Thu 21 Feb, 2019

The Green budget sets a positive new direction for Glasgow where the Council delivers on its responsibilities to people by empowering them, not by making decisions in isolation. Cllr Martha Wardrop

Green Councillors in Glasgow have today (21 February 2019) unveiled their proposed city budget which sets out spending plans to protect local services, act on the climate emergency and give more power to local communities.

The Greens’ plans include a new £10 million Climate Emergency Fund; extra funding to help older people live independently; investment in vacant buildings, museums, arts and leisure facilities; and expansion of community budgeting, which gives local people a say over spending decisions. If passed, the budget would also save all libraries, sports facilities and community centres from the threat of closure, protect teachers and classroom support staff, and secure funding for third sector organisations.

The Council must agree a budget that closes a funding gap of £41 million because of the extra costs of the national public sector pay deal and settling equal pay claims. The Green budget proposes £21.9 million of savings and new income generation, with the remainder made up from a 3.5% increase to Council Tax - which is less than the maximum allowed and means an increase for a Band D property of around £3.75 per month - as well as a £12 million contribution from the Council’s reserves.

Green councillors have called on other parties to take on board their ideas and agree a budget that works for the whole of Glasgow.

Green Group co-convenor Allan Young said: “We have worked hard to develop a budget that makes the savings needed whilst protecting vital local services and help for those who need it most.

“Thanks to the Scottish budget deal won nationally by Green MSPs, Glasgow’s budget has an extra £10 million this year, and real progress on local tax reform, but we still face tough choices because of wage rises and equal pay claims. We’ve done everything we can to avoid savings from front-line services and we have set stretching targets for the Council to operate more efficiently and raise more money where it can.

“We think this is a positive set of proposals that meets today’s challenges as well as investing in a sustainable future, both for the planet and for the local services we all rely on. The SNP administration needs the support of at least one other party to secure a majority for its budget. Having rejected our calls to publish their plans in full, they can’t count on our support, but Greens remain willing to work constructively to secure the best budget possible.

Fellow co-convenor Cllr Martha Wardrop added: “Greens believe the Council must declare a climate emergency in response to the latest science and our budget provides £10 million new funding so we can deliver meaningful action now.

“We’ve also proposed extra investment to revive local high streets - with local people given the say over how that’s spent - as well as new cash to fund essential repairs and upgrades to much-loved museums, leisure facilities and community buildings.

“And with new powers coming to councils next year to raise more money locally it’s vital that we consult widely and involve people in the city’s budget decisions - addressing the lack of transparency which has caused so much concern this year. The Green budget sets a positive new direction for Glasgow where the Council delivers on its responsibilities to people by empowering them, not by making decisions in isolation.”

Green Budget - Key Points

Protecting Essential Services

  • Saves all libraries, sports facilities and community centres from the threat of closure
  • Protects vital schools budgets including additional support for children who need it most
  • Expands support for people to stay in their own homes, reducing the burden on social care services
  • Secure funding for community and third sector groups

Action on Climate Emergency

  • A new £10m Climate Emergency Fund to speed up emissions reduction
  • Council targets to save money through energy saving and cutting waste
  • Support for renewable energy, Glasgow Crossrail and active travel

Power in Local Hands

  • £2 million to revitalise town centres - with local people deciding how that's spent
  • New funding for turning vacant buildings into innovative self-built homes
  • Makes the Council's budget more open and transparent

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