Thursday, 9 February 2012

9th February - Budget Day.

All councillors gathered in the City Chambers today to discuss the council's budget for 2012-13. I made a speech in support of a Green Budget Amendment. Living in a period of financial uncertainty and harsh economic realities, we are well aware of the worsening poverty and widening gap between the rich and poor. The Council has to agree a budget to ensure that the Glasgow becomes more resilient and able to respond to the global economic and environmental pressures we face. 

Green Councillors have not accepted the Labour Administration's proposal for a review of  employee terms and conditions, and changes to Early Years Provision. We are very concerned that these changes will be made to the detriment of council staff.

It is our belief that the investment we are making in our budget amendment will help create new opportunities, address our financial challenges, reduce our carbon footprint, and combat climate change.

Our direct investment is in additional blue bin collections. This will provide weekly uplifts from tenements and houses across the city. Our plans also include increasing the number of on-street recycling bins and support expansion of the recycling services to businesses who are currently on a waiting list. Maintaining the current level of services is not going to get us closer to reducing the Council’s landfill tax burden and avoiding landfill allowance penalties. The Council has to dramatically boost the amount of plastic, paper, and cans recycled so it is on course to recycle 50% in 2013 and 70% in 2025. Our plans will help make substantial progress in increasing recycling by everyone.  

 Blue bins overflowing at a Dowanhill Backcourt

We have plans to save energy and carbon emissions by implementing an Intelligent Street Lighting System to control the street lights in non-city centre streets. This allows the council to dim some street lights between 1am - 5am. The system has fully adjustable settings, this allows the Council to change and have alternative settings for different days of the week, take account of British Summertime, or set to stay on longer e.g. for events or at Christmas and New Year. It is currently being rolled out in Suffolk County Council and we believe it can be adapted to improve energy efficiency in Glasgow.

We want to ensure that there is funding in place to increase the number of allotment plots available. By creating new, extended, or refurbished allotment and growing projects, the Council is meeting the demand from residents who want to grown their own food. We are supporting the promotion of the health and wellbeing of our citizens, giving them increased access to a healthier lifestyle, healthier eating and improved quality of life.

Whilst our budget amendment was not passed at the meeting, we hope that some of our ideas will come to fruition.

Please note that the Green Budget amendment was superceded by Combined Budget Amendment produced by Opposition Parties. I took part in the negotiations on behalf of the Green Councillors and ensured that the Greens budget options were incorporated. This was defeated by the Labour Administration's budget.

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