Here is the speech that Bristol Green council leader Daniella Radice wasn’t allowed to make last night on the council tax reduction scheme.
Both Labour and Liberal Democrat groups were allowed to speak on this and allowed to explain their position prior to the vote. Green and Conservative groups were not, apparently because of a lack of time to discuss it. I personally shouted to the Deputy Lord Mayor: “You need to have one person from each group.” This was ignored and only goes to show how shallow our democratic processes are at the moment.
Daniella’s speech (undelivered)
This report gives us as councillors an invidious choice: shall we charge those who can least afford it more or shall we protect them and find another five million on top of the 90 million that must be cut and cut other vital services?
This makes me feel angry but I am not directing my wrath at George but the Coalition government. They have taken deliberate choices not to tax the rich more, to focus on local gov’t for cuts, for deciding to shrink the state through reckless decisions to reduce debt too fast, and a reluctance to tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion at an effective scale.
I cannot vote for this measure but I do not blame the mayor for bringing it forward. Remember Bristol is the second most economically successful cities and yet incredibly unequal making the less well off pay more council tax is not fair.
I have decided to abstain from this vote. I urge you all to do the same. If we all abstain it will demonstrate our frustration as local councillors in our inability to protect those who have the most need of it.
As a member of the Green group who hates abstaining and will avoid it in nearly every circumstance, I completely endorse this statement.
If you have any further questions about this, please post them in comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.