When Bristol Liberal Democrats launched (with cross-party support) what became the successful bid for Euorpean Green Capital 2015 we wanted an event which would directly affect Bristol's citizens, leave a lasting legacy and build on the green science and enterprise for which the city is rightly proud.
The Council awarded the initiative over £1m of council taxpayers money. In addition, the then Bristol West MP Stephen Williams secured £7m of Government funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to ensure Green Capital could fund a real legacy.
Unfortunately, though, much of the Green Capital has been shrouded in controversy: there was an initial failure to attract enough commercial sponsors, the Mayor's chosen head of the company left abruptly which raised unanswered questions, rumours of large amounts of money wasted and the wide-held feeling that there has been no lasting environmental legacy for the city.
We were concerned that much of the expenditure was on marketing gimmicks and ethereal experiences - with less focus on making substantive changes to the lives of individuals, communities and the city as a whole. Stephen Williams and Mayoral candidate Kay Barnard, joined by many people from across the city, are now asking how our money has been spent. The council has released some figures, such as £1.6m spent on 'conferences' but have refused to give any further detail.
Tax payers money should be spent with full accountability not hidden away in secrecy. The Mayor of Bristol and his administration have refused to be open about how public money has been spent. If you agree that the accounts for the Green Capital should be made fully public, please sign our petition below:
We, the undersigned, call upon the Mayor and Bristol City Council to provide full and transparent accounts, line by line, for European Green Capital spending through both Bristol 2015 Limited and Bristol City Council.
We note that Bristol 2015 Limited was established and owned by Bristol City Council and that its finances are administered by the Council. As such, and given it has been responsible for spending public funds of £8m awarded by the Council and central government, we believe it should be subject to the same levels of transparency and accountability.
We call for the full and complete accounts to be published before 1st April 2016.