Greens’ alternative budget covers wide range of issues

Sheffield Green Party has criticised the Government for year on year cuts but says big private businesses with council contracts have been protected.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 7:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 7:47 pm
Green Party councillors Rob Murphy, Martin Phipps and Douglas Johnson
Green Party councillors Rob Murphy, Martin Phipps and Douglas Johnson

The Greens made 44 amendments to Labour’s budget at full council, ranging from tackling climate change to having better public transport and housing, but lost the vote.

Coun Robert Murphy said Labour had copied the Green’s suggestions on a hardship fund for people struggling to pay council tax, bringing outsourced services back in-house and having a Living Wage.

He told the meeting: “Labour and Lib Dem budgets are the equivalent of the Sheffield Derby – a dull 0-0 draw.

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“The Greens are the only party with sustainable budgets each year. There is not one penny in this budget for the trees. There is nothing about plans for a new Central Library. And I have lost count of the number of times we have called for all council meetings to be webcast, it has been years and nothing has happened.”

Coun Douglas Johnson said austerity was not going away and councillors had a responsibility to do the best they could for people, prioritising resources to protect communities and the most vulnerable.

“Long-term, outsourced contracts with big private businesses have not taken an equivalent share of the cuts,” he said outside the meeting.

“The long term costs of finance stretch into Sheffield’s future until 2057 and the waste management contract is set to be extended by a further two years.”

The Greens would set aside £1m to introduce solar panels on council housing to generate energy and reduce tenants’ bills and would spend another £1m on active travel schemes, including segregated cycle lanes.

They would also reduce the pay of senior officers on salaries over £50,000 a year, narrowing the gap between the highest and lowest paid in the council.