I recently received my copy of ‘Our City’, which replaces the former Bristol News. I would like to compliment the officers who worked on the publication for a job well done. Explaining the City Council’s Draft Budget is not an easy thing to do and there are a good many councillors and I suspect officers, who struggle to get to grips with it.The officers responsible for preparing ‘Our City’ have succeeded in explaining where the money comes from, where it goes to and in accessible bite sized chunks just what spending pressures face the City of Bristol. They then go on to explain the important changes that are proposed in the Draft Budget in similar bite sized chunks
Councillor Mark Brain (Labour), State of the City Debate
The statement [about the budget] from Helen Holland (republished through Our City magazine) gives a false gloss that is the hall mark of Labour obsession with secrecy and spin.
It conceals her proposal to end Adult Learning Services – that had to be teased out by the all party Scrutiny Commission.
It conceals her savage cuts in the funding of many valuable voluntary sector groups, such as Grounds4Change and St Pauls Study Centre in Ashley ward.
We know of many other valuable voluntary sector organisations around the city, doing good work, that are being cut by this wasteful Labour administration.
It conceals the savage cuts by the Labour Government on the most deprived areas of our city.
It conceals the lack of ambition on the environment. No extra street cleaning. No commitment to save money by recycling more (we have pledged to help Bristol recycle 50% of our waste by 2010).
It conceals the huge costs of the Labour and Conservative mad rush to build a PFI funded mass burn incinerator in Avonmouth when our own reports suggest that generating energy from our residual waste using pyrolysis offers a better, modular and more sustainable
option (and is in use in a number of countries around the world).
It conceals the subsidies having to be made to deliver inefficient services in Adult Community Care, with no guarantee that those inefficiencies will be addressed.
She fails to mention that her plans will close Marksbury Library. The Liberal Democrats have pledged to amend that decision in Full Council.
And finally, and most damning of all, is her failure to deliver a single one of the Labour election promises. She has continued privatising home care with proposals to deliver 80% through the independent sector within 5 years.
She has failed to save the four residential care homes earmarked for closure; instead she was secretly planning to close all 13.
She has failed to remove charges for bulky waste; instead she proposes to charge £20 for a replacement bin if it is lost.
She has also failed to deliver their promised council tax rebate, instead she is sticking rigidly to the 4% in the medium term financial plan.
Bristol deserves better.
Cllr Steve Comer and Cllr Dr Jon Rogers, public statement to Cabinet (pdf), 4 February 2008