Saturday, 17 January 2015

Brighton Green Party passes motion supporting 'No Cuts' budget

BREAKING NEWS! Brighton Green Party passes motion supporting 'No Cuts' budget - Join the resistance

Breaking news from Brighton

This is the full and final text (below) of the No Cuts motion passed by a large majority at a
quorate and well attended meeting of the Brighton & Hove Green Party today.

The General Meeting sets policy for the party, but cannot "instruct" Green Councillors.
However, given that the General Meeting is "the primedecision making and organisational
body for the BHGP", and has now made this vital policy decision, the party expect Green
Councillors to abide by it, and if they feel they cannot, to step down.  It remains to be seen
what will happen when the Budget comes up for decision in late February, but the local party
has now made its position very clear - Green Councillors should not vote for any cuts budget
or abstain so as to allow one to pass; and after this the party and councillors should lead a
campaign of resistance to imposed cuts. If Green Councillors vote for a cuts budget of any kind
then they would be defying the clear and democratically expressed wish and policy of the local
party.

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This General Meeting notes the Motion passed unanimously (with one abstention) at the December 2015 
General Meeting that the Brighton & Hove Green Party supports the production of an alternative Budget
for 2015-16 that would protect local services and employment, not cut them.

The cuts to local services required to "balance the budget" for 2015-16 are the direct result of massive and unprecedented cuts by central government to the local government support grant, cuts which could mean a
further cut to the Brighton & Hove budget of over £100 million by 2020.  This will effectively destroy local
services as we know them.

The cuts required to balance the budget for 2015-16 alone would require  a restoration of more than £20
million of government grant or a Council Tax rise of over 20%. The proposed 5.9% Council Tax increase 
is therefore not viable as a means to fight the cuts or defend the vulnerable. It is a regressive tax on the
poorest, and it would hardly dent the massive cuts still required. To propose this rise in Council Tax in
conjunction with a cuts budget would fatally undermine the Green Party's anti-austerity stance locally
and nationally.  It is the worst of all worlds.

We are now seeing a "Green surge" and rising membership especially amongst younger voters, the
primaryreason for which is our inspiring anti-austerity message. If the only example in the UK of the 
Green Party in office were to implement a large cuts budget just before the 2015 General Election that
would disillusion and alienate many of those new supporters. It is likely it would severely damage not 
only the local party but the national party's prospects in the election.   The Brighton & Hove Green Party 
will not support any Brighton & Hove -Council Budget for 2015-16 that makes further cuts to local services.
We support a no cuts budget identifying how much government grant now needs to be returned to Brighton &
Hove to avoid horrendous damage to local services. It is therefore the policy of Brighton & Hove Green party 
that any budget that makes further cuts to local services should not be voted for by the Green Group of 
Councillors, nor abstained upon to allow it to pass.

The Brighton & Hove Green Party advocates a strategy of complete resistance to implementing further
cuts to local services, including
  • A massive communications campaign to explain a) why the Green Party is adopting this policy, b) the devastating effect of the level of cuts suggested for 2015-16 and the years beyond, and c) that Labour and the Conservatives will deliver those cuts because they have no policy or strategy to resist them. 
  • Refusal to assist any officials sent by DCLG to enforce a cuts budget upon Brighton & Hove, and wide publicity to explain this refusal.
  • Working with the Brighton & Hove People's Assembly, local campaign groups and trade unions to publicise and implement this strategy and to create a focus of resistance to cuts and the austerity agenda.

2 comments:

Lewis said...

Just come across this text for the first time.

The strategy looks weak. Apart from the publicity and campaigning, the only practical step is " Refusal to assist any officials sent by DCLG to enforce a cuts budget".
In the scenario where we have a pro-austerity government after May, it will not need any "assistance" from councillors. The council employees would work to the government's budget under the instruction of government appointees. (You can't put a picket line in front of a ministerial email.)
In the scenario where we have a blocking wedge of anti-austerity Greens and Nationalists, the strategy would not be needed anyway.

JOHN cOYNE said...

Sorry - another family member was logged on to Google account on my PC, so comment above wrongly attributed.

Previous post not by Lewis, but by John Coyne.
I apologise for the confusion.
Jc