Labour urges Bristol mayor George Ferguson to stop cuts to frontline services
Labour councillors are urging Bristol mayor George Ferguson to make changes to his civic budget to protect frontline services.
Mr Ferguson promised to look after the most vulnerable people in the city as much as he could when he revealed proposed £35 million cuts from next year's budget.
But the Labour group has found more than £700,000 worth of cuts which they say directly affects those most in need.
Labour leader Helen Holland said: "People are really beginning to feel the difference now as a result of cuts in local government and cuts in benefits which are hitting the poorest and those most in need."
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She added that the Labour group wanted to be seen as advising the mayor and not launching an attack on him.
One of the worst proposed cuts discovered by Labour is £100,000 which is expected to be taken out of the budget for community transport.
This voluntary service provides free lifts to the elderly and infirm to doctor's and hospital appointments, lunch clubs and shopping trips.
Other cuts which Labour want to save include:
+ £29,000: Clean and Green budget - this is pump-priming money to pay for clean up projects in neighbourhoods such as providing dog poo bins and litter initiatives;
+ £62,000: extra support for neighbourhood partnerships which serve Hartcliffe, Withywood, Knowle West and St Paul's so people can make best use of council services to improve their communities;
+ £150,000: internal auditing - this refers to council staff who specialise in detecting fraudulent use of benefits or other council services. Their work saves hundreds of thousands of pounds of council taxpayers' money each year;
+ £150,000: parking charges at Ashton Court, Blaise Castle and Oldbury Court;
Ms Holland said money could be saved from other areas of the civic budget to protect frontline services. For example, the council generates more than £12 million in parking fees which could be used to pay for community transport.
Another example is the council's legal department costs nearly £8 million a year to run - yet they rely heavily on commissioning work to outside law firms and consultants.
Ms Holland is submitting her group's suggested amendments to the mayor's office who will consider them before the council's budget meeting which starts at 2pm on February 26 at City Hall, College Green.