Following Tuesday’s indecisive budget meeting, the Lib Dems are calling on the Mayor to seek cross party consensus on alternative proposals ahead of the full council on 2nd March.
As the Mayor decided that he was not prepared to accept the budget as amended by Bristol’s elected Councillors on Tuesday, he can either choose to bring back that amended budget, bring his original budget back, or bring alternative proposals to the next meeting.
Councillor Jos Clark, leader of the Bristol Lib Dems, said “Much was made before the budget meeting of Councillors responsibilities with regard to setting the budget but in the event we were denied a say on the budget as amended. Before and during the meeting, the Mayor sought to claim the opposition parties were playing politics, by implication suggesting that even the process of proposing amendments and pursuing the standard budget procedure was thwarting the Council’s duty to set a balanced budget. In the event, it was him who decided to postpone the setting of the budget without putting it to a formal vote.
“We believe that the best course of action now is for the Mayor to seek cross-party negotiations with all the groups in the Council with a view to agreeing alternative proposals acceptable to all. I have therefore written to the Mayor to offer the assistance of the Lib Dems in achieving this aim.”
Deputy Leader of the Group, Councillor Andrew Brown, added “We were disappointed that our package of measures to increase the wellbeing of people in the city wasn’t passed on Tuesday, and that the Council will miss an important deadline to set the Schools Budget which should have been set by 28th February. However, we must now move forward and the best way to do this in a spirit of co-operation with a view of achieving the best outcomes for the city. I hope that the Mayor chooses a consensus approach and not to either go it alone with his own proposals or to seek the support of just one other group.”