off provided. The Mayor refused to answer questions from councillors and the public on why the administration chose to pay the full pay-off and why the payment decision did not go to the HR committee unlike other payments to departing senior officers.
Did Mayor lie about ex-chief executive pay-off?
Greens councillors will be asking the Labour Mayor next week why the Council’s ex-chief executive received a £196,000 severance package, half of which was discretionary, following a report that confirms their concerns over the process used and it’s lack of transparency.
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.