Local Lib Dems have launched a petition after an increased level of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests for the secret financial information about the millions of pounds given to Bristol City Council to support European Green Capital 2015.
The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the full financial details of the Green Capital year be published as it ends. This petition calls upon the council to provide full and transparent accounts for the use of the £8million of public money spent through the council and Bristol 2015 Ltd (a company set up by the council to run the city’s green capital year). The response to any FOI request has been for the council to claim that as Bristol 2015 Ltd is a ‘private company’, and only outline accounts are published.
Brisotl Lib Dem councillors worked with cross-party support and with many people over a long period to ensure the city won to become the first UK Green Capital of Europe. After being awarded the green capital title the council gave the Green Capital team over £1million of council tax payers’ money. The former Lib Dem MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams augmented this by securing £7million of additional government funding.
Stephen Williams is now trying to trace what happened to this money and recently published an open letter to the chief executive of Bristol City Council, demanding that we should know where the money was spent. He sent a follow up letter to Ms Yates, which includes detailed questions on the spending during the year and on why the council thinks it can defy the requirements of the Local Government Transparency Code.
Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Dr Kay Barnard joined Stephen Williams and other campaigners last Friday in a demonstration outside the Colston Hall.
Dr Kay Barnard said:
“Transparency is a key principle of democracy; without knowing how the council spends your money, how can we hold it to account? Therefore we have launched this petition.
Those responsible for spending public money everywhere should act in an open and transparent manner. Details of how tax-payers’ hard-earned money has been spent over the last year should be published.
“It is great to see people across the parties and outside politics join our campaign and add their voices to the demands for openness. I would urge all residents to sign the petition now.”
Cllr Gary Hopkins, Lib Dem Group Leader, added:
“In the run up to the election, if Bristolians are to assess the current mayor’s term in office he needs to have fulfilled his manifesto commitment to ‘end the fortress culture of the Council House’. By refusing to release the financial accounts it is only fair to surmise that he has broken this commitment. I hope that by giving local people the ability to add their weight to the protest we may be able to force the council into finally complying with their basic requirement for full transparency.”
Bristolians can add their signatures to the petition at: http://tinyurl.com/hasb5c2