Bristol’s Green councillors voted against the Mayor’s revenue budget last night, calling for a united council and city to oppose austerity at source.
Every single vote for the Greens is a free vote. Green councillors Daniella Radice, Tess Green and Rob Telford voted against the cuts. Gus Hoyt, who in his role as assistant mayor has been working hard to draw up the budget and mitigate the worst effects of the cuts in Bristol, did not vote against the budget. He stated that although he is opposed to the austerity that has been imposed on Bristol, it is important for the city to set a budget and for people who care passionately about the city to try to make the best possible choices on how to do this.
Daniella Radice, Green group leader who spoke against austerity in the council meeting said:
"Austerity economics is hurting the poorest in Bristol. Central Government is taking money from Bristolians. Even though the Mayor and Assistant Mayors have done their best we can’t escape the reality that vulnerable people will be hurt by these unnecessary cuts, cuts imposed on Bristol by the Coalition."
Tess Green, Green deputy group leader and councillor for Southville said:
"Any suggestion of a reduction in community arts grants is short-sighted in that arts activities are the foundation of strong and resilient communities. It has been shown that the arts generate four times the amount invested in them1, and have a huge multiplier effect in the local economy."
Rob Telford, Green group whip and councillor for Ashley said:
"The red, blue and yellow parties are committed to savage spending cuts forcing our Council to cut services needed by the people of Bristol, especially the most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged. These cuts, that will destroy local democracy, have hardly started. The situation is going to get worse. But there are alternatives."
Green alternatives to austerity nationally include:
- A Robin Hood Tax to generate £121m – way above what Bristol is having taken out of its budget
- End fossil fuel subsidies and transfer to renewable energy - £12bn
- Close the £35bn tax gap by clamping down on evasion and avoidance
- Scrap Trident to invest in new green jobs - £100bn
- A better City Deal that allows citizens to choose our own priorities