The Liberal Democrats are proposing amendments to the Labour Mayor’s budget that are designed to help some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our city
The Liberal Democrat amendment, which will be the second to be debated at Tuesday’s Full Council, aims to redirect funding from a bloated Mayor’s office and PR machine so as to alleviate pressure on vital services.
It would fund an additional Occupational Therapist (or equivalent) in order to provide assessments for people accessing Disabled Facilities Grants – speeding up the process and making life easier for disabled people in the city. It also proposes almost £1m of funding to provide additional school places for children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities.
Additional measures include investment in play parks (including increasing provision of accessible play equipment), reducing physical barriers in our walking and cycling infrastructure, and increasing tree planting in the city.
Speaking on the budget, Council Group leader Cllr Jos Clark said “Clearly, the Mayor’s budget is not the starting point we would have chosen. Even allowing for the impact of Covid and Central Government decision making, this budget is haunted by the ghost of the Mayor’s decision to pour tens of millions into Bristol Energy.
“There are a host of painful cuts and we wish we could address them all - we know some of these are being addressed by the other opposition parties and we will support these where we can.”
Deputy Leader, Cllr Andrew Brown, who has been leading on the development of the budget amendment, added “What we have done is put together a number of measures that are designed to assist some of the most disadvantaged in our city, improving their quality of life.
“We have also recognised the importance that parks, green spaces, accessible playparks, and improvements to active travel all have in relation to increasing people’s wellbeing.”
Cllr Andrew Varney, whose “Front Garden Tree Scheme” motion was recently passed unanimously by council, said “I’m delighted that we have been able to find some funding to progress the scheme and increase investment in trees across the city.”