22 February 2018
Green budget proposals plan for future of city in face of housing crisis and climate change
Work by the Green Group of Councillors on the Labour Council’s budget has identified fresh income that the Greens want to see used to prevent homelessness, protect services and boost environmentally friendly initiatives that will leave the city ‘fit for the future.’
Green Finance Lead Councillor Ollie Sykes commented:
“Our city is a genuinely special place but many of our residents are already suffering the impact of years of budget cuts to council services. Unfortunately, the Labour budget is half-hearted in response to issues of homelessness and housing, the environment and key services such as social care. It’s a disappointing budget, lacking in ambition and empathy.
“Greens have worked hard to develop amendments that address a number of the gaps in Labour’s plans, without taking funds away from essential services. Our amendments reverse some cuts to social care, reinstate warm homes grants for those with disabilities and install Wi-Fi in sheltered housing. They will bring some emergency accommodation provision back in house, saving the council money and providing a safer environment for homeless people. Our amendments will kick start a number of sustainability initiatives that have been languishing under Labour, including food waste collection, district heat development and looking at a local solar farm. We want to install more bike parking and use money currently used to subsidise free parking for Councillors to reduce the proposed cut to Home to School transport.
“With Greens the only group putting in budget amendments this year, we want to address homelessness, fuel poverty and make the city fit for the future. Crucially, our proposals support residents but they also save money down the line. They are good for the city and good for the council and we hope they are supported.”
Convenor of the Green Group Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty added:
“Councils cannot afford to ignore the warning signs that years of cuts are failing. Three events have rocked local government in the last year: the Grenfell fire warned us of the horror of deregulation. Northamptonshire County Council going bankrupt has exposed the failure of cuts to help communities. The collapse of private sector giant Carillion reminded us that councils rely on outsourcing too heavily and at huge risk to public services. At the heart of all three is standing proof that cuts, eight years after their introduction mixed with the madness of the market have been a complete disaster.
“We cannot rescue the budget, merely amend it – but our proposals push for bold alternatives that centre around fairness for our residents and our environment. They are based on the strong evidence that bringing services back in-house saves the Council money, and that through reducing our reliance on private companies, we can provide more stable services and bring down costs for residents. This has to be explored. Labour have drawn up a political pact with the Conservatives to assure their plans pass – but we hope they still consider proposals that genuinely benefit residents.”
Greens have published their vision for the council’s budget in 2018, setting out their priorities, principles and their view on the cuts proposed by the Labour Council.
You can read the Green Group of Councillors’ budget paper here