Jan 2017 - Council Tax to rise 5% in 2017
The Labour Mayor, Marvin Rees, has proposed a 5% Council tax rise for 2017. This is the biggest rise in many years, and is several times the current inflation rate. The Mayor is looking for ways to save a huge £100million over the next 5 years to cover both harsh Government cuts and his own new spending commitments. Even with the 5% rise, the local media has reported that "Bristol's budget cuts will be more brutal than expected".
The Mayor's proposals would also unfortunately spell the end of Neighbourhood Partnerships as we know them. Hotwells & Harbourside councillor, Mark Wright, says: "This would be a huge shame, as a great deal of local action has occurred in recent years because of the flourishing of the Neighbourhood Partnerships. Another down-side of this is that it will return all Council power back to the centre. I very much hope this can be avoided."
Under the mayoral system, the Labour Party now has enough councillors to pass the Mayor's budget without amendments from the other political parties. The Mayor has also announced that "all non-essential spending" in the Council has been stopped. The move means that all maintenance of buildings, roads and parks will stop unless there is a risk to people's health or safety.
Mark adds, "I accept that the Council is facing years of dire finances in the face of unreasonable Government funding cuts, but I am worried that this move is completely un-targeted. If the effect is to cancel numerous projects that have been years in the making it could have serious unforeseen consequences, and disastrous effects for future public confidence in the Council."