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Council Budget must deliver a Green New Deal for Liverpool

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The Green Party will deliver an alternatve Budget for the city at Wednesday’s Council meeting that makes a priority of kick-starting a post-Covid green economic recovery.

Green Party Group leader, and candidate for City Mayor, Tom Crone said: ‘It is nearly two years since the council declared a climate emergency, yet its Budget plans point to another year without any action make the economic transition.’

Cllr Crone called for a transition fund that delivers real change for people and the planet.

He called for retro-fitting homes to be made a priority. ‘That will deliver warm homes, reduce energy bills, cut fuel poverty and cut carbon to protect the environment.’

The Green Party alternative Budget recognises the damage caused by a decade of Lib-Dem and Tory governments in Westminster.

It says: ‘A real green transition will take massive investment from central government, but while that is not forthcoming we need to make sure our budget is as ambitious as possible. The business as usual budget before us is not acceptable and will be seen by people suffering climate anxiety as a betrayal.’

The Green Budget sets out affordable plans to borrow £20 million at low interest rates now to begin the green transition and reduce fuel poverty for thousands of the city’s struggling population.

‘The £20m can be immediately invested in capital projects to cut carbon in Liverpool. For example, it could insulate thousands of homes, lifting local families out of fuel poverty, generating local jobs, and keeping money that would have been spent on fuel bills in our local economy.’

Cllr Crone predicted that a full review of Labour’s capital spending plans could release £45 million from spending on more roads and car parks to fund an ambitious programme to rebuild the economy.

He added: ‘While Labour are caught up in internal feuds and playground politics, we are offering a grown up clean, green Budget that delivers for the climate and citizens.’

Green Party Budget Amendment 2021/22

As Liverpool City Council works to put into action its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, every decision made by this council must be taken with this ambition in mind. The setting of the annual budget represents the most significant decision we make each year.

Setting a budget of any sort has become a major challenge after more than a decade of central government cuts.

The coronavirus crisis has compounded this critical situation by depressing our local economy and reducing council income yet further.

But in the future, when the pandemic is behind us, the climate emergency will still be with us. Our actions today will determine whether we have adapted successfully and limited the amount of climate warming to a manageable level, or if we have passed ecological tipping points making the earth uninhabitable.

A real green transition will take massive investment from central government, but while that is not forthcoming we need to make sure our budget is as ambitious as possible. The business as usual budget before us is not acceptable and will be seen by people suffering climate anxiety as a betrayal.

We therefore propose the creation of several areas of climate emergency funding so that we can begin investing in a greener future.

Revenue Savings from Current Budget:
Removal of free Parking for Cllrs - £30,000
Mayoral Neighbourhood Fund - £250,000
Restructure of Senior Management - £250,000
Delete City Magazine - £68,000
Going paperless - 1/2 reduction £350,000
Review of staff travel - £200,000
Total £1,148,000

These savings will cover the cost of borrowing of £20m over 25 years, and leave £150k remaining.

The £20m can be immediately invested in capital projects to cut carbon in Liverpool. For example it could insulate thousands of homes, lifting local families out of fuel poverty, generating local jobs, and keeping money that would have been spent on fuel bills in our local economy.

Active Travel Fund

In addition to £20m allocated via additional borrowing, a dedicated Active Travel Fund will be created by reallocating 40% of the projected Highways Investment Programme (HIP) spend for 2021/22. This will generate an additional £10m. The £180m remaining from our revenue savings will be kept in reserve in case there is an increase in the number of compensation claims due to the reduction in spend on Highways Improvements.

Climate Review of Capital Programme

A full review of the City Council’s planned capital spending programmes will be carried out due to many being in conflict with our overarching aim of responding to the climate emergency. Budget savings from any cancelled projects will support the aims of a prosperous and thriving city making a rapid transition to a zero carbon economy. Budgeted capital spend which might require review include:

Pall Mall, which includes a multi-storey car park;
The Cruise Liner terminal;
Multi-storey car park at Paddington Village;
Transport Capital spending;
A review of Section 106 spending.

It will be possible to identify at least £5m from these schemes that will be reallocated from climate damaging projects to carbon reducing projects.

Conclusion

We are proposing three revisions, which between them will generate approximately £35m of capital funding to begin the urgent job of kickstarting Liverpool’s Green recovery, and transition to zero carbon. It is just a start, but by supporting this amendment, Liverpool will signal a determination to put pledges into action and start the hard job of decarbonising our economy. We want to see an open and transparent partnership with the citizens of Liverpool and this budget would kick-start that process.

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