The new BCP Council budget for 2020/21 has been comfortably voted through Full Council, with backing from the Unity Alliance and abstentions from the Conservatives. It contains £1.4m of new investment in BCP’s corporate priorities. This included amongst other items:
· £240k for the climate and ecological emergency
· £150k for arts and culture
· £150k for street cleaning
· £370k for regeneration.
This investment now makes up part of the ongoing base budget, meaning that the money will be made available each year for these priorities.
Speaking on the budget, Green Party Councillor Chris Rigby said: “The key area for us in this budget has been to streamline the harmonisation between Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and manage this in a sustainable way, making sure all BCP residents are receiving the same levels of service. That we’re able to manage this within two years, whilst also investing in priority areas is a great achievement, particularly at a time when council budgets are still being cut by central Government.”
His ward and party colleague Councillor Simon Bull added: “With over £100m being cut from BCP council funding since 2010, I’m pleased to be able to support this sensible and balanced budget, making the best of what money is available. Supporting action on the climate and ecological emergency is a key priority for the Green Party and also within the Unity Alliance. We cannot do this alone and we call on central Government to make more funding available to help us tackle this crisis.”
The budget comes into effect from today, meaning the much lauded citizens assembly which made up part of Cllr’s Bull and Rigby’s original climate and ecological emergency motion will have the funding to begin engaging the public, as well as the continuing development of the action plan.
To date BCP Council has already switched to 100% renewable energy, and begun public engagement on the route to meet net zero carbon by 2030, whilst maintaining that climate and environmental action remains a golden thread running through all policy decisions.