Bristol Green Party has today responded to the publication of an independent report (1) on the financial position of Bristol City Council saying it provides “further proof” that both local government finances and democracy are at breaking point.
The report, written by former Audit Commission Chief Executive Steve Bundred, found that the “underlying financial pressures were not of the council’s own making”. It goes on to cite the cuts to government grant income, combined with the increasing cost and rises in demand for council services, as issues directly impacting on how the council structures and funds the services it offers.
The report further highlights “a collective failure of leadership” in achieving past savings and in how the council managed the process, specifically highlighting the need for greater democratic accountability of officer reports.
Commenting on the report, leader of the Green group of councillors, Charlie Bolton, said,
“It would be easy for this report to turn into a blame game, but the term ‘collective failure’ is crucial here. This report is further proof that the council is an institution struggling under the weight of cuts and failing in part to adequately address them. Local government services and social care are being abandoned by this Tory government whilst it spends hundreds of billions of pounds replacing Trident, building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point and building HS2. Bristol City Council has already suffered savage cuts – we have seen over £170 million of cuts by central government over the last 6 years and extensive job losses within the council. We are now approaching breaking point.”
He continued, “There are clear lessons to be learnt from this report and as Greens we will continue to put forward practical and principled responses and alternatives to the cuts (2) from redirecting business rates into social care through to increasing parking charges at some sites around the city. Everyone in Bristol relies on Bristol City Council services but it is the least well-off in our city that will suffer the most from this financial mismanagement. This is a crisis for all of us who rely on the services that the Council provides and one that Green councillors will do all within their powers to mitigate.”
Tony Dyer, The Green Party’s Local Government spokesperson and parliamentary candidate for Bristol South added,
“The content of today's report is disappointing but not wholly unexpected. I have been warning of the size of Bristol’s budget deficit for many months now (3). This report is further proof that the Single Change Programme was failing to deliver on its promised savings. It was also well known that council's scrutiny function is under-resourced and undervalued resulting in the councillors being inevitably marginalised, something which must now be addressed. “
Mr Dyer pointed out that the impact of the rapid turnover of financial officers at the council on the effectiveness of the council's financial monitoring was also entirely foreseeable.
“This report has added important details but the overarching problems affecting the council's performance have been long established.”
“The report makes useful recommendations to improve the ability of Bristol City Council to oversee delivery of its services, and some of these are already being implemented. But it would be foolish to pretend that, even if all the recommendations are successfully implemented, Bristol City Council will be able to deliver the level of public services required in the face of continuing cuts to local government funding.”
(1) The full report can be seen at https://documents.vuelio.uk.com/DocumentView.aspx?id=9a3ef588-96a5-4c73-96d4-7e06d67c4be4.pdf&token=1be9adaf-2b79-49c6-8673-48c1013e93cf
(2) The Green Group of Councillors submitted a document responding to the budget consultation outlining a series of policy suggestions. This document can be seen here http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/library/recent_work_/Green_councillors_response_to_the_corporate_strategy_consultation.pdf
(3) Green Mayoral candidate Tony Dyer warned of the scale of the financial challenges facing the council back in May 2016: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/mayoral-candidate-warns-80million-bristol-city/story-29254872-detail/story.html
(4) Contact details: for further information or to arrange interviews please contact Tony Dyer on email@example.com or ring 07729690245
UK Government's 'feeble' air quality plan set to cost thousands of lives, says new report
Government proposals could lead to more than 700 lives in Bristol and more than 50,000 lives in London being cut unnecessarily short •Molly Scott Cato: ‘Conservatives’ consistent failure to take any action over this crisis is truly shameful’ • Draft Air Quality plan fails to commit to diesel scrappage scheme or new Clean Air Zones •Green MEPs’ report focuses on impacts on Brighton and Hove, Bristol, London and Oxford
Student loans condemn young people to a life in debt
Molly will today launch a new report detailing the burden of student debt and how this has increased gradually under all three main Westminster parties. The report also highlights how student loans are exacerbating the generation divide because the debt load is being used to secure the private pensions of the elderly, many of whom previously benefited from free higher education.
Campaigning Suspended following Manchester attack
Following the horrific attack in Manchester, the Bristol Green Party has suspended all election campaigning until further notice
Bristol West hustings and upcoming events:
An up-dated list of hustings and upcoming events in Bristol West
Greens act to protect our trees from Labour's cuts
Greens act to protect our trees from Labour's cuts
Bristol's Molly Scott Cato responds to 'Green Guarantee' launch
The Green Party today launched their ‘Green Guarantee’, a set of key priorities for Green MPs who are elected to Parliament on June 8th.
Bristol University research busts Grammar School 'social mobility' myth
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West, has slammed Theresa May's proposals to bring back Grammar Schools as a new study by the University of Bristol exposes the much-touted 'social mobility' myth.
Letter: Grammar schools don't boost social mobility.
In a letter to the Bristol Post, Molly Scott Cato MEP, highlights new research from Bristol University that shows that Grammar schools don't boost social mobility.
Molly Scott Cato joins March for Education in Bristol
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and the Green Party candidate for Bristol West, joined over 5,000 protesters on College Green on Saturday at a rally to defend education in the face of £33m cuts to the city's schools
Greens launch new strategy for addressing Bristol’s housing crisis
Greens today unveiled a new strategy for tackling Bristol’s housing crisis; one they say contains the ‘building blocks for a housing revolution’ in the city. Molly Scott Cato, Green Party candidate for Bristol West, and Tony Dyer, candidate in Bristol South, will launch the new housing strategy this Friday at HAB Housing in Bristol, the firm of architects set up by TV celebrity architect Kevin McCloud.
Read Greens' "blistering attack" on Tory manifesto pledge on immigration
Molly Scott Cato MEP, Green Party speaker on EU relations, has welcomed the European Parliament’s overwhelming support for the relocation of refugees in the EU , but has launched a blistering attack on the Conservatives.
Molly Scott Cato calls for end to persecution in Chechnya and Russia
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has co-authored a resolution in the European Parliament condemning the persecution of men perceived to be gay in Chechnya and Russia and calling on the authorities there to end a campaign of persecution against them .
Molly Scott Cato: Labour's manifesto is a dog's Brexit
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and the Green Party's Brexit spokesperson, has criticised the Labour Party's 'confused and contradictory' manifesto promises on Brexit.
Molly Scott Cato condemns shocking homophobic attack in Bristol
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for Bristol, has condemned the shocking homophobic attack on a 19-year-old man in the Park Street area of the city on Sunday
Greens pledge to scrap SATs and boost funding for Bristol schools
A week after 11-year-olds completed their SATS tests, the Green Party is pledging to scrap them. Launching their plans for education today, the Greens will also pledge to ditch Academies and promise to plug a £7billion funding gap facing education.
Molly Scott Cato MEP backs action as nurses vote to strike
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, has pledged her support for frontline NHS staff, as nurses vote in support of strike action
Watch: Green Party launch 'Time To Change The Game' election broadcast
Watch the Green Party's 2017 election broadcast
Greens will champion the interests of small businesses in Bristol
Molly Scott Cato, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, has pledged to be a champion for the city’s many small businesses and support the growing so-called circular economy, where resources are recovered from products at the end of their lives to be turned into new products.
Molly Scott Cato issues heartfelt thanks to Bristol nurses on Nurses' Day
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West, has pledged to be a 'powerful advocate' for nurses as the parliamentary candidate for Bristol West issued a heartfelt message of thanks to the city's nurses on Nurses' Day.
Molly Scott Cato pledges to end painful NHS privatisation experiment
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for Bristol and the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, has today pledged to fight to 'end the privatisation experiment' in the NHS and backed the Party's promise to give the health service a 'cash injection'.
Molly Scott Cato pledges action on Bristol's mental health 'crisis'
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, pledges action on the Bristol's mental health 'crisis', as the Green Party announces its key commitments to mental health wellbeing
Greens: Bristol deserves better than Labour's 'Brexit surrender'
Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party's Brexit Spokesperson and MEP for Bristol, slammed Labour's 'Brexit surrender' as the Party confirmed it sees the issue as 'settled'
Molly Scott Cato slams BBC love affair with UKIP
Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party MEP for Bristol, has slammed the BBC after it revealed plans to sideline the Greens in its election coverage . The BBC's programming plan, announced yesterday, reveals UKIP - which received far fewer votes in last week's local elections - will be given an individual election programme, which will be broadcast from Bristol. The Greens will not.
Opinion: There's one area in which Justin Trudeau is no progressive
Writing in the New Statesman, Bristol's Green MEP and Bristol West candidate, Molly Scott Cato, points out that the Canadian golden boy has a seriously dirty track record on tar sands.
Greens unveil plans to deal with air pollution ‘health emergency’ in Bristol
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, was joined by the Green’s co-leader, Caroline Lucas, in Bristol to unveil the Party's plan to tackle air pollution.
Local elections: West Country results bode well for Bristol West win
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has welcomed the emerging West Country local election results, as counting continues. The Green Party is successfully defending a number of seats while making gains across the region.
World Press Freedom Day we must stand up for freedom of expression
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, used World Press Freedom Day to highlight the dangers posed by the concentration of the UKs press and media into fewer and few hands and has echoed calls for Britain’s media regulator, Ofcom, to block Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of Sky.
Air pollution pledge from Green metro mayor candidate
Green Party candidate, Darren Hall, will today pledge to monitor air quality outside all inner city schools and make the data available to the public, if elected as West of England mayor. Mr Hall will launched the pledge outside Ashley Down School in Bristol, where air pollution is known to breach legal limits.
Watch: “It's the Tories who are irresponsible with the economy"
Molly was interviewed by chunkymark, AKA Artist Taxi Driver, while out campaigning in Bristol West. In this video they talked about the myth that the Tory government is good with the economy:
Labour's NHS plans 'far too weak', only Greens offer a 'bold solution' - Molly Scott Cato
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and the Green Party candidate for Bristol West, has today criticised the Labour Party for not being bold enough in its plans to rescue the NHS from a funding crisis imposed on it by seven years of Conservative and Coalition mismanagement.