Here’s the text of my statement to the Council’s Budget Meeting on February 18th.
Statement from Martin Fodor, Green Party candidate for Redland Ward, to the Budget meeting of the Council:
The proposed budget reflects the massive and unprecendented cuts being imposed by the Coalition Central Government. They control most local spending and finances and are forcing cuts of around 1/4 across our local Government through their rules.
Having worked for this council and nationally on behalf of local government I can see the immense damage this unnecessary austerity is causing to essential local services and faciltiies, and quality of life for many in Bristol, as well as the ridiculous spectacle of all the traditional parties vying with each other to rearrange the cuts from one service to another.
The Green Party fundamentally opposes the austerity, unlike all other parties. We want to see investment in green jobs and services, which are a booming part of the national and local economy even during the crash. We want to see real devolved power for localities to make their own decisions and invest in local economies on sustainable energy, managed locally; vital care services’ which have a growing need; public health and environmental protection; and better, locally managed transport services, as needed by residents of Redland.
The cuts are unneccessary becaure there’s so much wealth available to fund vital services. We need:
– a basic ‘Robin Hood’ Tax on financial transactions, as we proposed in the EU, but were opposed by the Government;
– serious efforts nationally to tackle tax avoidance and evasion;
– an end to unusable vanity projects like Trident missile replacement; and
– taxes on higher earners rather than reductions in essential benefits.
Together these would more than release substantials funds adequate to re- fund and revive our local government and protect the local economy.
Why are all the main parties (and the Mayor) not making strong representation in favour of protecting local government and calling for these funds to be secured instead of blaming each other?
Paring back the budget through council tax freezes only locks in more cuts which will damage the city and its residents further.
I’d therefore like to see a cross party effort to influence government to support public services in Bristol.
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The Green Group on the City Council have also issued this more detailed comment: