Next week see the Council debate the City budget for another year. This year that debate will be a little different in that we don’t be in the chamber but that doesn’t make the stakes any less important.
My colleagues and I are concerned about numerous parts of the Labour Mayors budget and believe that the is a lot of room for improvement. As such we will be tabling our amendments to reflect our own ‘common sense’ spending principles and priorities.
We want to make savings by cutting the size of the Mayor’s Office and Corporate Communications teams (which together have grown by 12 full-time staff over the last twelve months). Additional savings have been found from reduced borrowing as a result of delays in building projects.
Instead, we propose that this money should be spent on:
- extra support for special educational needs,
- pay for a reduction in the charge to collect household bulky waste items,
- the removal of parking charges at the Blaise Estate and Oldbury Court,
- fund an education programme on the use of life-saving equipment (defibrillators).
In addition we want to make changes to the City’s capital reserves by 6m. This would free up money to be spent on:
- providing new outdoor play equipment,
- helping restore our parks after the heavy use they have endured during lockdowns
- mitigating the impact of the CPNN in the north of Bristol,
- investing in youth provision
- creating a new (pre-fabricated) housing scheme.
This year’s budget deliberations are taking place against the extremely challenging economic, health and social background created by the health crisis. Central Government has provided unprecedented support but none-of-us can yet predict how events and the recovery will yet pan out.
We are suggesting changes that can make a practical and tangible difference to people’s lives, for example greater support for parks and play equipment, than money spent on more bureaucracy and political advertising.
I look forward to making the case for these common-sense preferences and am confident they will resonate with local taxpayers.