Thursday, 28 February 2013

Tide turning in Brighton but not in Bristol?

acknowledgements Paul Philo and Ben Duncan

Two significant motions were passed this evening (27/2/13) at a well attended EGM of
B and H Green party , Caroline and several councillors supported them 

*The Brighton and Hove Green Party wishes to make clear that under no
circumstances whatsoever will it agree with or support dismissing and
rehiring staff, who on the advice of their union negotiators, reject new
pay and conditions unilaterally imposed on staff by the Council management
side. The party therefore asks the Green Group to make it unequivocally
clear to the CE and other officers leading the negotiations on "Pay
Modernisation" that both the activation and/or the threat of the activation
to dismiss/rehire is completely unacceptable, and should this  nevertheless
proceed the party will publicly dissociate itself from such an action and
will actively campaign against it.*
*Proposed John Medhurst*
*Seconded Paul Philo*

From April 2013, the government is introducing a 'size criteria' which
will limit how many bedrooms a family in council or social housing will
receive benefit for - the so-called 'Bedroom Tax'.****

** **

If a household has more bedrooms than the Government says they need, their
Household Benefit will be reduced: a 14% reduction in benefit for one
'spare' bedroom and a 25% reduction if a household has two or more 'spare'

** **

This will affect an estimated 990 households living in accommodation owned
by Brighton and Hove Council: resulting in a total reduction in Housing
Benefit of some £750,000 a year.****

** **

These changes will force many households into real financial hardship, rent
arrears – and ultimately, for some, homelessness. Many who are able to
prevent these outcomes will be forced to move home, in some cases away from
the city.****

** **

At its meeting on February 18th, the Green Group agreed to support the
following statement:****

'*Overcrowding, forcing families apart and damaging community cohesion are
just some of the consequences of this unfair and dangerous ideology. Green
Party councillors around the country are fighting this measure and asking
Councils and Housing Associations to sign a pledge to protect their tenants
from some of the worst effects.*'  ****

** **

While the 'Bedroom Tax' has attracted much condemnation, a clear public
statement that no-one will suffer financial stress, homelessness, or be
forced to move from a Brighton and Hove Council home as a result of these
changes will help Brighton and Hove City Council realise the aspiration
contained in this statement.****

** **

It will protect many of the city's most vulnerable residents, in line with
the Green Party's manifesto pledges prior to the 2011 election.****

It will also enable Greens around the country to demonstrate to voters how
Green councillors are making a real difference to the lives of the least
well-off in our society.****

** **

The Green Party of Brighton and Hove therefore resolves to:****

** **

   1. Publicly condemn the 'Bedroom Tax' as an ideologically-driven attack
   on the least well-off in our society.****
   2. Request that the Convenor of the Green Group makes a clear public
   statement that no household will be evicted from a Brighton and Hove City
   Council owned home as a result of rent arrears accrued solely as a result
   of this cut to Housing Benefit.****
   3. Request that the Chair of the council's Housing Committee instructs
   officers accordingly.****
   4. Publicise this position, externally and in our own publications and

** **

Proposed by: Cllr Ben Duncan****

Seconded by: John Medhurst


The first budget by Bristol's first elected mayor will cut 325 jobs from Bristol City Council while raising council tax by 1.99%.
George Ferguson spoke of his "duty to set a legal budget while protecting the most vulnerable in society".
The council has to make savings of £35m - 9% of its budget.
Other threatened cuts to services were dropped including the proposed loss of night buses and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
Unions representing staff expressed anger at the plans. (see
Bruvver Blavkwood reports "Passed with the support of Gus and Tess (Green Party councillors) at yesterday's budget mtg:"

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