Why campaign for a Fair Deal for Brum?

Birmingham has been short changed by £79m and we believe this is unfair. Why should Birmingham be hit harder than other places? Parts of leafy Berkshire have seen cuts of only £19 per person in comparison to cuts of £149 per person in Birmingham. This is not fair and in this video, campaign organiser for Hall Green BLP explains why. Please share widely.

Labour and the Birmingham City Council cuts


The Council budget, set out by Sir Albert Bore this week, was comfortable for nobody. The harsh reality cannot be escaped; over £100 million cuts to services and 1,000 jobs lost is not something that anybody can take lightly, least of all the councillors responsible for taking the decisions on what to cut and what not to cut. Labour councillors, including our own Councillors Sam Burden and Barry Bowles, have made extraordinarily difficult choices with a very heavy heart.

 Yet we should not forget that the Council’s hands have been tied by the Tory-led government, making swingeing cuts to local government that fall unfairly on large Labour administrations such as Birmingham. Residents of Hall Green and others across the city are paying the price for the government’s economic failure and ideological determination to punish Labour councils. The Liberal Democrats are, of course, as responsible for these cuts as the Conservatives. The irony of Councillor Tilsley calling Labour’s budget ‘shameful’ will, I’m sure, be lost on nobody. His party is complicit in the failing economic plan pursued by the government that is damaging our country and our community.

There are those who claim that Labour should simply refuse to make the cuts; that setting an illegal budget would be a way of showing resistance to central government and ensure that Birmingham residents do not have to suffer the painful consequences of such deep cuts. Unfortunately, this is not a practical way forward for Labour to deal with the situation. Steve Bullock, mayor of Lewisham, outlined why this is the case for Progress in January. Failure to set a legal budget would mean that Eric Pickles’ DCLG apparatchiks would be responsible for delivering the cuts. As is the Tory way, their primary concern would not be making cuts as fair for possible for ordinary people as Labour are doing, but simply to save money, no matter how many jobs or valuable services were lost in the process.

Of course, this is not to say that all resistance to government cuts is futile; Bullock is fairly heavy-handed in his direct criticism of Len McCluskey, and trade unions are absolutely justified in their outrage at an economic plan that is hurting their workers and hurting the country. Nationally, Labour continues to articulate an alternative by opposing cuts to police and welfare budgets, the bedroom tax and tax cuts for the richest few while promising to reintroduce the 10p income tax rate. There is a fairer way, and everybody who is opposed to the government’s disastrous strategy should join Labour and the unions in making a case for an alternative that not only secures economic growth but is fairer on ordinary working people, rather than punishing them while unfairly prioritising rewards for those at the very top.

Our Labour Council is working hard to make things fairer for ordinary people in Birmingham despite the difficult financial situation. The Council is committed to a Living Wage of more than £7 an hour for all council employees. In Hall Green, Councillor Bowles is determined to continue campaigning for additional facilities for children and young people, an in particular will keep campaigning for a new playground  despite opposition from Liberal Democrats.

Plans such as this may seem small in the grand scheme of the national economic situation, but it shows that it is Labour, not the other parties, who is truly committed to improving people’s quality of life and delivering a fair deal for Birmingham in extremely tough times.

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Feedback from Ward Meeting

All councillors were in attendance at last night’s Ward Meeting, chaired by Cllr Bowles. The meeting discussed a variety of issues ranging from planning applications to the lack of cycle routes in Hall Green but the issues that appeared to generate the highest level of debate are outlined below:

An overview of the cuts being implemented by the current ConDem government to the West Midlands Fire Service and the impact of these cuts to the provision of services across the District was noted. Residents were encouraged to participate in the consultation process regarding these cuts either online at or by requesting a copy of the document from the local fire station by the 4th January 2013.

The meeting welcomed Sgt Chris Rigby who has taken over from Sgt Tom O’Keefe and who gave a brief report back regarding crime statistics.

Concerns were raised regarding the often dangerous parking outside our schools across the Ward. Cllr Smith reported that despite both herself and Paul Smith spending the last six weeks attempting to attend to the parking problems outside of Hall Green Junior School, these were ongoing. The parking enforcement team had been on site this week and had issued a high number of tickets and it was hoped this would deter this type of behaviour. Cllr Burden and Cllr Bowles agreed that irresponsible parking at this particular school and others across the Ward were putting children’s safety into question, and the main issues seemed to being experienced at St Ambrose Barlow; Lakey Lane; Chilcote and Robin Hood Schools. Sgt Rigby was aware of of these problems and asked that the worst affected schools were identified so that the neighbourhood team could prioritise them for action.

The issue of wheelie bins was raised and a discussion was held about the forthcoming consultation. The full details of the consultation process were as yet unknown but it was thought that this would be launched in the New Year.

Cllr Bowles reported that Birmingham Council had been successful in its bid and had been awarded £29 million from the ConDem coalition government under the Weekly Collection Support Scheme for household refuse. He stated that it was important to note that if the decision was made not to go ahead with the wheelie bin introduction, then this money would be taken back as it could not be used for any other purpose.

Cllr Bowles stated that personally he was neither for or against the idea of the introduction of wheelie bins, he did feel that it was very important that all residents who had a view engaged with the process and input into the consultation.

Cllr Smith made it very clear that she was personally vehemently against the idea of wheelie bins and despite not having details of how any such system would be implemented made suggestions that there would be charges made for cleaning, replacement and perhaps installation. It seems that this is a bit of a theme with Lib Dem Cllrs across the City adopting similar tactics in opposition.

Cllr Burden gave an overview as to the reasons behind the bid and how the introduction of wheelie bins impacted on the retention of weekly collections and the replacement of the fleet due to the financial pressures being experienced. He also noted that it would not be a one hat fits all approach and felt it unhelpful to speculate about how such a system would work until full details were known. He reiterated the need for residents to fully engage with the consultation process.

As an add on to this item, it was noted that the collection timetable over the festive period had now been published and the details were read out to the meeting.

Representatives from WeAreB28 were in attendance and reported that the information regarding collections was on the Forum website for those with online access and there was also an option of completing an online survey with regard to wheelie bins for those with a view.

City Council Budget 2013/14 Consultation

The City Council has started a process of public consultation about the budget cuts for 2013/14. There are four public meetings which are listed on the poster below.

The City Council will put forward its views on next year’s budget at these meetings. It is very important that we encourage members of the public to attend including party members.

We will all have local views to be considered but we must also get the message across loud and clear that the Tory-led government should give Birmingham a fair deal. Why should Birmingham be hit harder by cuts than other parts of the country?

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