Greens respond to council’s draft budget proposals

Councillor Ollie Sykes
Councillor Ollie Sykes

The council’s Green Party group has responded to the Labour-led draft budget papers.

The council’s Green Party group has responded to the Labour-led draft budget papers released by the council last week.

Councillor Ollie Sykes, Green spokesperson on finance and resources, said: “This budget reflects an increasingly difficult financial situation for the council, caused by ideological cuts by the Conservative central government.

While the blame for cuts clearly lies with the Tories, it’s deeply disappointing that this Labour administration is going so far and so fast in implementing these Tory cuts.

“Labour in opposition severely hampered the council’s ability to raise additional revenue, and on coming to power made some unnecessary and costly changes such as delaying infrastructure projects and dismissing the chief executive. It shows massive hypocrisy that they are now asking the poorest and most vulnerable residents to shoulder a disproportionate burden of the cuts.

“Labour was not elected on a mandate to make such massive cuts. Our position has always been that the council needs to have a far broader, more genuine conversation with city residents about how the financial challenge should be met. We have offered to work with Labour time and time again to support a truly meaningful engagement process. Sadly, we have been constantly rebuffed.

“As a result, we now see some profoundly unfair proposals within the draft budget. While we could possibly support key elements such as the sharing of back-office functions or the digitisation of services, we absolutely cannot support cuts to services such as children’s centres, youth services and adult social care.”

On the government’s offer to raise council tax for social care, he said: “The potential for an additional council tax rise, which we would otherwise support, is extremely worrying in the light of Labour’s decision to reduce support available to the poorest residents struggling to pay council tax bills.”

Cllr Sykes added:“The Green group feel it is unlikely that we will be able to support this Labour cuts budget.”