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Opposition Anger: No sign of Climate Emergency in Newcastle Council's budget

December 22, 2019 4:21 PM

Opposition Liberal Democrats' Cllr Griff Kanecouncillors are in a state of shock as it has become clear that the Labour Administration have failed to fully account for the Climate Emergency in the Council's budget proposals for 2020-21.

Responding to questioning at the Finance & Budget Monitoring Scrutiny Sub-Committee, Officers admitted that the numerous committees established with great fanfare by Leader of the Council, Cllr Forbes, to address climate and environment matters would have no formal role in feeding into the Council's budget consultation process, and may even report too late to influence the Council's spending priorities for the coming financial year.

Cllr Gareth Kane, Liberal Democrats' Opposition Spokesperson on the Environment, observed: "The budget documentation barely mentions the Climate Crisis, instead positioning it as an 'unfunded cost pressure' in the same category as Brexit. Surely the Council's ambitions in this area should be seen as an investment in our future, than an imposition that they would prefer to do without?"

Cllr Colin Ferguson, Liberal Democrtas' Opposition Spokesperson for Resources, stated: "It's simply not good enough that, in the wake of backing a motion declaring a Climate Emergency. The best this administration can do is earmark £0.5m, with the promise of further plans in due course. How will proposals from the Climate Change Committee or the Net Zero Taskforce be factored into the budget? Is this simply an exercise in talk, not action?"