Labour Councillors have accused Tory and Green Councillors of being ‘utterly irresponsible’ following their decision to play politics with the City Council’s budget.
The Mayor’s budget was successfully amended by Labour forcing the Mayor to rethink his long-held position preventing plans to open an new Recycling Centre on Hartcliffe Way and forced him to reverse his decision to cancel the promised new swimming pool in East Bristol.
Labour also passed several other amendments including protections for Community Transport for Older People and People Living with disabilities, additional funding for Mental Health Services, Enforcement Officers to tackling litter and fly-tipping, Welfare Rights and Community Advice Services and Council funding for Bristol Pride. These amendments received support cross-party.
Labour backed Green Party proposals to include the “Social Care Precept” in the City Council’s budget and it support the Conservative Group in passing a £9 million Housing delivery amendment.
However despite several of their own amendments passing with cross party support, Green and Tory Party Councillors then voted down the Mayor’s amended budget.
Speaking after the meeting Labour Group Leader, Helen Holland said: “I am really disappointed but not surprised by the irresponsible behaviour of local Tory and Green Councillors. At time of rising demand for social care and tightening budgets, the decision of Tory Councillors to vote against the budget because it included their own Chancellor, George Osborne’s Social Care precept was reckless. They have ducked the difficult decisions and leaving their own Deputy Mayor, who proposed the budget, high and dry. The Tories even voted against their own £9 million Housing amendment – something that Labour have rescued by supporting the Mayor’s amended budget.
“As for the Green Councillors they were in chaos. Despite having successful amended the Mayor’s budget to include additional funding for Social Care with Labour’s support, five Green councillors abstained while the rest voted against the budget claiming that they were the anti-austerity party. That means they voted against additional funding for social care, voted against protections for community transport and they even voted against opening the promised Hartcliffe Way Recycling Centre – policies they claim to support.
“Green Councillors need to come clean. Bristol’s residents need to know would they have passed an illegal budget which resulted in Bristol being run by civil servants in London? I want them to answer that question because as we know, when the Green Party was in charge of Brighton they left that City in a mess and we do not want to see the same happen to Bristol in May.
“Last night Labour Councillors did the responsible thing. We amended the Mayors budget to include important protections for vital services to get the best deal for the communities we serve in difficult circumstances.”