All of our wonderful city councillors sat down in a room together and picked through this year’s budget in their annual borefest which was streamed live for all the city to see.
Waffle and hot air were the main currencies during the seven-hour exchanges between all the main parties as they decided how to spend what little money that is left following successive cuts from central Government.
The budget was only just squeezed through in the end, after the Greens said they could not support an “austerity budget”. But it’s here now, so here are a few things from the meeting that may affect you:
You will be £1 poorer every week
Council tax was already due to rise by 1.95 per cent, as agreed at the last budget. But you knew that anyway, didn’t you? This time the Green Party suggested using some lovely new powers dished out by friend of the people George Osborne to raise it another two per cent. The 3.95 per cent rise in total will help cover shortcomings in funding for adult social care from, you guessed it, Osborne’s Government.
More affordable homes will be built (probably)
When George Ferguson sold the port in Avonmouth for £10 million he promised to reinvest it in the city. Well, now the Tories have pushed through plans to set £9 million of it aside to create a council-owned private firm to start building council houses, affordable houses and private housing to tackle spiraling prices and rising rents. All profits will be ploughed back into the council.
Concorde will have a roof over its head
Bristol’s beloved Concorde has been sitting neglected on the old Filton Airfield which is in, erm, South Gloucestershire. And it is here that a new museum will be built to house her. After a bitter row that was thankfully mostly reserved to press releases filling up local journalists’ inboxes, the Greens complained that Bristol City Council should not support a South Gloucestershire project – and the money should be spent on making roads safer in Bristol, which is in Bristol. But the Tories stood firm and pushed through a £500,000 grant towards the project with the help of other parties at Wednesday’s meetings.
There will be fewer condoms in parks
Before you get too excited, it’s not just condoms (which fall under litter, of course). Money set aside for additional “enforcement officers” (you gotta feel for them) will also go towards dog fouling and fly tipping, under plans put forward by Labour. Anyone who’s been to BS5 in the last few decades will know it needs this money and the #TidyBS5 campaign will surely be delighted.
Football fans might have their own train station
Chronic transport carmageddon in Bristol is tipped into chaos on matchdays down at Ashton Gate, where you will find cars parked on verges of bypasses as fans give up all hope and run to their seats before kick off. This could be a thing of the past, if the stadium gets a convenient train station nearby. £50,000 has been set aside to build a business case. Don’t expect to see any real progress until City are hosting Barcelona in the Champions League.