Here's the resignation statement, hot off the press:
Tory and Lib Dem Alliance forces Labour Resignation at Bristol City Council
Amendments to Labour’s Budget at Bristol City Council from the Lib Dems, which aimed to derail the city’s waste strategy, were backed by the Tories – and Labour decided they could not push forward a policy with which they fundamentally disagreed.
The waste strategy is agreed council policy and is also agreed by the West of England Partnership comprised of Bristol and the Conservative led authorities of South Glos, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.
The Liberal Democrats challenged Phase 3 of the Waste Strategy, and gained Conservative support for that amendment.
The Labour administration had no alternative but to resign believing that the consequences of pulling out of Phase 3 would put an impossible financial burden on Council Taxpayers and will force cuts in other services.
When the Tories joined with the Lib Dems to force through their amendment it left the city of Bristol without any plan for dealing with the city’s waste and with no real funding for any alternative.
Despite advice from officers that the council will now face compensation claims from neighbouring councils this irresponsible amendment was passed – and could cost the council up to £6m a year over 24 years.
In resigning Cllr Holland said: “We believe that more than the waste strategy is at stake here - we are proud of the work we have done to transform the city council in the last 20 months building better relationships with partners and giving confidence in Bristol to government and other funders.”
The concern about the impact on confidence in Bristol is an important point. I know that Bristol - and Helen in particular - was well regarded in Government circles, not just by politicians but by civil servants too. We've been the beneficiaries of this, winning extra funding or being chosen to run pilot schemes because the Government trusts BCC to deliver. Will the Lib Dems be able to rise to the challenge? I doubt it.