Green Business scheme proposed by Conservatives voted down

Redbridge conservative group amendment fails

An energy efficiency amendment proposed by the Conservative Group at last week's Council Budget meeting was unsuccessful following a debate on the issue. - Credit: Ken Mears

An amendment for a Green Business scheme in Redbridge was voted down at last week's council budget meeting. 

Put forward by the Redbridge Conservative Group, the proposal sought to invest £1million in grants for businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

The amendment sought to change the scope of Labour's prepared budget, described by Cllr Kam Rai (cabinet member for finance, leisure and culture) as “prudent, transparent and considered".

Presented by leader Cllr Linda Huggett as "a radical new scheme to help support local businesses and boost energy efficiency in Redbridge", the Conservative Group argued that the initiative would "support hundreds of jobs, cut carbon emissions, and help save businesses money on energy bills".

The £1m for this proposal would have been drawn from the borough's £5m Regeneration Fund, with Cllr Huggett stating that there are currently "no financial commitments" attached to the money from the first year of that fund.

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Conservative colleague Anita Boateng (Bridge) termed the scheme a "win, win, win", particularly as her party had been advised there was "nothing in the works" for this money.

Labour opposed the amendment, with its leader Cllr Jas Athwal arguing that such provision is unnecessary when equivalent schemes already exist.

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He said: "The Tories claim businesses cannot access funding; they claim that energy efficiency improvement funds are not there. That's just a lie. Because through the energy renewal scheme, fast and easy applications can be made online of up to £100,000."

A Conservative councillor has since come forward to dispute the existence of such a scheme. There was no response to the Recorder's request for comment on this; Cllr Athwal has since clarified the existence of an Energy Efficiency Grant in a tweet.

Continuing to contest the amendment, Cllr Athwal said: "Somehow, bankrupt of any ideas, the Conservatives come up with this lunatic plan, and will get the council to spend its money, money it hasn't got."

Barkingside ward councillor Martin Sachs agreed with his Labour colleague, claiming that the amendment was "virtue signalling".

The proposal was ultimately defeated.

Please note: In a previous version of this story we mistakenly said the amendment had been passed. We apologise for the confusion.

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