Today during the Portsmouth City Council Budget meeting, the Liberal Democrat Administration Budget passed due to the support of Labour councillor votes.
The Budget passed with some amendments put forward by the Labour Group. The Liberal Democrat Administration adopted the following Labour Group amendments:
- A £100k Equalities Community Initiatives Grants to fund voluntary and community projects that promote equality and tackle discrimination, such as funding for the annual Portsmouth Pride;
- Funding for two money and benefits advisor posts in order to meet demand arising from the cost of living crisis and to tackle the issue of unclaimed benefits at a cost of £64k;
- An extra £100k for the Greening the City Fund to increase the provision of benches, lighting and tree planting in the city, including greening streets and other types of green infrastructure – the additional £100k funding contribution takes the total fund to £150k.
The Portsmouth Labour Group proposed budget amendments that weren’t adopted include:
- Paying the Real Living Wage to all social care workers employed in contracted out council services at a cost of £1.6m;
- A £148k Travel Safety Fund with new funding towards road safety, active travel and highways accessibility projects.
Cllr George Fielding, Leader of the Labour Group said: “We are pleased to see a majority of the Labour Group’s budget amendments adopted by the Liberal Democrat Administration. We have always set out to ensure that as a group, we fight for a more equal, socially just city that leads in responding to the climate crisis.
“The additional funds for greening the city and new funding for equalities initiatives and benefit advisor roles will go a long way in helping to responding to the climate emergency, tackling discrimination in our city and providing additional support to members of our community, especially during the cost of living crisis.”
Cllr Cal Corkery, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said: “It’s disappointing that the Liberal Democrat Administration refused to prioritise giving council care workers the pay rise they deserve during such challenging economic times. There has been a reluctance by the Administration to move towards Living Wage accreditation, despite committing to it in their 2021 election manifesto and motions passed at Full Council.
“Portsmouth Labour councillors will always fight for the Real Living Wage for care workers and we will continue to apply pressure to the Liberal Democrat Administration to do the right thing.”