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Time for bold investment in Bristol’s future

As a damp Bristol emerges from torrential rain, Bristol Green Party is calling for the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement to include bold investment in Bristol’s future, including investment in flood defences, developing a clear post-Brexit strategy to eliminate fuel poverty and investment in council housing. 

Bristol’s Green MEP and Bristol West parliamentary candidate, Molly Scott Cato, released a report (1) this week calling for the Chancellor to invest in projects that would make cities like Bristol fit for the future.   

Molly Scott Cato, MEP, said: 

“It’s time for the Government to ditch the hard hat posturing around vanity projects such as Hinkley, Heathrow and HS2. Instead, we need immediate investment in projects that will make a real difference to the people of Bristol and build a city fit for the future.” 

 “Effective capital investment should include a free nationwide home retrofit insulation programme, focusing on areas with the worst fuel poverty. Across the country this would cost £45bn over 5 years and could insulate 9 million homes and take at least 2 million homes out of fuel poverty, while creating well over 1000,000 jobs. In Bristol 13% of Bristol households live in fuel poverty – that’s around 25,000 households who would instantly benefit from home a retrofit project that would also stimulate the local economy and create new jobs (2).” 

Tony Dyer, Green Party local government spokesperson and parliamentary candidate for Bristol South said:   

“Tomorrow’s Autumn Statement provides a clear opportunity to invest in capital projects that generate an economic, social and environmental return on investment. In Bristol this could include constructing 4,000 energy efficient council homes for social rent (3), investment in flood defences for the Bristol area and much needed investment in transport infrastructure such as stations at Ashley Down and Portway Park and Ride (4).” 

Councillor Charlie Bolton, Leader of the Green councillor group said:   

“For many of us storm Angus may seem like the last straw in a year that has seen the country vote to leave the EU, the council announce it will be losing a fifth of its staff and the election of Donald Trump in America. But at times like this, it is more important than ever that we focus on the opportunities we have for positive change. We need to radically change the UK economy and focus on investing in projects that will build the sort of city and country we want for the future." 

Notes

1.       Greening Brexit – the need for transitional investment:  https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.greenparty.org.uk_assets_docs_Greening-2520Brexit-2520Nov16.pdf&d=CwIFaQ&c=1vnCWTgU_iH2bgveKnHUZ8hJXVq2EkkiN8FwZDwwznM&r=oxbDZTwuvhYzVJZchDZSdhVE_Xx8h08PXlAXuFxF1bA&m=P-DK8oDjPMS9otf-IijZvqR_UP3_BJ1G0zrdMorlVTo&s=GjAlzoZIuBavKmzXSWTcK5Y0vWbLGKKYyIhMxYZHBUU&e=

2.       Bristol City Council figures show 13% of Bristol households live in fuel poverty, this equates to roughly 25,000 homes. The cost of implementing energy efficiency measures such as insulation to reduce energy costs is around £5k per home, with a total cost of £125m over five years or £25m per annum. This investment could be funded through Green QE purchasing of general City Council debt.

3.       The construction of 4,000 council homes over five years (800 council owned social rent homes per year) assumes use of council owned land. The average construction cost is £60k per unit plus £5k per unit for energy efficiency measures. The overall cost of construction is £240m and could be funded through Green QE purchasing of the Council's HRA debt (currently £244m). The cost of energy efficiency measures are an additional £20m funded though Green QE purchasing of general council debt.

4.       The Mayor’s Corporate Strategy currently includes unfunded capital projects (Tier 3 of the council's draft capital programme) including rail stations at Ashley Down and Portway Park and Ride, funding for cycling, walking, rail and bus public transport improvements and investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

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