Greens secure support for a ‘Green New Deal’ plan to support communities, environment and reduce poverty
The city council will invest a further £11m to tackle climate change, the housing crisis and prevent cuts – thanks to Green changes to the city’s budget agreed today.
With just 10 years left to avert climate chaos, Greens proposed a number of changes to the Labour Council’s budget for 2020/21, calling on all parties to do more to prevent climate crisis and to support local communities.
Greens say that the council will fail to reduce toxic emissions by 2030 if budgets for climate change work do not increase.
While opposition parties are only granted limited changes to the city’s spending plans, key Green proposals were accepted, including:
– a further £3.9m to fund transport improvements in the city
– funding to support the recommendations made by residents participating in the ‘Climate Assembly,’
– £2.6m for a new city-wide insulation programme, to provide warmer homes
– funding to increase tree planting, community composting and food schemes
-a reduction in the cost of trader’s parking permits
– support for domestic violence services and youth work
You can view all Green amendments here: http://bit.ly/GreenProposals2020
The budget changes made by Greens also reverse over £400k of cuts to community services, reducing a £1.47m cut to learning disability services and overturning cuts to school support, short breaks for carers and the city’s communities fund. Plans to make cuts to community services in the current Labour budget had been criticised by Greens and campaigners, who raised concerns about the damaging impact on vulnerable residents.
Greens also called on all parties to do more to prevent climate change – raising concerns over the levels of funding for environment work proposed in the Labour budget. Thanks to Greens, the council will now increase the budget available for sustainability and carbon reduction work, including support for the city’s upcoming Climate Assembly.
A joint amendment between all three parties on the council has also secured further funding for Madeira Terraces, with Green amendments proposing additional support for a ‘masterplan’ to restore the crumbling arches.
Greens say support for their budget proposals are an essential step to increase the council’s work on the climate emergency, so the city can achieve its ‘carbon neutral’ target by 2030.
Opposition Finance Spokesperson Green Councillor David Gibson welcomed the support for Green proposals, and commented:
“Greens are delighted that council has supported our plans for the budget. We have hugely increased the council’s ability to tackle climate change – but we all need to do much more to prevent climate crisis.
Our amendments also provide additional support to prevent homelessness, when our city is in the midst of a housing crisis. We are also relieved that damaging communities and equalities cuts will now be reversed as a result of our amendments. Greens found additional funding to support youth services, short breaks for carers and domestic violence work – services we know are under increased pressure.
“However this is just the start of the process – in the months ahead, Greens will ensure our ambitious budget proposals turn into action. We will keep up the call on the Labour Council to bring forward plans for warmer homes, transport improvements and community services.
“Finally, we look forward to hearing the recommendations of the upcoming city climate assembly, which will bring residents together to discuss how we should tackle our climate emergency. Greens sought to put residents at the heart of our changes to the budget – and our communities must be at the heart of recommendations for the future, too.”
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, leader of the opposition commented:
“We have known for some time that the poorest bear the worst brunt of not just budget cuts but climate chaos too. So at the heart of the Green approach to the budget is a strong commitment to environmental action alongside social justice.
“I am delighted that our budget amendments were supported today. They will now change the Labour Council’s budget for the better. Our changes are the building blocks of a Green New Deal for Brighton and Hove, coupling environmental justice with social justice. We need this more than ever – as our city faces the monumental challenges of a spiralling climate emergency, an affordable housing crisis and continued cuts to public services.
“As we have repeatedly said: this year’s budget needs to reflect the ambition and resources needed to ensure we reduce our carbon footprint by 2030. Green amendments stop our city’s problem getting even worse, by funding services that deliver both for our communities and our environment. For example, tackling fuel poverty through an insulation programme, and creating new jobs that will improve our transport offer and support our wildlife.
“Green amendments put back £1.34m of recurrent funding – available in future years – and £10.2m of one-off funding in to the budget for 2020/21. We put our money where our mouth is: there is a crisis and Greens have found the money to fund it, all without cutting services already at breaking point.”