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Brighton Journal | 25th May 2020

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Greens pledge over £11m to tackle climate emergency, housing crisis and service cuts ahead of city budget decision

Greens pledge over £11m to tackle climate emergency, housing crisis and service cuts ahead of city budget decision
Angus Walker
  • On 27th February 2020
  • https://brightonjournal.co.uk

Green Councillors announced their proposals for the council’s budget yesterday, outlining plans to invest over £11m in measures to help tackle climate change, address the housing crisis and reverse public spending cuts.

Greens will set out their plans to invest in the local community, economy and environment at the budget meeting, which is taking place today. They will propose investing £3.9m in green transport development, £2.6m in a city-wide ‘Warmer Homes’ programme which would provide grants for insulation, and reversing over £100k cuts planned for the city’s communities, equalities and voluntary sector.

Plans to make cuts to community services in the current Labour budget have been criticised by local campaigners, including a proposed £1.47m cut to learning disability care.

Greens say the council must do more to support local communities and protect those facing the catastrophic effects of climate change. Describing the current Labour budget as ‘”lacking in ambition”, they say current plans do not provide the resources needed to ensure the council meets the challenges ahead, including the target of reducing toxic emissions by 2030.

Urging all parties to back the amendments, Greens say the city’s budget is an opportunity to unlock a ‘Green New Deal,’ where environmental projects that create jobs, tackle poverty and boost the local economy are given priority.

Green Finance Lead, Councillor David Gibson, commented:

At the heart of our budget approach is a strong commitment to social and environmental justice. We are also focused on fairness – fairness to future generations facing a climate emergency, and fairness to low-income households and the most vulnerable.

Our plans reverse cuts to services for the most vulnerable, such as those with learning disabilities, cuts to communities and equalities provision and short breaks for carers. And they raise money – most of which will be spent on the urgent action needed to tackle the climate emergency.

None of our proposals take from one service to pay for another. Instead we are raising fees through penalties for irresponsible drivers who slow public transport down and by modest increases in some parking charges. This will provide the vital staff capacity necessary to plant trees and protect biodiversity, to make transport more sustainable, to develop renewable solar energy and to ensure social value and community wealth generation is better embedded in the council’s activities.

We are asking: is our council’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency just hot air or do we vote for a budget that provides the staff and resources needed to address it? All parties signed up to the climate emergency in December 2018; now we urge them to act.

While opposition parties are only granted limited amendments to the budget, Greens have already forced the council to change it’s plans, after successful proposals for homelessness support were accepted at a committee meeting earlier this month.

Featured image: © Brighton and Hove Greens.

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