17 March 2016
Leeds Green Party councillors put forward several amendments to the Leeds City Council annual budget this year to help defend important local services from cuts, but all were voted down. One amendment, which was rejected, would have cut allowances for councillors, so all Leeds councillors would receive the same amount, equivalent to what is currently claimed by the three Greens on the Council.
A further amendment would have reversed a funding cut to youth activities, and another would have funded environmental projects, both using Council reserves.
Another amendment, which Green Councillors supported, was proposed by Cllr Finnigan of the Morley Borough Independents to effectively cancel the trolleybus scheme. See Leeds Green Party’s previous comment on money wasted through the Council’s inquiry into the scheme.
All these amendments were voted down by the Labour-majority City Council. Leeds Green Councillors abstained on the final vote for the annual budget.
Cllr David Blackburn, Leeds Green Party councillor for Farnley and Wortley, said, “The Green Group in its amendment sought to make council members take some of the strain, by reducing allowances in line with those already claimed by members of the Green Group. In our view the staff have had to make sacrifices, and it’s time elected members did the same. We also tried to reverse cuts to youth activities and waste collection, and attempted to give Community Committees £10,000 per ward for spending on local environmental priorities. The net result of Labour’s budget will be cuts in services and the citizens of Leeds are having to pay more for this.”
Joe Salmon, Leeds Green Party prospective candidate for Headingley, said, “Leeds’ Green councillors have been fighting hard to protect important local services from cuts. But it’s an uphill battle with our Labour-majority council, which continues to support austerity at the expense of local people – especially the most vulnerable, who depend on these services. We hope that the forthcoming local elections in May will see more Green councillors voted in in Leeds and elsewhere, so we can push harder for a fairer approach to local authority spending.”
Yorkshire & Humber