At last night’s Budget Council Meeting, the Liberal Democrat proposal to establish a Climate Emergency Fund of £6.4m in the coming year was blocked by the combined votes of Labour and Conservative Councillors, leading to further delays before the Council starts to take real action on the Climate Emergency.
In a non-partisan and well-argued proposal, the Liberal Democrat Councillors sought to commit an amount equal to the dividend the council receives from its shareholding in Manchester Airport Group, and the proposal included a requirement that future windfalls should be committed to tackling the Climate Emergency first so that we can transform the borough.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and proposer of the amendment, said: “The biggest single issue facing us all is the climate emergency. Almost a year ago there was all-party agreement that we should declare a climate emergency but the Labour administration has been asleep at the wheel, taking months to even send a letter to the Prime Minister, let alone actually deliver any meaningful actions. It is really disappointing that opposition members refused to support an action plan to tackle this simply because it came from our side of the chamber.”
Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “We are disappointed that the other Groups voted together to block action on the Climate Emergency and that we must wait even longer before we can set to work on vital priorities, such as tackling recurrent flooding in places like Bramhall and Romiley. Many people will be surprised to see that the minority Labour administration is now propped up by a small number of Conservative Councillors who supported all of their budget proposals. My colleagues and I will revisit this and many other Labour decisions if we have the opportunity to do so.”
Cllr Malcolm Allan, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Marple North, added: “Part of the money was to be determined at a ward level, so that the local community could bid for projects to tackle the Climate Change emergency in ways specific to their areas via their local councillors. The remainder of the money would have been used strategically on bigger projects and those that cross wards, like improving flood protection or working up business cases for better transport connections such as tram train to Stockport from Marple and Cheadle. We don’t want to wait for a project and then find we have no money. We should allocate cash now so we can act quickly – otherwise we’ll wait another year for anything to get done.”
You can read the full proposal here:
Liberal Democrat Budget Amendment 2020