The struggle to save the community libraries and the Library of Birmingham has been going on for several years now. The campaign over the latter began in the spring of 2013, even before it was opened by Malala in September of that year, against the background of rumours of private control.
One aspect of the campaigning has been to highlight the importance of these institutions and to oppose the cultural vandalism of the constant attacks upon them. This has been pioneered by the Friends of the Library of Birmingham, Slaney Street, the young occupiers of the LoB under their slogan of “A People’s Library”, the Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage and others. (Links at end)
The Launch Statement of the forthcoming West Midlands Combined Authority, ‘Growing the UK Economy through a Midlands Engine’, was published on 6 July. Its agenda is private sector profit, public sector privatisation and the by-passing of local democracy.
The West Midlands refers to the area covered by the three Local Enterprise Partnerships: the Black Country LEP, the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. The WMCA comprises the 7 Metropolitan Councils: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton. Negotiations under way with neighbouring County Councils and District Councils could bring the number up to 13.
We want to thank all the 100 or so people that made it a brilliant turn-out in Birmingham yesterday for the Rally against the ‘Procurement for Health’ conference. We made it clear to delegates (and the public) through our leaflet that ‘procurement’ is not a dirty word per se – the NHS needs supplies and it doesn’t need to be ripped off.
The reason we turned up to the ICC is that the organisers were using terms such as “Get into this market worth £20bn” and ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Clearly this was not about the NHS not being ripped off but ripped apart, systematically, as private companies move in to cherry-pick: this event was not just about supplies for the NHS, but about taking services off the NHS.
We cannot give a guarantee that Carillion will not sell their equity investment in the Midland Metropolitan Hospital PF2 in the future.
This was the answer of Richard Samuda, chair of the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust to a public question at last week’s Trust AGM and responding to the concern about profiteering by private companies from the sale of assets paid for by the taxpayer.
Urge your Birmingham Labour Councillors to reverse the Library cutbacks
£88.8 million was spent on the New Library; it was opened by Malala and now is an international tourist attraction. Unfortunately the tourists from Sydney, Australia have arrived to find the Library closed. Hundreds of young people and others have turned up on a Sunday or after 5 pm and been turned away expressing considerable frustration. BBC Midlands, ITV, Birmingham Post and Mail have run numerous programmes and reports indicating the anger of many in the Birmingham population in what can only be described as cultural and educational vandalism. Unfortunately the Labour Council has made no case to the government for extra funding to maintain these valuable services.
At the public meeting of the Birmingham Improvement Panel on 11th June 2015 Panel members challenged the Council leadership as to how they planned to make further substantial cuts to Council services over the next two years.
Have you heard about the proposed amplification ban on buskers in Birmingham? Want to say something about it?
Next week we want to make a movement to bring people together on the topic.
Whether you’re a musician or not, if you’ve got something to say, join the march.