Greens challenge proposed citywide budget cuts

Published on: 30 Jan 2017

Bristol City Council’s attempt to produce a balanced budget continue following a three month city wide consultation process on proposals to save £101 million over the next five years. The updated Draft Corporate Strategy will be considered by the Cabinet on January 30th before the Mayor’s recommendation to Full Council on February 21st.

Bristol City Council expects to produce proposals for a balanced budget next year, taking account of widespread agreement about its top priorities which include increasing the number of school places and building 2,000 new homes a year by 2020.

With relatively few options available and its original draft proposals not completely closing the budget gap, the council has reviewed the feedback from the consultation and the impact of savings. However with the current financial position nearly all previously announced savings will go ahead if approved. New proposals have been incorporated and the total value of savings has increased from £51m to £64m. 

The council needs to make permanent ongoing savings of over £40m from April 2017 – April 2018 with its total required savings over the next five financial years now expected to be just over £100m.

The Greens are challenging these cuts – both politically and by seeking ways to protect the most vulnerable. Redland councillor, Martin Fodor said: 

“The proposals to cut £101m would affect every discretionary service and facility provided by the council and also put severe strains on the statutory duties safeguarding older people, families and others as well. Cuts clearly affect staff working for the council too, who are already under pressure due previous budget reductions and restructuring in the system. 

“Among the proposals affecting our area are threats to libraries, parks, and the Neighbourhood Partnership that contributes to the management of the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland wards, including the small grants, streetscene work, tree planting, and locally led highway projects.

“Without a new body to coordinate many issues and a mechanism to channel work to the council we are unclear how priorities will be managed or collaboration with agencies like the police and community groups either.”

A meeting to discuss the future of the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership will be held at 7pm, March 16th, at the Claremont Room, Redland Green School. See page 21 for more details.

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