Each year I have the opportunity to ask for changes to the budget and Corporate Plan, as do the other opposition parties.
I proposed an amendment that included 12 new measures, from exploring ways to boost local businesses, to informing residents when local trees are to be felled. One of them, which tried to oppose expansion at Luton Airport, was voted down by the Tories and some Labour councillors. But the others succeeded.
As a result, they now become part of the budget, and the list of priorities for the Council for the coming year.
My measures are:
- investing up to £500,000 in new renewable energy projects in Council buildings
- investing up to £50,000 in quick-win energy and water efficiencies in Council buildings
- exploring ways to create a new Youth Centre
- getting the Council to use more local businesses as suppliers
- creating a cycling action plan
- using more social media to improve customer service
- informing residents when there's an application to chop down a local tree
- helping schools to set up solar power projects
- providing a £20,000 'community planting' budget that local groups can apply for
- setting up a climate change action group on the Council
- examining the business case for a self-financing energy efficiency officer
At the same meeting I proposed a motion for the Council to do more about fuel poverty. The motion was keenly debated, and additions were made by other parties. In the end the motion was agreed, and a committee will immediately start looking at what can be done in this area.